AL East-leading Blue Jays beaten by Red Sox 4-3, lose series
TORONTO (AP) The AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays lost their grip in the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox broke ahead on a sacrifice fly by Jackie Bradley Jr. for a 4-3 win Sunday.
Toronto began the day with a 3 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees, who played at night against the Mets. The Blue Jays host the Yankees in a three-game series starting Monday night.
The Red Sox went into the weekend in last place and took two of three at Rogers Centre. Boston rallied from an early 3-0 deficit in the wrapup.
It was 3-all when Toronto reliever Brett Cecil (3-5) made an error that let Pablo Sandoval reach to open the eighth. Mark Lowe came in to pitch and Sandoval took second on a groundout and then moved to third on Sandy Leon’s single.
Bradley hit a fly ball to center field and Kevin Pillar’s throw home was on line, but catcher Dioner Navarro couldn’t handle the short hop and Sandoval scored.
The unearned run snapped Cecil’s scoreless innings streak at 26. He hadn’t allowed a run since June 21 against Baltimore.
On Saturday, Bradley snapped an 0-for-21 slump with two game-tying hits in a 7-6 win, including a two-run homer in the ninth.
Rich Hill (1-0) struck out 10 in his first big league win since July 14, 2013, when he pitched in relief for Cleveland.
Hill gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked none and was one shy of his career high for strikeouts.
Hill, who fanned 10 at Tampa Bay last week, became the first pitcher in Red Sox history to strike out at least 10 in each of his first two Boston starts.
Noe Ramirez worked the eighth and Robbie Ross Jr. finished for his fourth save and second in two days. Ross struck out pinch-hitter Justin Smoak to end it, stranding the tying run at second.
Navarro hit a two-run homer in the second and Ben Revere added an RBI single later in the inning.
Xander Bogaerts hustled to score in the Boston fourth. Running from first on an infield grounder by David Ortiz, Bogaerts kept going to third when it was left unguarded by the shift. Bogaerts scored when pitcher Mark Buehrle threw past third baseman Josh Donaldson.
The Red Sox tied it in the fifth on a two-out, bases-loaded single by Travis Shaw.
Buehrle, who has won just once in six starts, allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Red Sox: Sandoval returned after missing the previous two games but left after scoring the go-ahead run.
Red Sox: Boston returns home Monday to begin a four-game series with Tampa Bay. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6, 3.94 ERA) starts the opener against Rays RHP Chris Archer (12-12, 2.95). Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his past five starts.
Blue Jays: LHP David Price (16-5, 2.42 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees. RHP Adam Warren (6-6, 3.33) starts for New York. Price is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his past three starts.