Devers hits 2-run HR in return as Red Sox beat Jays 10-5
By IAN HARRISON, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — The streaking Red Sox have had plenty to be pleased about in recent weeks.
The return of Rafael Devers gave Boston one more reason to smile.
Devers came off the disabled list and hit a two-run home run, Brian Johnson pitched a season-high seven innings to win his second straight start and the Red Sox extended their winning streak to six games with a 10-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
J.D. Martinez had three hits and Xander Bogaerts had three RBIs for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who have won 10 of 11.
Devers had been out since July 28 because of a strained left hamstring. He went 2 for 4 with a walk and scored twice.
“I felt good, I gave 100 percent on every play today and nothing bothered me,” Devers said through a translator. “I’m just happy to be back and contributing.”
He isn’t the only one who’s happy.
“It’s cool to see him around,” manager Alex Cora said. “He brings a lot of joy to the game, a lot of smiles in the clubhouse. Everybody is happy. He’s like their little brother. For him to go out there and perform, that was good to see.”
Outfielder Mookie Betts, who scored a pair of runs, said Devers has an infectious enthusiasm.
“He just brings fun,” Betts said. “He’s a young kid who laughs and enjoys being around. Anytime you have somebody young like that laughing and enjoying things, it kind of helps you sit back and enjoy it too.”
There’s been no shortage of things for Boston to enjoy. The Red Sox, who own the best record in the major leagues at 81-34, have won 12 of 15 meetings with Toronto this season.
Toronto, meanwhile, matched a season-worst by falling 11 games below .500 at 51-62.
Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run home run for the Blue Jays, his 17th, and Randal Grichuk added a three-run blast, his 15th. Both homers came off Johnson.
Johnson (3-3) allowed five runs and six hits to earn his first career win over the Blue Jays. He walked two and struck out six.
“I felt like I pitched a lot better than my linescore shows,” Johnson said.
Cora praised Johnson for “an outstanding job” after six Boston relievers pitched 5 1-3 innings Tuesday.
“For him to go seven innings, that was excellent for us,” Cora said.
Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly each pitched one inning of relief.
Boston chased Blue Jays starter Mike Hauschild (1-1) with a four-run third inning. Andrew Benitendi opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly, Mitch Moreland hit a two-run double and Bogaerts capped the rally with a sacrifice fly off reliever Luis Santos.
Hauschild, who pitched six shutout innings of relief to beat Seattle in his Blue Jays debut last Thursday, allowed four runs and three hits in 2 1-3 innings.
“The biggest difference tonight was just pounding the zone,” Hauschild said. “I made a couple of mistakes and they hit it pretty hard.”
Bogaerts drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk off Santos in the fifth and Devers homered off Jake Petricka in the sixth, his 16th. Boston made it 8-2 when Martinez and Bogaerts hit back-to-back doubles off Danny Barnes in the seventh.
Martinez hit an RBI single off Joe Biagini in the eighth and a second run scored on a wild pitch.
SWING AND A MISS
Johnson, who fanned a career-high 11 in his previous start, has now struck out five or more in four straight starts, the past two of which have come in place of injured LHP Chris Sale.
“Maybe it’s because I’m starting on Chris’ day and he gets a lot of those,” Johnson joked.
Toronto traded minor league RHP Nick Tepesch to Detroit for cash. Tepesch went 1-6 with a 7.90 ERA in 10 games at Triple-A Buffalo.
Red Sox: To make room on the roster for Devers, the Red Sox optioned INF Tony Renda to Triple-A Pawtucket. Cora said Devers will get the day off Thursday. … OF Mookie Betts stayed in the game after being hit on the left hand by a pitch in the third inning.
Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (14-4, 3.84) faces Blue Jays LHP Ryan Borucki (1-2, 2.30) in Thursday’s series finale. Porcello is 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA over his past four starts at Rogers Centre. Borucki pitched eight shutout innings to beat the Mariners for his first major league win in his previous outing, Aug. 3 at Seattle.
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