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Valdez and Duran power Red Sox to 7-3 win over Blue Jays to complete three-game sweep

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays were swept for the first time this season Wednesday after dropping a series finale they'd like to forget. Four errors were committed in a 7-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre.
Boston Red Sox's Romy Gonzalez (right) scores as Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) looks for the ball during third inning American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays were swept for the first time this season Wednesday after dropping a series finale they'd like to forget.

Four errors were committed in a 7-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. A dismal 1-for-15 showing with runners in scoring position — the latest example of poor production from an offence that has been flat all season — really told the story.

"We didn't play well today, I think all around," said Blue Jays manager John Schneider.

The Red Sox got solo homers from Enmanuel Valdez and Jarren Duran and used their speed to keep the Blue Jays on their heels. Boston stole five bases and was 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

"We’re just playing our style of baseball right now," Duran said.

Boston (40-35) extended its winning streak to five games and has won eight of 10.

Addison Barger and Justin Turner had two hits and one run apiece for the Blue Jays (35-39).

"The theme was we didn't do much with guys on base," Schneider said. "It sucks to get swept (for) the first time all year. They're playing really well right now and we just didn't do enough to win. That's what it came down to."

The Red Sox took advantage of some sloppy defence behind Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman to open the scoring in the third.

Barger booted a routine grounder at third base to allow Romy Gonzalez to reach. Gonzalez stole second and scored on David Hamilton's single.

Centre-fielder Kevin Kiermaier's throw home on the play was wide of the plate, bouncing on the turf before hitting Gonzalez as he was about to slide. Valdez made it 2-0 in the fourth inning with his sixth home run of the year.

Toronto put runners on first and second base in each of the first three innings but Boston starter Brayan Bello (7-4) escaped each time.

The Blue Jays opened their half of the fourth inning with three straight hits. Kiermaier ended Toronto's run of missed opportunities with a single that scored Barger.

Kiermaier stole second and Spencer Horwitz walked to load the bases for Turner, who hit into a double-play that brought Isiah Kiner-Falefa home with the tying run.

Duran put the Red Sox back in front in the fifth with a 433-foot solo blast that landed in the standing-room section above the wall in centre field.

Kiermaier made a highlight-reel catch on a Dominic Smith drive to the wall to keep it a one-run game in the sixth. Masataka Yoshida took third on the sacrifice fly and scored on an infield single by Gonzalez.

Left-hander Tim Mayza relieved Gausman and gave up a single to Duran that brought home Valdez. Gausman (5-6) allowed four earned runs, six hits and three walks to go with four strikeouts.

Toronto made it a two-run game when Turner scored from third base on a wild pitch by Justin Slaten. But the Red Sox replied with two runs in the eighth inning en route to their fourth road sweep of the season.

Bello allowed two earned runs over six innings. He gave up seven hits and two walks to go with six strikeouts.

Announced attendance was 38,906 and the game took two hours 54 minutes to play.


A moment of silence was observed before the game in honour of baseball legend Willie Mays, who died Tuesday at age 93.

A 24-time all-star, Mays hit 660 home runs over his career and won 12 Gold Glove awards.


Right-hander Yariel Rodriguez is expected to make his return to Toronto's starting rotation on Friday against the Cleveland Guardians.

He went on the injured list April 30 with thoracic spine inflammation. Rodriguez recently completed a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.


Designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach cleared unconditional waivers on Wednesday and is now a free agent, the Blue Jays said.

Vogelbach was released Tuesday after being designated for assignment last week. He hit .186 with one homer and eight RBIs over 31 games with Toronto.


Both the Blue Jays and Red Sox will have an off-day Thursday. Toronto will visit Cleveland and Boston over a six-game road trip.

The Red Sox will continue their road swing with a weekend series against Cincinnati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press