Blue Jays Respond with 5-2 Victory Over Red Sox
TORONTO (AP) — Danny Valencia pumped a fist as he rounded first base, fired up after delivering a big home run for the struggling Blue Jays.
Valencia had a pinch-hit, go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning that lifted Toronto over the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Wednesday night.
“Obviously we’ve been struggling,” Valencia said. “Every win is important.”
Jose Bautista homered for the second straight night, a two-run drive in the first that helped the Blue Jays improve to 7-16 in August.
With Boston leading 2-1, Edwin Encarnacion doubled off Joe Kelly starting the seventh, and left-hander Tommy Layne (0-1) relieved.
Dioner Navarro’s at-bat was prolonged when catcher David Ross dropped his foul popup for an error.
“With the wind swirling, it pushed back on him,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
After Navarro singled, right-hander Junichi Tazawa came in, and Valencia turned on a 2-0 pitch for his first home run since Toronto acquired him from Kansas City on July 28.
“I got into a hitter’s count and was looking to be aggressive on a fastball,” Valencia said. “He made a good pitch and, luckily, I put a good swing on it.”
Eight of 20 home runs off Tazawa in his big league career have been hit by Blue Jays batters.
“I looked at the video, and the pitch to Valencia leaked back quite a bit and went inside,” Tazawa said through a translator. “I missed my location.”
Kevin Pillar followed with a double, was sacrificed to third and made it 5-1 when he scored ahead of shortstop Brock Holt’s throw on Jose Reyes’ fielder’s-choice grounder.
Marcus Stroman (8-5) allowed two runs — one earned — and five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He had been 0-3 in four starts since winning at Boston on July 29.
“He was terrific today,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That’s what the kid is capable of.”
Brett Cecil relieved after Dustin Pedroia’s two-out single in the eighth and retired David Ortiz on a groundout, then finished fifth save in seven chances.
Ortiz, who returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous two games with a sore right foot, gave the Red Sox their first hit with a one-out single in the fourth.
Ross reached on a fielding error by third baseman Juan Francisco in the sixth, and back-to-back singles by Holt and Pedroia loaded the bases for Ortiz, who lined an RBI single to right. One pitch later, Holt scored on a wild pitch, but Stroman retired Mike Napoli on a groundout and struck out Daniel Nava.