The Toronto Blue Jays drop final game of series against the Boston Red Sox by a score of 2-1
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Rookie Alek Manoah took the mound for the Blue Jays against veteran Nathan Eovaldi for the Red Sox. Manoah was looking to lead his 33-30 Jays to a 3-1 series win over the 39-27 Red Sox.
The Red Sox defence was on display early with third baseman Rafael Devers making a spectacular play on a hard hit Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scorcher to his right to end the third. To start the second Red Sox left fielder Martin Gonzales made a nice running catch in front of the Monster to retire Teoscar Hernandez leading off the second.
Eovaldi was perfect through the first three innings while Manoah battled his command but only gave up one run through three. They call baseball a game of inches and that proved true in the third when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. almost made a nice play at the wall to end the third but just missed making the catch allowing Alex Verdugo to score as he was running from first with two outs.
Bo Bichette got the first hit of the game for the Jays with one out in the fourth. Bichette stole second while Guerrero was called out on a pitch a couple of inches off the outside corner of the plate. Hernandez followed with a walk however Randal Grichuk flew out to right to end the threat.
Manoah started the bottom of the fourth by walking Xander Bogaerts after getting ahead 0-2. His defence erased that runner by turning a nice 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Devers. Christian Vazquez ended the inning by grounding out to second.
While Manoah battled his command all night, Eovaldi was consistently hitting his target. The result was that Eovaldi received a number of called strikes just outside the zone that Manoah did not, as Reese McGuire had to move his glove significantly to catch the ball, something Christian Vazquez did not have to do.
Manoah was at his absolute best in the sixth by striking out the side while facing the heart of the Red Sox order for the third time. Kudos to Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo for keeping Manoah in the game instead of listening to the computers and taking him out before he had to face the lineup a third time. The confidence he placed in Manoah will pay dividends in the future.
The seventh started well for the Jays with back to back singles by Guerrero and Hernandez however Grichuk grounded into a 5-4-3 double play before Eovaldi was replaced by lefty Josh Taylor to face lefty Rowdy Tellez who stuck out swinging to end the inning.
Joel Payamps held the Red Sox scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings to give the Jays a chance in the ninth against the Sox closer Matt Barnes. After striking out both Semien and Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched a rocket over the Green Monster to tie the game at one. The home run was Jr.’s major league leading 22nd of the year.
Dolis pitched the bottom of the ninth and allowed back to back singles to start the inning. After a Bogaerts fly out to left Rafael Devers hit a ball off the Green Monster to walk it off, ruining Guerrero’s heroics.
A game of inches for sure. A ball to the wall that many outfielders could have caught but Gurriel missed led to the first run and a playable ground ball just missed by Biggio set up the winning run in the ninth. Manoah deserved a better outcome but any time the visiting team splits a four game set in Fenway they have to be fairly happy. In inch here or there and the Jays could have taken the series 3-1.
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Jason C MacDonald has been a Blue Jays fan since the late 1980’s. His lifelong passion for Baseball and the Blue Jays has recently led him to start writing at JFtC. When not working at his day job or driving his two teenage sons to their sporting events Jason is usually reading, listening, watching or now writing about baseball.