TORONTO -- Mookie Betts came through with a three-run double in the top of the 10th inning, and along the way, he helped provide some protection to Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and manager John Farrell.
Betts' go-ahead double came off Blue Jays reliever Jason Grilli and helped secure a 4-1 victory on Thursday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
"I'm just trying to put a good swing on a good pitch," said Betts, who had been 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before clearing the bases. "I did have a rough day today, but it could come down to one at-bat, and luckily I was able to stay in it. I've got to give credit to the guys before, putting together some good at-bats and giving me an opportunity."
The shot down the left-field line came minutes after Kimbrel coughed up a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth when Kendrys Morales hit a game-tying solo homer.
"I threw one bad pitch today, and it's a tie ballgame," said Kimbrel. "It [stinks], but hopefully it doesn't happen too often."
The late-inning dramatics somewhat overshadowed dominating performances from the starting pitchers on both sides. Chris Sale (0.91 ERA) picked up his fourth consecutive quality start of the year as he set a season high with 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings. He limited the Blue Jays to four hits and one walk, but he was pulled from the game in favor of Kimbrel after throwing 80 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
"I mean, that's the goal. That's the objective, filling up the strike zone, throwing strikes, being able to repeat what you're doing out there and giving the team a chance to win," said Sale.
Right-hander Marco Estrada was almost as good, but he too was forced to settle for a no-decision as Sale matched him pitch for pitch. Toronto's veteran starter limited Boston to three hits and a pair of walks over six innings while striking out seven. Estrada kept the Red Sox hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position, and he stranded five men in his third quality start of the season to lower his ERA to 2.63.
"My goal every game is to go nine innings and give up zero runs. It's tough to do, obviously, especially when you're facing a lineup like Boston," Estrada said. "Those guys just put up good at-bats. I know we didn't give up too many hits today, but they wasted a lot of good pitches. It's frustrating sometimes. You make a good pitch, and they foul it off instead of popping it up or grounding out. They do a good job over there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk this way: Boston's rally in the top of the 10th got started when Grilli issued a one-out walk to No. 8 hitter Sandy Leon. Grilli worked the count full but then wasn't close on a 93 mph fastball as the go-ahead run reached base. Brock Holt followed with a single, and two batters later, Andrew Benintendi walked to load the bases for Betts. Boston's star outfielder quickly got ahead 2-0, and then he ripped a double down the line as all three runners came around to score. Grilli has now surrendered five earned runs over 6 1/3 innings this season.
"You look at the way we built the inning," said Farrell. "Brock with a big base hit mixed in there, a couple walks where we didn't give up the strike zone. Sandy, particularly, where he chased a number of pitches up [earlier], and then laid off them and works a walk."
Morales' moment: Morales has shown a flair for the dramatic during his brief time with the Blue Jays. On April 15, he hit a walk-off homer in the ninth inning vs. the Orioles, and it was another ninth-inning homer that played a big role in this game. Morales sent the second pitch he saw from Kimbrel over the wall in center field for third home run of the year. According to Statcast™, the ball was projected to travel 427 feet and left his bat at 106 mph. Morales' homer came on a 97.1 mph fastball from Kimbrel, which marked the fastest pitch the veteran slugger has hit out of the park during the Statcast™ era.
"I was just trying to go up. It was more middle," said Kimbrel. "He's a fastball hitter. You can't always throw breaking balls to him. I still have to attack him with a fastball, which was right in his wheelhouse, and you saw where it went."
Doubling up: Major League Baseball's leader in doubles was up to his old tricks again on Thursday afternoon. Mitch Moreland hit a fly ball to right-center field that got by the outstretched glove of outfielder Jose Bautista and went to the wall for a double. According to Statcast™, the play had a catch probability of 63 percent, but Bautista was unable to come up with the grab, and it proved costly right away. In the following at-bat, Xander Bogaerts singled down the first-base line off Osuna as Moreland came around with the go-ahead run.
"I'm glad we had a little TV down there to watch him. It's tough to see where his pitches are going from the bullpen, so it's always nice to be able to see it." -- Kimbrel, marveling at Sale's performance
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Sale's strike percentage of 78 percent was the best of any start in his career, topping an outing on July 27, 2013, when he threw 75.6 percent strikes.
The Blue Jays have lost five consecutive series for the first time in franchise history. Their 2-7 start at home marks their worst record to start the season since 2004.
Farrell used his challenge in the bottom of the third inning after Ryan Goins hit a slow grounder to short. Bogaerts tried to get the forceout at second base, but his throw was deemed late by second-base umpire Laz Diaz. That put runners on first and second with one out, but before it became official, Farrell asked for a review. Following a brief delay, it was deemed that the replays were inconclusive, and as a result, the play on the field stood. In the end it didn't matter, as Sale quickly bounced back to strike out Kevin Pillar and Bautista to end the threat.
In the ninth, when Bogaerts put the Red Sox ahead with the RBI single to right, he was originally awarded second base after advancing on the throw. But after a challenge, the play was overturned, and Bogaerts was ruled out on the head-first slide. The review took one minute and 55 seconds.
Red Sox: Left-hander Drew Pomeranz opens a three-game series for the Red Sox on Friday night at Camden Yards, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is expected to be activated and in the starting lineup after being sidelined with a right knee sprain.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Mat Latos will make his first start of the year when the Blue Jays open a four-game series vs. the Angels on Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 10:07 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Latos made a couple of appearances for Triple-A Buffalo and allowed one earned run over nine innings of work. He will start this game and possibly one other with Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ currently on the 10-day disabled list.