May 25, 2018
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Red Sox hold off Blue Jays for 7-6 victory

Dan Hamilton | USA Today Sports
Dan Hamilton | USA Today Sports
Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (40) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 at Rogers Centre.
By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange

TORONTO — Catcher A.J. Pierzynski hit a grand slam and right-hander Clay Buchholz pitched seven innings as the Boston Red Sox held on to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-6, on Saturday.

The Red Sox (12-13) used a six-run third inning to win their second straight game and give the Blue Jays (11-13) their fourth loss in a row.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks also hit a home run for the Red Sox, who took advantage of a career-high eight walks by Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow (1-2), who lasted only 2 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs.

Buchholz (1-2) overcame a three-run first inning to earn his first win of the season, allowing six hits, three walks and three runs.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the eighth. First baseman Juan Francisco led off the eighth with his second home run of the season, a drive to center off right-handed reliever Junichi Tazawa.

Catcher Dioner Navarro and center fielder Colby Rasmus followed with singles. Third baseman Brett Lawrie forced Rasmus at second, but pinch hitter Edwin Encarnacion bounced an RBI single through right side to take advantage of the Red Sox shift.

Left-hander Chris Capuano took over and struck out pinch hitter Jonathan Diaz. Shortstop Jose Reyes walked to load the bases.

Closer Koji Uehara ended the inning on a shallow fly to left by left fielder Melky Cabrera and went on to record his fifth save, despite allowing the seventh home run of the season by designated hitter Jose Bautista to lead off the ninth.

Navarro singled with one out and Lawrie singled with two out but Encarnacion lined out to center to end the game.

Morrow, who allowed no hits, was replaced by right-hander Chad Jenkins in the third with two out and the bases loaded, and allowed a grand slam to Pierzynski and a solo shot to Middlebrooks.

The Blue Jays led, 3-0, after the first inning.

Reyes walked and reached third when Cabrera sliced a single to left. Bautista singled in a run, Cabrera scored from third on a wild pitch and Navarro singled in the final run.

But the Red Sox scored six in the third.

Morrow walked four straight batters with two out to force in a run. Jenkins, just recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, allowed Pierzynski’s second home run of the season and his eighth career grand slam, plus the second home run of the season by Middlebrooks.

Jenkins allowed one-out fifth-inning doubles to first baseman Mike Carp and left fielder Grady Sizemore to give Boston a 7-3 lead.

NOTES: Pitching coach Pete Walker of the Blue Jays was ejected in the third inning of Saturday’s game, the first for Toronto this season. … Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion, who was 1-for-21 in his career against Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, did not start. Manager John Gibbons felt it was an ideal time to give him a rest. … The Red Sox’s 8-1 victory on Friday was their 300th against the Blue Jays since Toronto entered the majors in 1977. In that time Boston has defeated only Baltimore more often (307). … Red Sox INF Jonathan Herrera made his second start of the season at shortstop on Saturday. He has made five starts at third base and two at second. … The series ends Sunday with the Blue Jays starting RHP R.A. Dickey (1-3, 5.90 ERA) against Red Sox LHP Jon Lester (2-3, 2.67 ERA).

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