July 18, 2017 / 3:10 AM / in 6 months

Pearce helps Blue Jays to 4-3 win over Red Sox

BOSTON -- Steve Pearce hit a long solo home run in the second inning and then snapped a tie in the eighth, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox in the first Fenway Park meeting of the season between the American League East opponents on Monday night.

With many Blue Jays fans in attendance, Toronto (43-49) won for only the second time in seven tries against the Red Sox (52-42) this season.

The Red Sox had just rallied with three unearned runs against Marcus Stroman and reliever Dominic Leone in the seventh when Pearce came through with a one-out single that chased pinch runner Ezequiel Carrera home from third against reliever Heath Hembree (1-3).

Stroman’s error attempting to step on first base was the key to a seventh inning that ended with Dustin Pedroia drilling the first pitch from Leone (just recalled from the minors) for a double that tied the score.

Mookie Betts, who had singled in the second run (his 14th RBI against Toronto this season), ran through a stop sign at third base and was thrown out at the plate by a relay from Troy Tulowitzki.

In the top of the eighth, Kendrys Morales’ third hit of the game sent Justin Smoak to third after Smoak (single, two walks) walked. Morales had a two-run double off starter Eduardo Rodriguez in the first inning.

Rodriguez was making his first major league appearance since suffering a knee injury on June 1.

Ryan Tepera (5-1) worked a perfect eighth and was given credit for the win after Leone surrendered the lead against the only batter he faced. Roberto Osuna pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.

Andrew Benintendi had two hits and a walk and Brock Holt a sacrifice fly for the Red Sox.

Rodriguez struck out the first hitter of the game, but Russell Martin singled. After another strikeout and a walk, Morales hit one off the wall in left for a two-run double.

Pearce then hit the third pitch of the second inning 434 feet out of Fenway Park to make it 3-0.

A diving play by Josh Donaldson kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the fifth inning. With first and second and one out, Brock Holt hit a shot to Donaldson’s left. The third baseman speared it with a dive and forced Christian Vazquez at second.

Stroman then fanned Betts, who came in with three homers and 13 RBIs against Toronto this season. It was Stroman’s seventh K of Betts (second of the game), the most Betts has fanned against any pitcher.

NOTES: The Red Sox’s protest over what they thought should have been an interference call against the New York Yankees’ Matt Holliday on Saturday was denied by MLB. “No, not surprised because there’s a series of factors that are weighed in this,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “I‘m a little disappointed that this is not a reviewable play, so when the umpires went to the headset the other night, it was for rules interpretation, it wasn’t to review the play.” ... Plate umpire Chris Segal was conked on the head by a bat that slipped out of Josh Donaldson’s hands in the first inning. He stayed in the game. ... Toronto LHP J.A. Happ faces Boston LHP Brian Johnson on Tuesday night as the Red Sox have pushed their starters back a day and LHP Chris Sale out of the series and into the opener of the coming road trip. The change was caused by RHP Doug Fister having to work in relief in a 16-inning game on Saturday. ... The Jays designated RHP Lucas Harrell for assignment to make room for RHP Dominic Leone.

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