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By BRENDAN McGAIR Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — All-Star Alek Manoah pitched six sharp innings as the Toronto Blue Jays relied more on his arm than their bats to keep up their season-long dominance of the Red Sox, beating Boston 4-1 Saturday.
A day after Toronto set a team record for runs — and posted the most ever scored against the Red Sox — in a 28-5 romp, Manoah set the tone.
“When he’s on the mound, we know we have a chance to win,” Toronto interim manager John Schneider said. “It’s easy to get up for a game when he’s on the mound.”
Boston lost for the eighth time in nine games. Red Sox fans were sure to get a cheer on Sunday, however, when former slugger David Ortiz was inducted into the Hall of Fame — plenty of them headed to Cooperstown, New York, to see Big Papi enshrined.
“It’s very challenging and tough, but no one will feel sorry for you, especially the opposing team. They feel it’s a perfect situation for them,” Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “We need to go out with the team and the lineup we have. We’re all here for a reason. We can play.”
Manoah (11-4) allowed one run, on a homer by Bobby Dalbec that cleared everything in left field in the second, and seven hits. He walked none, struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 2.24.
“My competitiveness is something that I know I can control,” Manoah said. “Having that will to win and expecting nothing less is what I’m trying to do every day.”
The animated Manoah barked at the Boston bench after ending his outing with three straight strikeouts. He fanned fellow All-Star Bogaerts to start that late flourish.
“He’s an emotional guy and that’s what makes him elite — the way he competes,” Schneider said. “Just make sure your emotions don’t get the best of you and show up your opponent, but you couldn’t ask much more from him out of that inning.”
Jordan Romano pitched a scoreless ninth for his league-leading 21st save.
Toronto got seven hits a day after pounding out 29, and improved to 9-3 against the Red Sox this year. The Blue Jays are 3 1/2 games ahead of Boston for the AL’s final wild card spot.
Toronto pieced together a three-run third off rookie Kutter Crawford (2-3). Santiago Espinal and George Springer hit RBI singles and Alejandro Kirk had a sacrifice fly.
The Red Sox put All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers on the 10-day injured list because of right hamstring inflammation, making the move one day after his early exit in the fifth inning.
Blue Jays: Yusei Kikuchi (neck strain) delivered five innings of two-hit shutout ball in a rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo on Friday. The lefty finished with four strikeouts and three walks while throwing 43 of his 77 pitches for strikes. Interim manager John Schneider said the next 72 hours will be key before plotting the next course of action for a pitcher who has posted a 5.12 ERA in 16 starts before getting placed on the 15-day injured list earlier this month.
Red Sox: Back spasms kept All-Star DH J.D. Martinez out of the lineup for the second straight game. “He doesn’t feel great,” manager Alex Cora said. “Hopefully by tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday, he’ll be back in the lineup.” … Rich Hill (left knee sprain) has a bullpen session scheduled for Sunday. The lefty pitcher has been on the IL since July 2. … Cora says RHP Matt Barnes (shoulder inflammation) was in good spirits following Friday’s rehab appearance with Worcester. He is scheduled to throw an inning for the WooSox on Sunday. … INF/OF Kiké Hernández (hip flexor strain) was transferred to the 60-day IL. …. 2B Trevor Story (bruised right hand) is throwing but still hasn’t swung a bat since landing on the injured list on July 16.
Blue Jays: Ross Stripling (5-3, 3.03) will look to continue to build on what’s been a strong July. The right-hander has posted a 2.70 ERA in his previous three starts this month.
Red Sox: Top pitching prospect Brayan Bello (0-1, 10.13 ERA) makes his third start on Sunday. The 23-year-old is still searching for his first MLB win and will be looking to pitch into the fifth inning – something he didn’t do in each of his first two starts with Boston.