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Marco Estrada pitches Toronto Blue Jays past Boston Red Sox

By
Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

BOSTON -- Marco Estrada's near no-hitter was nearly negated by the Toronto Blue Jays' late collapse on Sunday afternoon.

Toronto carried a four-run lead into the eighth inning at Fenway Park on the back of Estrada's prolific outing, but Chris Young's solo homer sparked a late four-run surge that brought the Boston Red Sox within a run.

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Fortunately for Estrada, that was as close as the Red Sox came in Toronto's 5-4 win.

"You never feel good here, because you're staring at that short wall out there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "No lead's really ever safe, and they've got such a good offensive hitting team."

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Young's homer with one out in the eighth gave Boston its first hit of the day off Estrada (4-2), and David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez each slapped RBI doubles in the ninth before Jackie Bradley Jr.'s one-run single made it a one-run game.

Roberto Osuna, who relieved Estrada with nobody out in the ninth, got pinch hitter Marco Hernandez to strike out swinging with the tying run on second to end the game.

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"Always good thoughts," Gibbons joked about his mindset during the ninth-inning meltdown. "I'm a positive guy."

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Estrada gave up two hits and three walks while striking out five in eight-plus innings.

"It took me a little bit of time to get used to the mound, I guess -- I don't know what it was," said Estrada, who issued two walks and threw a wild pitch in the first. "By the third inning, I felt pretty comfortable out there and just had things going."

Estrada has come close to making history before, carrying no-hitters into the eighth innings of consecutive starts last June.

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"Obviously if it happens, it will be really nice," Estrada said. "It's not something that I'm thinking about."

Jim Bunning was the last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox at Fenway in 1958 with Detroit.

Edwin Encarnacion belted a two-run home run while Jose Bautista, Darwin Barney and Russell Martin all hit solo homers for Toronto (31-27), which has won five of its last six and 12 of 16 since ending a season-worst five-game skid.

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Boston (33-24) dropped two of three in the series after Saturday's 6-4 victory and four of five overall.

"We're looking forward to the off day tomorrow," Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "Most of us will need the use of it to get our body well rested."

Dustin Pedroia joined the doubles parade in the ninth, giving him a hit in 26 consecutive games against the Blue Jays -- tied with Jerry Remy for the longest streak against Toronto in major league history.

Ortiz and Pedroia extended their league-leading hitting streaks to 13 games each.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1) was erratic in his first start at Fenway this season, allowing five runs on four hits -- all homers -- with three walks and no strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

"I feel like I made just bad (pitches) four times," Rodriguez said.

Toronto received contributions from both ends of the batting order in staking an early lead.

Bautista's leadoff bomb in the first inning -- the sixth of his career and his second of the season -- barely cleared the Green Monster in left field to put Toronto ahead.

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Barney, the No. 9 hitter, hit a solo homer in the third that preceded Encarnacion's two-run shot later in the inning. Martin's knocked Rodriguez out of the game with his blast in the sixth.

Boston went hitless through four innings for the fourth time in its last eight games.

NOTES: Red Sox LF Blake Swihart (left ankle sprain) and C Ryan Hanigan (neck strain) were placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. OF Rusney Castillo, RHP Heath Hembree and C Sandy Leon were brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket. RHP Noe Ramirez was optioned to Pawtucket. ... Toronto recalled INF Matt Dominguez from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned RHP Ryan Tepera to Buffalo. ... Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson (jammed right thumb) returned to the lineup Sunday as the designated hitter. Donaldson was held out of the lineup Saturday, but was available to pinch hit. ... Toronto SS Troy Tulowitzki (right quad strain) and LHP Brett Cecil (left triceps strain) are making progress at Class A Dunedin, Blue Jays trainer George Poulis told MLB.com, but neither has a timetable to return. ... Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (6-2, 3.06 ERA) counters Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer (5-1, 3.24 ERA) on Monday. Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (7-2, 4.00 ERA) opposes Giants RHP Albert Suarez (1-1, 3.18 ERA) on Tuesday.

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