MLB

Bichette hits 2-run homer but Blue Jays allows Red Sox to rally late again

Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox rallied late for the second straight game, beating Toronto 5-4 on Monday night in the opener of an important series for the Blue Jays.

4th-place Toronto falls to 10 1/2 games behind in the East

Boston's bats were held down until Alex Verdugo, centre, belted his drive over the Red Sox bullpen off Toronto's Trevor Richards (1-1). (Charles Krupa/The Associated Press)

Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox rallied late for the second straight game, beating Toronto 5-4 on Monday night in the opener of an important series for the Blue Jays.

Boston star Rafael Devers added a solo homer on the four-year anniversary of his first major-league shot. It was the AL All-Star third baseman's first ever homer with a natural-coloured barrelled bat. Each of the previous 100 in his career were with a dark-coloured barrel.

Devers belted one for his first big-league hit in his second career game in a victory at Seattle on July 26, 2017.

Bo Bichette hit a two-run homer for fourth-place Toronto, which fell to 10 1/2 games behind in the East.

A day after being no-hit for seven innings by New York's Domingo German before putting up five runs in the eighth to erase a four-run deficit and beat the rival Yankees, Boston's bats were held down until Verdugo belted his drive over the Red Sox bullpen off Trevor Richards (1-1).

It was Boston's major-league leading 33rd come-from-behind victory.

"It's hard to get 27 outs against us. We know that," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "It's a tough place to play. You can feel the energy. In the eighth inning, they were a little bit louder, expecting something big."

Verdugo took his time rounding the bases, enjoying the moment. On Sunday, he broke up the no-hitter with a deep double to right.

"Just rounding the bases, part of it was the moment, putting us up," he said.

Adam Ottavino (3-3) worked a scoreless inning for the win. Matt Barnes got the final three outs for his 22nd save.

Bichette hit his drive over the Green Monster off Nick Pivetta, a shot that hit a wall behind the first row and bounced back onto the field to make it 4-3.

Devers' shot into the right-field seats made it 3-2.

Toronto starter Thomas Hatch made just his second big-league start after being sidelined with a shoulder impingement since spring training. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"My body felt good, my arm felt good, felt like the stuff was coming out pretty good," he said. "For the most part, I felt like my stuff was arriving where I wanted it to. I felt like they made some good swings on some pretty good pitches."

Pivetta gave up four runs on six hits before being pulled after Bichette's homer.

"It was a definite grind for me. The energy wasn't really there," Pivetta said. "The team did an incredible job for me. It's incredible how they come back like this."

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