Blue Jays rally in ninth inning to clip Red Sox 6-5

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TORONTO — A walk-off single to left field from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gave the Toronto Blue Jays a wild 6-5 victory against the rival Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

Pinch-hitter Alejandro Krik led off the final inning with a sharp single to left. Then, George Springer walked so Bo Bichette could knock in the tying run with a single to right. Guerrero then bounced a grounder into left field to score Bichette.

After Rob Refsnyder tied the game with his homer off Blue Jays reliever Trent Thornton, the Red Sox pushed across the winning run in the eighth inning.

Toronto reliever Tim Mayza issued Xander Bogaerts a leadoff walk. He advanced to second on Alex Verdugo’s single to centre and scored on Christian Vazquez’s single to left.

Toronto second baseman Santiago Espinal bailed his team out later in the eighth inning, snaring a line shot from Christian Arroyo to double up Vazquez at second base with the bases loaded.

The Blue Jays (42-32) have won the first two games of the three-game set against the Red Sox (42-33).

The Red Sox arrived in Toronto as one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball, having won 11 of 13 outings and seven straight.

The home side built a 3-0 advantage in the first inning. After successive one-out walks to Bichette and Guerrero Jr., Teoscar Hernandez doubled in Bichette. Matt Chapman then scored Guerrero and Hernandez with a double off the top of the left-field fence.

The Red Sox scored their first run in the second inning with a line shot homer to left field from infielder Trevor Story. Blue Jays centre-fielder Raimel Tapia kept the preceding Boston batter, Verdugo, off the bases with a diving catch in left centre to please most of the 27,140 at Rogers Centre.

Toronto restored its three-run lead when Espinal singled in Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who smacked a one-out double.

The Red Sox made it 4-2 in the fifth inning. Vazquez opened with a single to centre, moved to third on Franchy Cordero’s double and scored on Refsnyder’s grounder to second.

Both Toronto starter Ross Stripling and his Boston counterpart Michael Wacha lasted five innings, with Stripling surrendering only two runs on five hits, compared to Wacha’s four runs on seven hits.

Tyler Danish (2-1) took the loss for the visitors. Toronto closer Jordan Romano (2-2) registered the win.

BULLPEN RELIEF

The Blue Jays could sign 39-year-old right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as early as Wednesday. He auditioned for a spot in Toronto’s reliever corps with a bullpen session on Tuesday and was scheduled to undergo a physical on Tuesday evening.

The three-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants became a free agent after he was released by the Seattle Mariners last week.

COMING UP

Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah (9-2, 2.05) is slated to start Wednesday’s finale against Canadian Nick Pivetta (8-5, 3.25). The 29-year-old Pivetta hails from Victoria, B.C.

Toronto opens a four-day, five-game Canada Day Weekend series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press