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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Thomas Hatch in action during the first inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, on July 26, 2021, in Boston.

Charles Krupa/The Associated Press

Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox rallied late for the second straight game, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Monday night in the opener of an important series for the Blue Jays.

Boston star Rafael Devers added a solo homer on the four-year anniversary of his first major-league shot. It was the AL All-Star third baseman’s first ever homer with a natural-coloured barrelled bat. Each of the previous 100 in his career were with a dark-coloured barrel.

Devers belted one for his first big-league hit in his second career game in a victory at Seattle on July 26, 2017.

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Bo Bichette hit a two-run homer for fourth-place Toronto, which fell to 10 1/2 games behind in the East.

A day after being no-hit for seven innings by New York’s Domingo German before putting up five runs in the eighth to erase a four-run deficit and beat the rival Yankees, Boston’s bats were held down until Verdugo belted his drive over the Red Sox bullpen off Trevor Richards (1-1).

It was Boston’s major-league leading 33rd come-from-behind victory.

“It’s hard to get 27 outs against us. We know that,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “It’s a tough place to play. You can feel the energy. In the eighth inning, they were a little bit louder, expecting something big.”

Verdugo took his time rounding the bases, enjoying the moment. On Sunday, he broke up the no-hitter with a deep double to right.

“Just rounding the bases, part of it was the moment, putting us up,” he said.

Adam Ottavino (3-3) worked a scoreless inning for the win. Matt Barnes got the final three outs for his 22nd save.

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Bichette hit his drive over the Green Monster off Nick Pivetta, a shot that hit a wall behind the first row and bounced back onto the field to make it 4-3.

Devers’ shot into the right-field seats made it 3-2.

Toronto starter Thomas Hatch made just his second big-league start after being sidelined with a shoulder impingement since spring training. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“My body felt good, my arm felt good, felt like the stuff was coming out pretty good,” he said. “For the most part, I felt like my stuff was arriving where I wanted it to. I felt like they made some good swings on some pretty good pitches.”

Pivetta gave up four runs on six hits before being pulled after Bichette’s homer.

“It was a definite grind for me. The energy wasn’t really there,” Pivetta said. “The team did an incredible job for me. It’s incredible how they come back like this.”

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WHO’LL HIT MORE THIS TIME

In their last trip to Fenway Park, the Blue Jays sent 11 homers over the Monster and hit 15 total, eight coming in one game, the most ever allowed by the Red Sox in Fenway during a four-game series split.

Boston belted 11 in a two-game sweep in Buffalo last week.

ON SALE

LHP Chris Sale, working back from Tommy John surgery, is expected to make his fourth rehab start on Saturday. This one is scheduled with Triple-A Worcester after he did two at Double-A Portland and the other with their rookie-level team in Fort Myers, Fla.

Cora said this won’t be his last rehab, despite Sale feeling good.

“It’s not gonna be his last start on Saturday,” he said. “He won’t be with us after that.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Manager Charlie Montoyo said OF Corey Dickerson, who missed his 20th straight game with a left foot contusion, might begin a rehab assignment soon.

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Red Sox: Cora gave SS Xander Bogaerts the day off and is planning to give Devers Thursday off.

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