Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer and R.A. Dickey pitched into the eighth inning, carrying the Toronto Blue Jays to a much-needed 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
Adam Lind added three hits for the Blue Jays, who dropped the first two games of the series after five consecutive wins. The Blue Jays were six games behind Seattle for the AL’s second wild card coming into the day.
Xander Bogaerts had an RBI single for the defending World Series champion Red Sox, who will be officially eliminated from the AL East race with their next loss or Baltimore win.
Dickey (12-12) allowed one run and six hits. The knuckleballer was pulled after Mookie Betts’ leadoff double in the eighth.
Boston’s Rubby De La Rosa (4-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in four-plus innings. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.20 ERA in his last five starts.
Brett Cecil worked a hitless eighth and Casey Janssen tossed a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.
Bautista chased De La Rosa with his 31st homer, a drive over the Green Monster seats and completely out of Fenway Park.
Boston’s hitters had little luck with Dickey early on, collecting just three singles in the first five innings. Jackie Bradley Jr. had the hardest hit ball, a deep drive to the wall in center that was caught with two runners on in the second.
Blue Jays: 1B Edwin Encarnacion was the designated hitter after being lifted for a pinch runner late in Saturday’s loss. He has been bothered by a right quad injury.
Red Sox: Boston 1B Mike Napoli and INF/OF Brock Holt both were out of the lineup after feeling ill the past couple of days. Holt left Friday’s game early and Napoli departed on Saturday. Manager John Farrell said both were feeling “much better.” DH David Ortiz had a planned day off, but Farrell said they also were “managing that right foot he fouled a couple of balls off recently.” Two weeks ago, Ortiz went down hard and left the game after fouling a ball off his foot. He was out of the lineup for two games.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (9-5, 3.83 ERA) is slated to go against RHP Jacob Turner (5-8, 5.54 ERA) on Monday when Toronto opens a three-game series at home against the Cubs.
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly (1-1, 3.89 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener of a three-game set in Fenway against AL East-leading Baltimore. Miguel Gonzalez (8-7, 3.38 ERA) gets the ball for the Orioles.
THREE KNUCKLEBALLERS IN THE PARK
Dickey and Boston reliever Steven Wright both mostly throw knuckleballs and pitched in the game. Former Red Sox RHP Tim Wakefield watched from the press box. Wright pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits.