BOSTON -- Marco Estrada turned in a brilliant performance on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, taking a no-hitter into the eighth, but the Blue Jays had to stave off a furious rally by the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth en route to a 5-4 victory in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Chris Young spoiled Estrada's bid at history by bashing a solo homer over the Green Monster with one out in the eighth.
"It's a very good offense over there," Estrada said. "They're leading the league in everything. I started off pretty slow. It took me a little bit of time to get used to the mound or something, I don't know what it was. By the third inning, I felt pretty comfortable out there, just had things going."
After giving up a leadoff double to Dustin Pedroia in the ninth, Estrada came out in favor of closer Roberto Osuna. The Red Sox scored three in the inning to make it a one-run game, and the tying and winning runs were on base when Marco Hernandez struck out to end the game.
"Well, we continue to battle right through the final out. We're one swing of the bat away from tying that ballgame up, potentially going ahead," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I love the fact that our guys don't ever quit. They keep coming. There's a tremendous amount of character in that room."
Estrada allowed two hits and two runs over eight-plus innings to improve to 4-2 and lower his ERA to 2.41.
The righty was trying to become just the second Blue Jays pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter and first since Dave Stieb on Sept. 2, 1990, against the Indians. Meanwhile, the Red Sox kept their streak alive of not being no-hit since Seattle's Chris Bosio did it on April 22, 1993, at the Kingdome. The last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox at Fenway was Jim Bunning on July 20, 1958.
After an impressive first start back from the disabled list, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez wasn't sharp in this one. The theme of his day was established right away, as Jose Bautista led off the game with a homer. That was the first of four homers the Blue Jays hit off Rodriguez, and all of them went over the Green Monster. Rodriguez gave up four hits, five runs and three walks over 5 2/3 innings.
"I feel like I missed the spot all four times -- two with a changeup, two with a heater," Rodriguez said. "The [Russell] Martin one was right in the middle. The third one, I feel like it was a good pitch. He just put a pretty good swing on it. That's the whole thing -- I just missed spots four times."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Going deep: The Blue Jays were limited to four hits, but all of them left the yard. A solo shot by Barney and a two-run shot by Encarnacion in the third gave Estrada all the breathing room he would need. Encarnacion has 12 home runs, and five of them have come against the Red Sox to go along with a pair of doubles. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's two-run shot was projected to travel 410 feet and left his bat at 107 mph.
"There wasn't a lot of hits today, but we made every one of them count," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's what can happen [at Fenway], and you don't always have to hit them good, either. You just have to get them airborne, and if the wind's blowing right, you're probably going to get it off the wall anyway."
Young takes advantage of opportunity: Young is going to get a lot more playing time over the next couple of weeks, as Blake Swihart joined Brock Holt as the second Red Sox left fielder on the disabled list. The fact Young belted a homer against a tough righty like Estrada is encouraging to him. Over the years, Young has been a much better hitter against lefties. But he will play against most righties in the coming days.
"I love playing just like everyone else in this clubhouse," Young said. "Any opportunity I get to play, I'm happy about it and try to take full advantage of it." More >
Leading the way: Bautista gave the Blue Jays an early boost when he led off the game with a solo home run over the Green Monster. According to Statcast™, Bautista's 12th of the year was projected to travel 334 feet and left his bat at 98 mph. In any other park, it likely would have been a lazy fly-ball out, but at Fenway, it gave Toronto a 1-0 lead and set the tone for an afternoon that would see the club go deep three more times.
Bogaerts' bunt attempt doesn't work: The Red Sox started with a full-fledged rally, as Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia opened with walks. Xander Bogaerts, who opened the day leading the American League in batting average, decided to bunt. It didn't work, as Betts was thrown out at third by Estrada. The rally fizzled out from there.
"He saw something there," Farrell said. "He sees Dominguez playing back a little bit. Thought he might be able to put one down. I'm sure that if he were to revisit things, down a run, nobody out, he's trying to move runners. He sees something there, but we're certainly not going to take the bat out of his hands."
"Always good thoughts, I'm a positive guy." -- Gibbons, when asked what was going through his mind as the Red Sox scored three runs in the ninth and put the tying run in scoring position off Osuna
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Estrada came close to a pair of no-hitters in back-to-back starts last season. On June 19, Estrada had a no-no until Baltimore's Jimmy Paredes broke it up in the eighth inning with a leadoff single. In Estrada's next outing on June 24 vs. Tampa Bay, he was five outs away before Logan Forsythe hit an infield single in the eighth inning.
For several weeks now, a Red Sox player has held the longest active hitting streak in the Major Leagues. Currently, Pedroia and David Ortiz are tied for that honor, as both extended their streaks to 13 games with hits in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays have hit at least four home runs in a game three times this season. The two-homer third inning marked the fifth multihomer inning for the club in 2016.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound when the Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Tigers on Monday night at Comerica Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, and the Tigers will counter with righty Michael Fulmer. Happ has surrendered three runs or fewer in all but one of his 11 starts this season.
Red Sox: After a day off on Monday, the Red Sox open a two-game series against the Giants in San Francisco on Tuesday night. Righty Rick Porcello gets the start in the first game Boston has played against the Giants since 2013. First pitch is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET.