March 17, 2018
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Valencia powers Blue Jays over Red Sox

Peter Llewellyn | USA Today Sports
Peter Llewellyn | USA Today Sports
Toronto's Kevin Pillar slides safely into home plate against the Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning Wednesday night in Toronto.
By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange

TORONTO — Pinch-hitter Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer and right-hander Marcus Stroman pitched into the eighth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Right fielder Jose Bautista hit a solo homer as the Blue Jays salvaged the finale of the three-game series and snapped their string of four straight extra-inning games.

Valencia’s homer keyed a four-run seventh inning by the Blue Jays (67-66) who ended a three-game losing streak. The Red Sox (58-75) had won two in a row after they snapped an eight-game losing streak on Monday.

Stroman (8-5) held the Red Sox to five hits and two runs (one earned) in 7 2/3 innings for his first win since July 29. He was removed for left-hander Brett Cecil after Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs in the eighth. Cecil retired designated hitter David Ortiz to end the inning and struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save of the season.

Right-hander Joe Kelly, making his fifth start for the Red Sox after his acquisition in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, held the Blue Jays to three hits and two runs in six innings and did not factor in the decision. Left-hander Tommy Layne (1-1) gave up an unearned run to take the loss.

Stroman took a one-hitter and a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning. An error by third baseman Juan Francisco on a one-out grounder by catcher David Ross started a two-run Red Sox rally. Successive singles by shortstop Brock Holt, Pedroia and Ortiz produced one run. A wild pitch scored the other.

Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion led off the seventh inning with a double. Layne replaced Kelly and gave up a single by Dioner Navarro to put runners at the corners after Ross was charged with an error on his pop foul to extend the at-bat.

Right-hander Junichi Tazawa replaced Layne. Valencia hit a 2-0 pitch to left field for his third homer of the season and his first for the Blue Jays. It gave Toronto a 4-2 lead.

The inning continued with center fielder Kevin Pillar, playing for the second night in a row for ill Colby Rasmus, doubling to left. Second baseman Munenori Kawasaki sacrificed Pillar to third. Pillar slid home safely to beat Holt’s throw on a grounder by shortstop Jose Reyes.

The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the first inning on the 26th homer of the season by Jose Bautista. It was his second homer in as many games after enduring an 0-for-17 drought.

NOTES: The Blue Jays recalled RHP Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday and designated for assignment RHP Sergio Santos. Jenkins is 1-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 21 relief outings with Toronto this season. Santos is 0-3 with five saves and an 8.57 ERA in 26 games with Toronto. This is the second time this season that Santos has been DFA. … Red Sox DH David Ortiz (bruised right foot) returned to the lineup on Wednesday after missing two games. … Both teams have Thursday off. … The Red Sox have not announced a starter for the opener of a four-game series at Tampa Bay on Friday. The Rays will start RHP Chris Archer (8-6, 3.09 ERA). … The Blue Jays open a three-game series with the New York Yankees on Friday at Rogers Centre, starting LHP Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.41 ERA) in the opener against New York LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.34 ERA).


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