March 18, 2018
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Cespedes’ RBI single in 10th lifts Red Sox by Jays

John E. Sokolowski | USA Today Sports
John E. Sokolowski | USA Today Sports
Boston Red Sox third base coach Brian Buttterfield congratulates center fielder Mookie Betts (right) after a win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto Monday night. Boston won 4-3 in 10 innings.
By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange

TORONTO — Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara could not provide the relief from an eight-game losing streak on Monday.

However, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes provided all the relief the Red Sox needed with a two-out single in the 10th inning that scored the go-ahead run in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Uehara (6-4), who allowed five runs in the ninth in a 5-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners last Friday, gave up a two-run double to Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion in the ninth on Monday to spoil an effective outing by starter Clay Buchholz.

And then Cespedes provided his welcome relief in the 10th when he lined a 1-2 curveball from rookie Aaron Sanchez (2-1) into center field to score shortstop Brock Holt, who hit an infield single and stole second and third.

“To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable on that steal attempt at third; it kind of threw me off a little bit,” said Cespedes through a translator. “After that pitch, I took a step back, readjusted, refocused myself and got a good pitch to hit right after that.”

“I took second, and then he wasn’t keeping a close eye on me so I figured I’d take third too, maybe get a passed ball or something and score a run,” Holt said.

Sanchez said the pitch that Cespedes hit was not a good one.

“It had bite but in that count, that situation, the ball needed to be in the dirt,” the right-hander said. “I need to do a better job of making that pitch where it needs to be and not leave it over the middle.”

It was the third straight 10-inning game for the Blue Jays. They split the previous two with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Red Sox built a 3-0 lead in the fourth on a solo home run by center fielder Mookie Betts and a two-run homer by second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Buchholz held the Blue Jays (66-65) to four hits, two walks and three runs while striking out four in 8 1/3 innings.

“That’s the best we’ve seen him all year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He was on the corners, he wasn’t making many mistakes over the middle of the plate, that’s for sure. He did a hell of a job.”

The Blue Jays’ ninth-inning rally started on one-out singles by shortstop Jose Reyes and left fielder Melky Cabrera. Right fielder Jose Bautista walked to load the bases.

Uehara took over and retired first baseman Adam Lind on a fielder’s-choice grounder that forced Bautista at second and brought home a run. Infielder Steve Tolleson ran for Lind.

Encarnacion tied the game with a double off the left-field wall. Catcher Dioner Navarro flied out to left to end the inning.

“We made a run at it,” Gibbons said. “We needed another foot or two on Eddie’s ball, then couldn’t shut it down on that extra inning.”

The Red Sox (57-74) regained the lead in the top of the 10th after Holt hit an infield single to shortstop with one out and stole second when Pedroia struck out. The Blue Jays unsuccessfully challenged the safe call at second. Holt then stole third.

“I’m not the fastest guy but I can run a little bit so you’ve just got to trust your speed and if you can take it, take it,” Holt said. “I was pretty safe. I slid in, hit the base and he tagged my chest. I was pretty confident I was safe.”

Cespedes, who was obtained in a July 31 trade that sent left-hander Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics, then came through.

Left-hander Craig Breslow pitched the bottom of the 10th for his first save of the season despite allowing a walk.

Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ allowed five hits and three runs while striking out eight in six innings in the opener of a three-game series. Right-hander Todd Redmond took over for Happ in the seventh and allowed one hit in three scoreless innings.

The Blue Jays have lost three of their first four games to open a nine-game home stand that followed a 2-6 road trip.

The Red Sox are 4-4 at Rogers Centre this season but are 0-6 against Toronto at Fenway Park.

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