The bitterness of this game, though, sits in the eighth and ninth innings, when the Sox couldn’t push the tiebreaking run across. Reese McGuire’s first career triple to lead off the eighth was squandered with a strikeouts by Bobby Dalbec and Tommy Pham, then a Rafael Devers ground out.
In the ninth, with no outs and the bases loaded, the Sox could not score. Franchy Cordero struck out, and Kiké Hernández grounded into a double play.
“We had a chance to do damage in the last part of the game, the later innings, but [it was some tough matchups],” Bogaerts said. “I’m not giving them too much credit, but it’s not that easy.”
The Red Sox (60-65) were 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position. They were swept for the second straight series against the Blue Jays.
“We didn’t put the ball in play in certain situations,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “They made pitches, but at the same time, you know, you can’t expand.
“I think we have to make a conscious effort to use the whole field. I do believe that’s it. We haven’t done that. That’s on us. We’ve got to keep preaching that we’ve got to be better. Winning teams, they do that stuff.”
Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman had dominated the Red Sox for much of the season entering Thursday. Each of his four starts against Boston had ended in a win. In 26 innings against the righthander, the Red Sox had scored just four runs.
Gausman entered the night with a 37.4 percent strikeout rate against the Sox this year, second-highest ever by a pitcher with 25-plus innings against Boston. Nolan Ryan’s 39.6 percent strikeout rate against the Red Sox in 1974 ranked first in that category.
But the Red Sox weren’t overwhelmed by Gausman on Thursday night. Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford yielded two runs in the first inning, but his teammates responded with two of their own in the second. It began with a Bogaerts infield single. Christian Arroyo’s single up the middle moved Bogaerts all the way to third. Then, with one out, McGuire’s single to right field scored Bogaerts. Dalbec tied the game with an RBI single that beat the shift.
Following a single by Pham, Devers laced a double down the right field line that scored Pham from first, giving the Red Sox a one-run lead in the third.
After Crawford — who wasn’t sharp — surrendered another two runs in the fourth, the Sox got to work again on Gausman, zeroing in on their clear plan of attack: putting the ball in play, keeping the defense moving.
The Sox continued to pepper Gausman with singles in the fourth, beginning with Rob Refsnyder’s base hit. The next batter, McGuire, fell to 0-2 in the count. Refsnyder attempted to steal second on the third pitch of the at-bat. Third baseman Matt Chapman, shifted to shortstop, went to cover second base, leaving just enough room for McGuire to shoot the ball past Chapman. Refsnyder went first to third on the play and Dalbec drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
Crawford labored for most of his 4⅔ innings, failing to put hitters away. After a walk and a single in the first, Bo Bichette stung a two-run double into the right field corner. In the fourth, with two outs and the Red Sox leading, 3-2, Crawford struggled to register the third out, highlighting an issue for the Sox pitching staff for much of the second half of the season.
The Jays tallied back-to-back two-out singles off the righthander, then Crawford issued a walk to bring up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. After first baseman Dalbec couldn’t make a play in foul territory on a ball that could have been caught, Guerrero made the Sox pay with a two-run single.
Of the 73 pitches Crawford threw through four innings, 33 came in the third and fourth with two outs.
Nonetheless, the game was once again knotted, 4-4, in the sixth inning. Danny Jansen banged a solo homer off Matt Strahm in the top half of the sixth to give the Blue Jays the lead. Then Jarren Duran, who was fed a heavy dose of pitches on the outside of the plate throughout the game, made the adjustment in the home half of the kilometer, hitting an opposite-field RBI double to make it 5-5.