Blue Jays' relay a game-changer vs. Red Sox

Blue Jays' relay a game-changer vs. Red Sox

TORONTO -- If their first series of the season against each other is any indication, the Blue Jays and Red Sox will go toe-to-toe all summer in pursuit of the American League East, and every subsequent play could alter the outcome of the ballgame.

One of those game-changing plays happened in the third inning of Sunday's 3-0 win for the Blue Jays. Jose Bautista and Ryan Goins combined to perfectly execute a relay throw from right field that stole a run away from Boston and played a key role in Toronto's victory.

Boston trailed by two when Xander Bogaerts stepped to the plate and drove a ball deep into the right-field corner. Dustin Pedroia tried to score all the way from first, but Toronto had other plans. Bautista and Goins quickly relayed the ball to catcher Russell Martin, who picked it out of the dirt and tagged Pedroia just before he nabbed the outside of the plate.

"They executed it perfectly," Pedroia said. "More credit to them. It happens. It's baseball. They just put every throw on the money. My turns, I hit the inside part of the bag, and ran as fast as I can. They just executed. That was it."

The play prevented the Red Sox from scoring and it also left David Ortiz standing in the on-deck circle. Ortiz, who has two home runs this season, has more long balls (59), doubles (64), extra-base hits (125) and RBIs (181) than any other opponent in Blue Jays history.

"First of all, I thought it was the right call on [third-base coach Brian Butterfield's] part," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "It hangs up in the corner. You get the first look, it looks like Bautista is waiting for the carom off the wall. But it stays down in the corner. We're sending Pedey the whole way. He throws a strike. Goins throws a strike from about 150 feet, 160 feet from home plate. Credit a well-executed play."

Toronto starter Marco Estrada settled in after that and held Boston at bay the rest of the way, limiting the Red Sox to just two additional hits (five total) over his seven dominant innings. While Goins received a lot of credit for the play, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons also praised his outfielder and catcher.

"It all starts with the outfielder," Gibbons said. "He's got to get a good throw off to the infielder, whoever it might be, and Ryan Goins can really throw. It wasn't an easy play for Russ, either, who turned a little bit and made a nice tag."

Alykhan Ravjiani is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.