On a night when Chris Sale couldn’t really find his stuff, the Red Sox rallied for a thrilling, come-from-behind win against the Blue Jays Friday night. Boston erased an early 5-1 hole to win 7-5 in 10 innings. It was the fourth walk-off win of the season and puts the Sox a season-high seven games over .500.,
Sale wasn’t himself right from the start, struggling to put away the Jays with a 36-pitch first inning, including 11 pitches to lead off batter Eric Sogard that ended with a base hit. Sogard would go on to record his third career 4-hit game. In his bid for a Player of the Month nod, Sogard is 26-for-64 (.406) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and six RBI so far in June.
For Sale, the 5.0 IP on Friday was his shortest start since since April 23 (also 5.0). Sale allowed four Toronto runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Trent Thornton Holds Sox Offense Down
Through six innings Boston’s offense was held all but lifeless against rookie Trent Thornton, who until the 7th inning allowed just one Boston run on a Brock Holt sacrifice fly but struck out eight. Thornton leads all major league rookies with 87 strikeouts, the most ever by a Blue Jays rookie prior to the All-Star Game.
Thornton got the first Sox batter of the 7th out but then Mookie Betts tripled and the ensuing parade of Toronto relievers proved ineffective over the next four innings. By the end of the inning the Toronto lead was down to one. In the 8th the Sox tripled again, this time by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Rafael Devers, still recovering from a strained hamstring suffered on the road, recorded his first career pinch-hit RBI to tie things up.
Red Sox relievers following Sale’s departure combined to allow one run over 5.0 innings, with shutout work from Josh Taylor (1.1 IP), Ryan Brasier (0.1 IP), Matt Barnes (1.0 IP) and Brandon Workman (1.0 IP that included two more walks). In 20.1 IP over the last four games, Boston’s bullpen has allowed four runs for a 1.77 ERA.
Christian Vázquez is the Hero
The walk-off came in the bottom of the 10th. With two outs and two strikes against him, Christian Vázquez connected for his second career walk-off home run, his first in extra-innings. It was the first walk-off home run for the Sox since July 27, 2018 by Betts.
Vázquez’s walk-off home run was the first coming with two outs for a Boston catcher since May 13, 2001, when Jason Varitek sent everyone home happy in the bottom of the 11th inning facing the Athletics. The only other catcher to do it for Boston since at least 1925 was Bill Hasselman, also facing Toronto, on July 27, 1995. Vázquez’s is the only of these to come with two outs in the inning.
The come-from-behind win was big boost for the Sox, who returned from a successful road trip eager to show better results at home. With the win, Boston’s Fenway record improved to 18-17 for the season. Since 1908, no Sox team has made the playoffs without at least a .580 home win percentage.