Faltering Red Sox face twin bill with Blue Jays

National Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Boston Red Sox on Friday to open a four-game series, and they’ll be out to inflict a double-dose of damage on them when the teams play a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Blue Jays used a nine-run fifth inning on Friday to defeat the Red Sox 12-4.

The Blue Jays are 7-1 in their first homestand at the Rogers Centre since the end of the 2019 season.

“They haven’t had baseball in forever — (the crowd) might be the loudest since I’ve been here,” said Randal Grichuk, who had an RBI double in the fifth. “That’s huge for us. We feel it.”

There was some animosity during the fifth when reliever Hansel Robles replaced Nathan Eovaldi, and after giving up a single to Alejandro Kirk, hit Grichuk with a pitch in his second plate appearance of the inning.

Grichuk said he spoke to Red Sox players, who assured him it was accidental.

“One got away,” Grichuk said. “He was probably trying to pump up to get out of there.”

The players in the Blue Jays dugout started yelling. Both managers were on the field, but the situation did not escalate.

The Red Sox are showing the frustration of seven losses in their past eight games.

Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta (8-5, 4.57 ERA) will face Toronto left-hander Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.04) in the first game. Then Boston right-hander Tanner Houck (0-2, 2.45) will face Toronto right-hander José Berríos (8-5, 3.31) in the second game. Each game is scheduled for seven innings.

Ray has faced Boston three times this season, going 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA. In five career meetings with Boston, including four starts, he is 2-1 with a 4.98 ERA.

Pivetta is 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA in four starts against the Blue Jays this season. In six career starts against Toronto, those numbers are 1-2 and 6.82.

Berrios will be making his second start for the Blue Jays, who acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Twins on July 30. He has never defeated Boston, going 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in one start this season and 0-5 and 4.93 in six career starts.

Houck has faced Toronto once in his career, allowing one run ina four-inning start on July 28.

Houck is taking the place of Martin Perez in the rotation. Before the game on Friday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that Perez was being moved to the bullpen. Perez pitched one inning in relief Friday and allowed one run on two hits.

He is 0-4 with an 8.53 ERA over his past five starts. In an 8-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, Perez lasted just 1 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits.

“It’s something that, because of where we’re at and the people we’re adding in the upcoming days, it makes sense,” Cora said. “I’ve been saying all along, his stuff is a lot better than the results. But, obviously, it’s going to be where we’re going to be roster-wise in the upcoming days.”

The Red Sox soon could be adding Chris Sale, who will be making a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Worcester on Saturday. Cora said it is hoped that Sale, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, can go five innings at 90 pitches.

Infielder Jonathan Arauz, recalled from Triple-A on Friday when outfielder Jarren Duran went on the COVID-19 injured list, pitched the eighth and allowed one run.

–Field Level Media

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