Friday, September 30, 2022

The Blue Jays' bats come alive during the Red Sox's victory as Toronto celebrates finally making the playoffs. CBC Sports

George Springer had a three-run homer as part of a four-run knock as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 9-0 on Friday.

After a two-run shot from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the third, Raimel Tapia scored a single home run for Toronto (88–69) to lead the sixth innings.

Bo Bichette had two hits, driving in one run, reaching 48 hits in the month of September to set a new Blue Jays record.

Alec Manoah (16-7) played six innings, conceding four strikes with just two hits and two walks. UC Kikuchi played three non-scoring innings of relief.

Nick Pivetta (10-12) worked for Boston (75-82) in five innings with six hits and four runs on three walks, with two runs.

Reliever Tyler Danish allowed four more runs before Franklin German ended the game for the Red Sox.

Toronto made the playoffs on Thursday afternoon when the Baltimore Orioles lost 5-3 to Boston. That defeat knocked Baltimore out of the playoffs and guaranteed Toronto a post-season appearance, but the Blue Jays dropped out on Thursday, meaning they couldn’t celebrate as a team.

Toronto interim manager John Schneider said ahead of Friday’s win that his team intended to celebrate securing a post-season berth regardless of Friday’s result.

“I think you have to embrace it whenever you get a chance to do it. You shouldn’t ignore it,” Schneider said before Friday’s game. “It doesn’t happen all the time and I can’t wait to have a good time with that group.”

The Blue Jays have five more regular-season games with Toronto still vying for an advantage at home in the American League Wild Card Series. After a three-game set against Boston, the Blue Jays will travel to Baltimore to finish the regular season.

‘All hard work paid off’

Bichette thinks it’s important to celebrate a playoff spot finish, even if the home turf advantage isn’t secure.

“All the hard work paid off, we did a lot and we had high expectations of ourselves and we were able to deliver,” Bichette said before the game. “There’s more work to do, obviously, and we expect more but we definitely need to enjoy it.”

Catcher Alejandro Kirk opened the scoring for Toronto in the first innings on Friday when his groundout to second baseman Christian Arroyo gave Springer enough time to score.

Second baseman Whit Merrifield took a 2-0 lead in second with his sacrificial fly-to-deep right field caching in Tapia.

Guerrero piled up in third, sailing a turnaround of 86.4 mph from Pivetta to delight 37,283 in attendance on the second deck at Rogers Center. Guerrero’s 31st home run of the season also gave Bichette a 4–0 lead in Toronto.

The impressive moon shot flew 447 feet with an exhaust velocity of 117.5 mph

Manoah’s no-hit bid ended in fifth when Abraham Almonte singled out the first-baseline. Guerrero fielded the hit and threw down Manoah, who didn’t reach base in time or make a catch because he clearly thought it had gone wrong.

In the sixth, the Blue Jays’ bat continued to do damage.

Tapia scored another run to take the lead in the innings. He launched an 82.6 mph curveball from Danish into deep right field. It was his seventh homer of the season and gave the Blue Jays a 5–0 lead.

Back-to-back singles by Danny Jenson and Merrifield kept the two runners up and brought Springer to the plate. He hit 90.7 mph fastball in left field for his 25th homer of the season. This gave Toronto an 8–0 lead, before Boston could also be dismissed in the sixth inning.

Bichette set the Blue Jays record for most hits in a month in the eighth month when he sang in the right field. It scored Maryfield for another Toronto run.

The Blue Jays honor National Day for Truth and Reconciliation before and during the game. Canada’s national anthem was sung in English, French, and Blackfoot and Dolores (McLeod) Napons, a survivor of a residential school in Atikamaxeng Anishnawbek, near Sudbury Ont.

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