DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in a three-run ninth inning, and Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 on Thursday night.
Alex Verdugo had an RBI grounder before Martinez connected on his 250th homer. The two-out drive came off Rafael Dolis (1-1), making his second appearance since returning from a right calf injury.
“What an amazing win,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “There were so many up and downs.”
Martinez shouted and repeatedly pumped his fists while rounding the bases. He stopped a 12-game homerless drought Wednesday.
“It was just a big at-bat,” Martinez said. “Big situation against that team. A team we’re going to be battling with all year. To kind of steal one like that, it’s big for us.”
Phillips Valdez (2-1) went 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Matt Barnes worked the ninth to get his 10th save in 11 chances. After walking Rowdy Tellez, Barnes struck out Danny Jansen with a 98 mph full-count fastball.
Boston (27-18) held onto the AL East lead. Toronto dropped to 10-7 at TD Ballpark, where the Blue Jays have four more home games cause by Canadian government coronavirus travel restrictions. Toronto shifts home games next month to its Triple-A affiliate’s ballpark in Buffalo, New York.
“They’re young and they’re hungry,” Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said of the Blue Jays. “It’s going to be very tough for you to beat them 1-0 or 2-1. For the most part, they’re always in the game, so it’s very fun to play against them because you know there’s going to be a lot of action.”
Jonathan Davis and Randal Grichuk had RBI singles off Hirokazu Sawamura in the sixth as the Blue Jays went up 7-5. Grichuk’s hit came after Bogaerts made a diving grab on Teoscar Hernández’s…
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