The visiting Boston Red Sox will be out to show that a revived offense on Monday night was a sign of things to come as they go for a series victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night in Buffalo.
The Red Sox hit six home runs — including two by Enrique Hernandez and a grand slam by Hunter Renfroe — to win the opener of the three-game set 13-4 on Monday.
It was the first of 10 games between the American League East rivals through Aug. 8. The Red Sox, who came into the series in a 2-6 funk, increased their lead over the third-place Blue Jays, who had won four in a row, to seven games.
Boston manager Alex Cora juggled his lineup Monday. The shift paid immediate dividends when Jarren Duran, moved to second in the batting order, hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot in the first inning against Ross Stripling.
Before the eight-run first inning was over, Renfroe hit his sixth career grand slam and Hernandez belted a two-run homer.
It was the first time in major league history that a team scored eight or more runs in the top of the first inning with all of them coming on home runs.
“That was a great first inning,” Cora said postgame. “The at-bats were really professional today. We stayed in the zone, we did a lot of good things and hopefully we can continue (Tuesday).”
Boston slugger J.D. Martinez, who was dropped from third to fifth, had four hits and a walk. Alex Verdugo, who was moved from second to sixth, walked three times.
“I’m not saying this is the way we’re going to go the rest of the season,” Cora said, “but it just felt right today. And we’ll see where it takes us.”
Boston’s Danny Santana, activated from the injured list for the game, hit a two-run double and a solo home run. His move coincided with Christian Arroyo (hamstring) going on the IL.
The Red Sox will start right-hander Garrett Richards (5-5, 4.91 ERA) on Tuesday against Toronto right-hander Thomas Hatch (season debut).
Richards is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against Toronto this season. He is 3-5 with a 5.26 ERA in 11 career games — nine starts — against the Blue Jays.
Hatch is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three career games, all in relief in 2020, against Boston.
Hatch, who was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo, started the season on the 60-day IL because of an elbow impingement. He will take the place of right-hander Alek Manoah, who was scheduled to start Tuesday. Manoah slipped on the dugout steps during the weekend, sustained a back contusion and was placed on the IL.
Hatch was 0-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight starts covering 29 1/3 innings in Triple-A this year.
“For right now, he’s throwing in Manoah’s spot,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after the Monday game. “We’ll go from there and see how Manoah is doing. We’ll see how he does, of course, but for right now, he’s starting (Tuesday). That’s all we know right now.”
Toronto also put infielder Breyvic Valera on the family medical emergency list and recalled outfielder Jonathan Davis from Triple-A. Right-hander Anthony Castro (right ulnar nerve irritation) went on the IL.
–Field Level Media