John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Marco Hernandez, resilient Red Sox rally to top Blue Jays

Amin Touri
July 04, 2019 - 11:17 pm

Alex Cora said in June that it seemed like the Red Sox had an easier time mounting big comebacks than protecting leads, and with Boston overturning a five-run deficit in Toronto on Thursday, he might have had a point.

Marco Hernandez, who’s making a habit of coming through in big moments, went opposite-field with a solo homer off of Ken Giles in the top of the ninth, making sure a six-run rally in the seventh didn’t go to waste as the Red Sox gutted out an 8-7 win on the road.

Hector Velazquez struggled in 2.1 innings and Colten Brewer came out of the bullpen with even less success, and the Red Sox trailed 6-1 early on, Rafael Devers’ 15th homer of the season the only early bright spot.

That deficit stuck until the sixth, when the Boston bats woke up and hung six runs on Thomas Pannone and Tim Mayza, capped off by a three-run bomb from Michael Chavis to give the Red Sox a 7-6 lead.

Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez notched an RBI single each in the sixth to cut the deficit to 6-3, Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded into a fielder’s choice to add one more, and Mayza hung a breaking ball to Chavis for the rookie to hammer into the left field seats, his 15th homer of the year.

The Red Sox were uncharacteristically clutch in the few big spots they found themselves in, going 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position to continue the team’s Jekyll and Hyde act with men on this season. Chavis’ long ball was especially cold-blooded, coming with two strikes, two out and two on in the sixth, as Mayza was one strike away from escaping before Chavis flipped the game on its head.

Devers stayed hot, going 2-for-3 with two walks to bump his batting average to .331, second in the American League, while his OPS jumped to .936, third in the AL, while Martinez posted a solid 3-for-4 day at the plate.

The story seemed ready to flip again when Brandon Workman gave up an RBI double in the eighth to tie the game — the team’s AL-leading 18th blown save of the year — but the bats gave him another chance.

Boston has been unusually good in pinch-hit opportunities, and when Hernandez stepped up in place of Sandy Leon in the top of the ninth, he kept the good times rolling with a solo shot to restore the one-run lead. Per NESN, Red Sox pinch hitters are hitting .417 in 48 at-bats this season, including five doubles, four homers and 14 RBIs.

The bottom of the ninth wasn’t exactly a breeze for Workman either, with two Blue Jays reaching base, but he got it done to add a win next to the blown save in the box score, and keep the comeback from going to waste.

The win gave the Red Sox a 2-1 edge in the series, a needed boost as the team heads on to Detroit for the last stretch of this road trip before the All-Star break.

Related: Hector Velazquez's tough night highlights Red Sox' fifth starter deficiency