TORONTO — All Xander Bogaerts was trying to do in the ninth inning Monday was block a 1-and-1 pitch from hitting him in the face. He wound up mashing it into the second deck in left field.
“I don’t even think I looked at that ball,” Bogaerts said. “Then, once I hit it, I was like, ‘Wow.’ ”
That was the kind of day it was for the Red Sox, who never trailed in routing the Blue Jays, 12-2, in Toronto. Manager Alex Cora spoke before the game of his admiration for Blue Jays starter Edwin Jackson, currently playing for his 14th MLB club, but his lineup was less gracious. The Red Sox totaled 16 hits and four home runs against Jackson and the Blue Jay bullpen, and plenty of cruelty against the unsuspecting baseballs thrown their way.
That meant it wasn’t a particularly stressful outing for starter David Price, who was back in the rotation after a stint on the 10-day injured list with elbow tendinitis.
Price (2-2, 3.29 ERA) made an abridged start of five innings, the brevity due only to limiting his pitch count in his first start back. He looked like he could have pitched well beyond in victory, getting his 15 outs on 67 pitches, giving up only three hits and two unearned runs with four strikeouts and no walks.
“Felt better as the game went on,” Price said. “Last couple innings were more efficient than the first two or three, so it was good.”
The two runs came in the second when Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile homered, but both were unearned because Billy McKinney was on base after second baseman Michael Chavis’s fielding error.
Chavis said the play was routine and he should have made it, but the ball took an unexpected bounce off the Rogers Centre turf. It was just his second game played on turf, he said, and that he was going to take extra ground balls Tuesday to get better acquainted.
Price took responsibility for giving up the home run anyway, saying he wanted the fastball in, but left it out of the plate. He was excellent after that point, retiring the last 10 batters he faced, including the side in a five-pitch fourth inning. His velocity got better later in his start, perhaps the product of the time off.
Cora said that Price won’t have restrictions on his next start.
“I don’t know,” Price said. “Maybe I’m 33 and it was a day game. I don’t know.”
Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, and Hector Velazquez collectively no-hit the Blue Jays in four innings of relief.
“They’ve been doing an outstanding job,” Cora said.
The Red Sox scored two runs in the first. Mitch Moreland, Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers hit three straight two-out singles, with Devers driving in Moreland and moving Bogaerts to third. Devers then stole second, and Bogaerts scored on a throwing error by Maile.
After Toronto tied it on Maile’s home run, Boston scored four more in the third with a two-run single by Bogaerts (3 for 5 with 3 RBIs) and a two-run home run by Chavis (2 for 5, 2 RBIs). Chavis has hit .320 (25 for 78) in his last 19 games with 7 home runs and 20 RBIs, a stretch which includes an 0-for-19 slump.
“You never actually see [the ball] bigger,” Chavis said. “I wish you did. But it just kind of gets easier to get the contact, if that makes sense.”
They chased the 35-year-old Jackson (0-1, 6.30) after five innings and continued to hit well against Toronto relievers. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth off righty Elvis Luciano to make it 8-2. Devers hit an RBI single and Steve Pearce a sacrifice fly in the seventh to make it 10-2. For Bradley, the home run broke an 0-for-12 streak.
Bogaerts and Devers hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth off righty Ryan Tepera. It was the third set of back-to-back homers for the Red Sox, 25-22 and 8-3 in their last 11 games.
“That’s when things get really fun,” said Chavis. “You see a little glimpse of what we’re capable of. I wouldn’t even say we’re hot yet, but I think things are going the right way for sure.”