BOSTON -- On the strength of a two-out, four-run second inning, the Blue Jays held on for a 6-4 victory on Monday night at Fenway Park, in the process keeping the Red Sox's magic number to clinch the American League East at three.
With the Yankees winning earlier in the day, Boston's lead in the division was cut to four games, with six games remaining for both teams. The loss also snapped the Red Sox's six-game win streak.
Teoscar Hernandez and Josh Donaldson, who was a triple shy of the cycle, each contributed two-run doubles in the second-inning rally, while Brett Anderson limited the Sox bats enough, giving up three runs on six hits over five innings.
"We'd like to win a couple of games here, maybe at least put a little heat on them over there if the Yanks keep winning," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I don't know if it's gratification, but we'd like it."
Boston's Drew Pomeranz (16-6) made his shortest start of the season, getting pulled after allowing five runs on seven hits and one walk over two-plus innings.
"I can't say it's anything physical, but we recognize that he's got to locate a little bit more consistently and use his overall mix maybe a little bit more thoroughly throughout a given at-bat," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of his starter.
Donaldson hit a first-inning homer off of a light stanchion on the Green Monster to give Toronto a 1-0 lead before Boston plated two in the bottom half for its only lead of the night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two-out rally in second spurs Blue Jays: After squandering a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Toronto promptly got things back in its favor with a big second, though things didn't look so promising after Kevin Pillar grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. The Blue Jays were able to string together a walk and two singles before Hernandez took a 2-2 offering from Pomeranz off of the Green Monster, plating two to regain the lead. Donaldson immediately followed with a double of his own to score two more, giving Toronto a 5-2 advantage.
"I came out early, was throwing some two-seams a little slower, trying to get some swings on them, and I was missing," Pomeranz said. "They had the one big inning."
Hernandez throws out Travis: Batting in place of the injured Eduardo Nunez, Sam Travis sent a ball off the Green Monster in left field in the fifth inning. As Xander Bogaerts advanced from first to third on the play, Travis looked to gain an extra base as well, but Hernandez sent a laser to second base that beat Travis by a good margin for the second out. Bogaerts would end up scoring on a Mookie Betts single, but that Red Sox rally was squashed right after, without any additional damage to Toronto's lead.
"When we were here the last time, every day I go out there and practice and get some fly balls against the wall," Hernandez said. "Today, too. ... I got the chance to make the throw and make the out." More >
"We've been playing just fine. Guys that we have on the bench are fully capable. We'll try to do what we can to get back healthy. We just have to go out there and play." -- Betts
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Donaldson has eight games this season with at least three hits, and four of them have come this month. He has 14 first-inning homers, which is tied with Miami's Giancarlo Stanton for the most in the Majors and set a career high. Donaldson has also gone deep in four consecutive road games and is the first Blue Jays player to do that since Edwin Encarnacion in 2015.
WRIST FORCES BETTS OUT
Following an RBI single in the fifth inning, Betts was hunched over at first base in pain, holding his left wrist. Red Sox staff, including Farrell, came out to check on the All-Star right fielder, who remained in the game at the time. Scheduled to bat in the eighth, Farrell removed Betts for "precautionary" reasons, and put Andrew Benintendi, who promptly hit a solo home run, in his place.
"It's a sharp pain. I can't really move my hand for a little bit. I don't really know what's going on. We'll find out tomorrow," Betts said. More >
NUNEZ'S RETURN CUT SHORT
Out since Sept. 9 with a right knee injury, Red Sox designated hitter Nunez doubled in his first at-bat but crumbled in the batter's box after fouling off a pitch in his second. He convinced Farrell to allow him to stay in the game and promptly lined out to Donaldson, who made a nice diving grab on the play. Nunez then limped back to the dugout and into the clubhouse before being removed from the game. Nunez said he will rest for a few days before testing his knee out again in Boston's final regular-season series against the Astros. More >
Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista was ejected in the top of the eighth inning for arguing a called third strike with home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Bautista thought he watched ball four on an inside offspeed pitch that was up in the zone, but Fairchild disagreed and called strike three. Bautista turned to argue, and the two men briefly went face to face before Bautista was ejected.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ (9-11, 3.64 ERA) will make his final start of the season when this series continues at 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Fenway Park. Happ has allowed three earned runs or fewer in five consecutive starts and has gone at least six innings in each of his last three.
Red Sox: AL Cy Young Award hopeful Chris Sale gets the start on Tuesday. The 300 strikeouts recorded by the left-hander this season are 37 more than any other Major Leaguer. Sale has stifled the Blue Jays in three starts against them this year, allowing only 11 hits and two walks while going 2-0 with 35 strikeouts in 22 scoreless innings.