Raimel Tapia lowered his head and began a slow run to first base, not sure he got the snap he wanted as he drove a flyball with the bases into center field in the third inning. Then everything about the play and the rest of the night changed.
Tapia won the Grand Slam at the park after a misplay by Boston center fielder Jarren Duran, and the Toronto Blue Jays set a franchise record for runs in a game by outscoring the Red Sox 28–5 on Friday night.
Toronto was within two modern major league records for runs in a game after two runners found themselves in the ninth inning with Boston infielder Yolmer Sanchez on the mound. Every Blue Jays rookie has had at least two hits, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tied Frank Catalanotto’s franchise record with six of them. Danny Jansen homed twice and drove six times. Matt Chapman and Theoscar Hernandez added singles homers for Toronto, which surpassed their previous single game record of 24 runs set in June 1976 against the Baltimore Orioles.
“It was amazing,” interim manager John Schneider said. “We talked about it before the game, how can you come out a little sleepy and hot. I think we came out hot, obviously.”
The 28 runs is the highest ever scored by a Red Sox team, eclipsing the previous total in a 27-3 loss to Cleveland in 1923. The Fenway Park faithful were taunted all night, except for a proposal of marriage on a videoboard with the home team. trailing 25-3. The woman’s “yes” was one of the few times Boston fans found something to cheer about.
Toronto entered the day with a two-game lead over the Red Sox and took the last place of the AL wildcard. The Red Sox have lost their last three games 14-1, 13-2 and 28-5.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi lasted just under three innings, allowing the homer and was charged with nine runs. It’s the start of a 29-hit night for Toronto’s four-in-a-row winners that has had almost as much stupidity from the Red Sox.
It all started with Tapia’s home run. With two strikeouts in the third and Toronto leading 6-0, Tapia lifted two strikeouts to center against pitcher Austin Davis. Duran took a couple of steps back, then a couple more, then threw up his hands in confusion. Boston fans groaned as the ball landed on the warning lane behind him.
“[First base coach Mark Budzinski] began to say: “You must run! You have to run!” Tapia said. “That’s when I started running really hard, right here.” Duran slowly approached the ball as left fielder Alex Verdugo ran up to him, slid, picked it up and fired towards the infield. The home relay didn’t come close to grabbing Tapia, who picked up speed when he realized Duran had lost the ball. “I hit the barrel, but at the same time I didn’t think it would go too far,” Tapia said.
Duran called losing the ball “the most hopeless feeling you’ll ever have”. He added: “I just lost it at dusk. It happens. [Verdugo] was right there. Obviously I had to take a step or two. He was about to beat me on the ball. I just didn’t want to get in his way. Next time I know to take one or two steps.”
Boston made another defensive mistake in the fifth round. Trailing 15–3, Chapman picked up a two-out infield pop-up that fell between catcher Kevin Plavecki, pitcher Caleb Orth, and third baseman Rafael Devers for a base hit that allowed another run to cross. This caused more ridicule and scorn from the Boston fans, who remained in their seats. Those who remained tried to make the most of a woeful night at the baseball stadium.
Fans were still getting on their feet for Neil Diamond’s traditional Fenway Sweet Caroline signing. Nevertheless, this evening, as memorable as it was unforgettable, it also ended with a small whistle. Is there only joy left? When Duran struck out to end the game.
The modern MLB record for runs in a game is 30, held by the Texas Rangers against the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. The all-time record is 36 for the Chicago Colts against the Louisville Colonels in 1897.
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