BOSTON—Red Sox manager Alex Cora went to reliever Brandon Workman in the eighth inning and knew what his options were for his beleaguered bullpen when things got tight in the ninth.
“It's either him or him,” said Cora after Workman threw 45 pitches and got out of a jam each inning as Boston held on for a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays last night.
“He's been outstanding all season," Cora said of the right-hander, who has a 1.84 ERA. "He's been one of the top relievers in the league, too. I think he should have been (at the All-Star Game).”
Rafael Devers hit a solo homer and drove in four runs, Eduardo Rodríguez pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Red Sox sent Toronto's Aaron Sanchez to his 13th straight loss.
Workman struck out Justin Smoak and Freddy Galvis with two on to end the eighth and got the final three outs despite giving up a run in the ninth for his fifth save, striking out Randal Grichuk swinging with two on to end it.
Boston's pen has struggled most of the season, blowing 18 save opportunities.
Devers also had a two-run double and RBI single, Brock Holt added a run-scoring hit—one of his three singles—for the Red Sox, who had dropped three of four since a five-game winning streak.
Teoscar Hernandez hit two solo homers over the Green Monster and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had one for the Blue Jays, who have lost seven of 10.
Rodríguez (11-4) held the Blue Jays to two runs on three hits, striking out four and walking three over 6 1/3 innings. It's the seventh time in 10 starts he's allowed two or fewer runs—and the fourth straight.
Once dominant, right-hander Sanchez (3-14) had his miserable season continue. He gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings and his ERA rose to 6.26; while he remained winless in his last 15 starts.
Devers homered into the first row of Monster seats, breaking a 1-1 tie in the third after Hernandez had homered deep into the seats above the left-field wall in the top of the inning.
In the fourth, Devers doubled into the right-centre gap to make it 5-1 after Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts singled, but Hernandez hit his second of the game the next inning. Devers added his run-scoring single in the eighth.
The start was delayed 33 minutes by rain.
The Blue Jays announced before the game that they acquired RHP Wilmer Font from the Mets for cash considerations. Montoyo said he plans to use him as an opener after he gets his work visa and joins the team.
Reliever Matt Barnes entered with runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. After walking Hernandez, he struck out pinch hitter Danny Jansen and Eric Sogard—both swinging.
Both centre fielders—Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hernandez—played caroms of the wall and made long throws to nail a runner trying to get a double. Bradley got Smoak and Hernandez cut down Vazquez.
In other AL action, Oakland crushed Seattle 10-2; Cleveland downed Detroit 7-2; Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox 7-5; and Houston thumped the L.A. Angels 11-2. The Tampa Bay at N.Y. Yankees game was postponed.
In interleague play, the N.Y. Mets smoked Minnesota 14-4; Baltimore defeated Washington 9-2; and Arizona creamed Texas 19-4.
Over in the NL, St. Louis edged Pittsburgh 6-5; Milwaukee shaded Atlanta 5-4; the Chicago Cubs downed Cincinnati 5-2; San Francisco got by Colorado 11-8; the L.A. Dodgers dumped Philadelphia 7-2; and San Diego eked past Miami 3-2.