Red Sox offense gets jolt with slam from Holt

Clutch homer helps erase 5-run deficit en route to win over Blue Jays

Red Sox offense gets jolt with slam from Holt

TORONTO -- The Red Sox were simply in chip-away mode when Brock Holt stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning with his team still staring at a five-run deficit.

Could anyone have been bold enough to predict a grand slam? Probably not.

And that's what made the game-turning hit so joyous for the Red Sox, who rode the unlikely drive down the line to a thrilling 8-7 win on Friday night that spoiled the home opener for the Blue Jays.

The first slam of Holt's professional career didn't so much soar out of Rogers Centre as it sneaked over the wall down the line in right.

Maybe Holt will one day embellish the story.

"Yeah, second deck," Holt quipped.

With two home runs in his first 12 at-bats this season, Holt has equaled his total in 454 at-bats last season. This, from a player who had just six career homers in 1,027 at-bats entering 2016.

"He's on pace for about 60 homers right now -- maybe more than that," third baseman Travis Shaw said. "He's swinging the bat really well, getting good pitches to hit. He's got a little bit more [pop] than people think."

But still, a grand slam?

"It's cool, yeah, I don't think I've ever done it," Holt said. "That was my first one. I hit some in Little League."

What about high school or college? Junior college, maybe?

"I don't know if I ever did have one at Rice or junior college. I think that might have been my first one," Holt said. "I'm not sure. I don't hit many home runs. Grand slams don't come that often."

One of the reasons Holt somewhat surprisingly beat out Rusney Castillo as Boston's starting left fielder to start the season is because of his ability to grind out at-bats. It is a trait the Red Sox are showing as a team early this season, as the club has scored six or more runs in three straight games to start a season for the first time since 1995.

In this one, the Red Sox wore down ace Marcus Stroman, forcing the Jays to go to the bullpen with just one out in the sixth.

Holt was the first batter to come up after Stroman's exit, and he jumped on an 0-1 fastball by Jesse Chavez and completely changed the emotion in the visiting dugout.

"He gets the bat head out front and there's a quick four-spot," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "There's a quick eruption in our dugout and really a jolt of life for our team."

Holt's grand slam offset the one earlier in the game from Josh Donaldson. It was the first time since June 26, 2001 that the Red Sox hit a grand slam in the same game as their opponent.

The Red Sox completed the comeback in the seventh, as David Ortiz tied it with an RBI single to right-center and Hanley Ramirez put his team on top to stay with an RBI single to left.

"We feel like we have a good lineup, a deep lineup," Holt said. "We never feel like we're out of a game. Tonight proved that. We put together some good at-bats and were able to come back. It's a big win for us."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.