BOSTON — Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the ninth inning by hitting a solo blast over the left-centerfield wall to pound-out the winning run in a 8-6 Toronto victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The game-winner was Smoak’s second homer of the game and 26th of the year as he anchored Toronto’s offense with his two home runs and three RBI, highlighting the Blue Jays’ 27th come-from-behind win of the season.
At the outset, Toronto left-hander Francisco Liriano was looking to rebound from one of his worst starts of the season – a five run in two innings outing on July 15th – but, instead, tossed a similar outing Thursday afternoon and lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, two earned.
Trailing 3-1, the Blue Jays batted around in the third, scoring four runs on two hits and four walks. Steve Pearce and Ryan Goins each hit two-run singles in the inning.
Smoak’s 25th homer of the season, on Fister’s first pitch of the fifth, put Toronto ahead, 6-3. The Blue Jays added another run in the sixth when Smoak’s two-out single off Kyle Martin scored Darwin Barney, who led off the inning with a walk.
Boston cut its deficit to one in the seventh on a three-run homer by Dustin Pedroia, who was serving as the designated hitter for the first time this season. The homer was his sixth of the season.
Red Sox starter Doug Fister also struggled, lasting just 4 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on seven hits.
Right-hander Dominic Leone relieved Liriano and earned the win, improving to 2-0. Roberto Osuna pitched a scoreless ninth, with two strikeouts, for his 24th save. Fister took the loss, falling to 0-4.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays split their four game series and the Sox finished their homestead 4-4 but fell to 5-8 over their last 13 games.The Red Sox had won their last 23 games when they scored more than six runs, last dropping such a game on May 9 in Milwaukee.
NOTES: 2B Dustin Pedroia served as Boston’s designated hitter on Thursday for the first time this season, just the fifth game in his career. He is a career .500 hitter as the DH, going 9-for-18 with five RBI. On Thursday he extended his hitting streak to nine games. … With a scoreless first inning Toronto LHP Francisco Liriano lowered his first-inning ERA from 10.05 to 9.39. … RHP Joe Smith, sidelined since June 14 with shoulder inflammation, is expected to join Toronto for its series in Cleveland beginning Friday. … SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the starting lineup on Thursday for the first time since Monday. He had been bothered by a muscle contusion and a sprained right hand after being hit by a pitch. … Boston RHP Kyle Martin, called up Thursday, made his major league debut in the seventh inning