Looking to spark a scuffling offence, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo shook up his lineup Wednesday night and the Blue Jays responded in a 6-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
After the start was delayed 31 minutes by rain, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit an RBI single in the first inning and the Blue Jays scored three more runs in the second against Garrett Richards (0-2).
Toronto finished with 10 hits, including two apiece for Guerrero, Bo Bichette, Randal Grichuk and Marcus Semien, to snap a three-game skid and split a two-game set with its AL East rivals at Fenway Park.
Trent Thornton made his first start of the season and went two innings in a bullpen game for the Blue Jays. Six relievers followed and held down Boston’s potent offence.
Ryan Borucki (2-1) tossed two scoreless innings for the win.
Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer in the eighth, cutting the Red Sox deficit to one, but Toronto added two insurance runs in the ninth. Anthony Castro entered with a runner on in the bottom half and retired J.D. Martinez on a grounder for his first major league save.
Toronto’s bullpen leads the majors with a 2.14 ERA.
“We have a bunch of really good arms,” Thornton said. “Our bullpen and rotation and staff, in general, has a lot of confidence.”
Cavan Biggio, hitting just .156 entering the game, batted leadoff for the first time this year. He opened the game with a four-pitch walk against Richards and scored on Guerrero’s single to centre field. Although hitless in the game, Biggio walked twice and drove in a run.
In Toronto’s three-run second, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., bumped down to eighth in the lineup, hit a sacrifice fly to knock in Semien, who singled to open the inning after being dropped from the leadoff spot for the first time this season. Semien went 2 for 4 with a run and a walk.
“It seems like both [Biggio and Semien] were comfortable,” Montoyo said. “Biggio got on base a couple of times. I know Richards was wild, but you’ve still got to be patient at the plate and Biggio was patient just to get on base and Semien seems comfortable there, the spot he was hitting in the lineup today. That worked out pretty good.”
Richards lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits and six walks – nearly matching his season total of seven entering the game. He struck out two.
Montoyo said RF George Springer, sidelined all season with a left oblique strain, is day to day but could return this weekend at Tampa Bay or for the following series against Washington. ... Nate Pearson, out all season with a right adductor strain, is scheduled to throw a side session Thursday.
Blue Jays: After an off day, Toronto opens its three-game series at Tampa Bay on Friday. LHP Steven Matz (3-0, 1.47 ERA) will be opposed by Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 0.73).
Red Sox: RHP Nick Pivetta (2-0, 3.68) starts the opener of a four-game series against Seattle on Thursday at Fenway Park. RHP Justin Dunn (1-0, 3.72) goes for the Mariners.