TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox had not won a game this season in which they trailed after eight innings. They were 0-65.
The Toronto Blue Jays, meanwhile, were 73-0 in games in which they led after eight, making their tiebreaking, two-run rally in the eighth loom that much larger as they tried to hold service against the New York Yankees in the American League East.
So, naturally, the Sox sent 10 men to the plate in the ninth inning against three Jays relievers, scored five times, and sucked the air out of sold-out Rogers Centre with a stunning 7-6 win over Toronto. The Blue Jays’ loss cut their lead over the Yankees, 5-0 winners over the Mets earlier in the day, to 3½ games.
Toronto mounted a final comeback with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth. Robbie Ross Jr. walked Josh Donaldson, gave up a two-run home run to Jose Bautista, then a double to the wall in center to Matt Hague, hitting in the cleanup hole normally occupied by Edwin Encarnacion, who had been lifted for a pinch runner in the eighth.
But Ross steadied himself and retired Justin Smoak on a ground ball to second to end it.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who midway through Saturday’s game was 1-for-his last 32 with 18 strikeouts and no hits in his previous 21 at-bats, doubled off the glove of second baseman Cliff Pennington to tie the score at 2 in the seventh, then hit a two-run home run into the second deck to tie the score in the ninth off Jays closer Roberto Osuna.
Jays manager John Gibbons lifted Osuna for Aaron Sanchez, but he failed to retire a batter, giving up singles to Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz, throwing a wild pitch, issuing an intentional walk, then giving up another hit to Rusney Castillo that made it 7-4. Ryan Tepera, the third Toronto pitcher of the inning, retired Brock Holt to end the inning.