TORONTO — As frustrating as the trip to London might have been, the Red Sox turned the page as soon as their seven-hour flight landed.
But the one question that nagged and lingered was the one about how Rafael Devers was somehow not an All-Star.
The outcome of the final selections didn’t so much leave the Red Sox scratching their heads as simply shrugging it off.
Xander Bogaerts, himself overlooked as an All-Star, tried to figure out before the Sox got to Toronto how Devers could be overlooked with a .322/.372/.525 line, to go along with 12 homers and 50 RBIs.
“He should be also one of the guys going there,” Bogaerts said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if it has to do with how we’re playing. It wasn’t right, but you have to move on.”
Devers made his case again Tuesday in the Red Sox’s 10-6 win over the Blue Jays.
He went 4 for 5 with a pair of two-run homers and his second career six-RBI game, fueling an offense that was finally rewarded for churning out runs over its past four games.
The Sox had scored at least seven runs in three games coming in, but lost all three until they snapped the streak at the Rogers Centre.
Devers became the third Sox player with four multi-homer games before the age of 23, joining Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro. He’s now one of five Sox with five four-hit games before 23. The only others were Williams, Bogaerts, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Tabor.
Sox manager Alex Cora was still miffed that Devers performance this season didn’t earn him an All-Star nod.
“He’s consistent with what he’s doing,” Cora said. “He’s dominating the strike zone, he’s playing good defense, he’s a good base-runner, he’s a complete player, and he’s only 22,” Cora said. “So I’m just glad we were patient with him. We know there are times that he’s going to be 22, but overall, he’s one of the best third basemen in the big leagues and he’s showing it on a nightly basis.”
The Sox staked David Price to a four-run first-inning lead thanks to a two-run homer from Devers, an RBI ground-rule double from Christian Vazquez, a run-scoring single from Jackie Bradley Jr. and didn’t let off the gas.
Mookie Betts scored in the second on a Bogaerts fielder’s choice. Devers came through with two more RBIs on a single in the third. Vazquez tacked on a solo homer in the seventh.
Devers went for the icing in the eighth, waiting on a 2-and-2 cutter down and away from Jays reliever Joe Biagini and lifting it over the fence in left-center.
How the All-Star roster shook out wasn’t on Devers’s mind.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Devers said. “I just go out there and play my game. If I was selected, I was selected. But the fact that I wasn’t doesn’t change the way I play my game.
“Even though I didn’t make it this year, that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to make it next year. So I’ve just got to continue to work hard and improve every single day.
“It’s not about being surprised or anything like that because at the end of the day I’m just here to play baseball. I’m just here to help my teammates win games and that’s pretty much it. If they selected me, that would’ve been great, but at the same time that’s not what I’ve been focused on.”
After a slow start, Devers has been a force. Since May 1, he’s hitting .345 with 14 homers, 48 RBIs, and 33 extra-base hits. His .628 slugging percentage is the highest in the American League over that stretch.
“I feel good,” Devers said. “Overall, I haven’t changed anything. I’ve always remained aggressive and this has just always been the way I play. So, in terms of how I feel, I’ve always felt as good as every single other day. So it’s just another day for me. But it feels good to be performing as well as I am.”
Price (6-2) went at least six innings for the ninth time this season, holding the Jays to two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts. His season-high four walks were deceiving. He walked three in the first two innings when he threw just 21 of 40 pitches for strikes. The rest of the way, he threw 39 of 53 pitches for strikes.
As far as what’s impressed him about Devers this year, he said, simply, “Everything.”
“How he comes in here day-to-day,” Price said. “It doesn’t matter if he has a bad game or a good game. He stays the same. He’s an All-Star. It’s not the way it worked out, but he doesn’t change because of it. He continues to move forward with his defense, at the plate — everything about him, he’s not 22. He acts much older.”
So what will Devers do over the break?
He chuckled, “I don’t know.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.