Boston's East lead shrinks with loss to Jays

Boston's East lead shrinks with loss to Jays

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays' bats came out at Fenway Park on Monday night, as Toronto connected for four home runs to sink Boston, 10-4, in the process shrinking the host's lead over New York atop the American League East to just 2 1/2 games.

Kendrys Morales got things going early with a three-run shot off of Rick Porcello in the first, Jose Bautista followed with a solo shot to center in the third, Raffy Lopez went over the Toronto bullpen for a two-run homer in the sixth and Justin Smoak added a solo shot in the ninth.

Toronto starter J.A. Happ (7-10), who worked with runners on in every inning, went 5 2/3 for the win, allowing just one earned run after scattering six hits and three walks.

"I think we're aware of how we fared against them, but they're in first place for a reason," said Happ, whose team was swept by the Red Sox last week and is 4-10 against them this season. "It's definitely good to get this first one, and hopefully, we can continue to do well."

Porcello (9-16), who was taken out after allowing seven runs on 10 hits and a walk over 5 1/3 innings, was tagged with his Major League-leading 16th loss.

"I'm disappointed in my performance and definitely take full responsibility for our loss today," Porcello said.

Boston was not without its opportunities, scoring two runs in the second to pull within one before Bautista's blast in the third inning began to put distance between the clubs.

Nunez's two-run single

"There were multiple opportunities here for us tonight," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I can't say without rewatching the video if we're expanding off the plate too much, being tentative in certain situations. The opportunities are there, we haven't cashed them in."

The Red Sox stranded 10 runners and went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Ryan Tepera worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings out of the 'pen for Toronto, converting two big strikeouts with men on in scoring position, retiring Xander Bogaerts in the seventh and Eduardo Nunez in the eighth.

Tepera becoming a force out of bullpen

Tepera strikes out Bogaerts

The Blue Jays piled on the ninth, with Smoak's solo home run serving as an introduction to three straight doubles to cap a 14-hit night for Toronto.

Pillar's RBI double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Morales strikes early blow: The Blue Jays were able to get guys on in the first inning but looked as if they may come empty following Bautista's strikeout. Then, with two outs, Morales crushed a 1-0 curveball from Porcello, burying it into the right-field grandstand seats. The blast, which traveled an estimated 387 feet per Statcast™, gave Toronto an early 3-0 advantage. Morales' shot, his 26th of the season, had an exit velocity of 104.3 mph.

"We've been swinging the bats," Toronto's acting manager, DeMarlo Hale, said. "You could see them really grinding and really battling. Any time you have three innings where you score three runs, you're doing some damage. Big three-run homer by Morales really helped in that first inning."

Homers haunt Porcello again: In the top of the sixth inning, with the Red Sox already trailing by three runs following Darwin Barney's RBI double, Porcello served up a towering two-run shot to Lopez that went over the Toronto bullpen. It was the third long ball that the Sox starter gave up on the night, and his final pitch of the game. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has given up long balls in 21 of 29 starts this year and has allowed 35 on the season, just three shy of the team record, set by Tim Wakefield in 1996.

"It was pretty awesome," said Lopez, who has three homers over his last six games. "My freshman year I went to school in Boston, so to come back here and do that was a lot of fun. A lot of text messages and stuff like that, from friends back home. It's always [great] in any environment to hit a homer, but this was pretty awesome."

QUOTABLE
"We just flat our got our [behinds] kicked. There was no pressing there. It was a poor pitching performance on my part, and that was pretty much it. Give up seven runs in five, six innings, it's tough for anybody to come back from." -- Porcello

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Bautista's solo shot in the top of the third inning was the 42nd of his career vs. Boston. That's the most by any active player in the Major Leagues; his 101 RBIs rank third, behind Seattle's Robinson Cano (116) and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria (102).

Morales and Smoak have combined to hit 63 home runs this season, which is tied for the second most in Major League history by a switch-hitting duo. New York's Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher combined to hit 68 in 2009.

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada will take the mound when this three-game series continues on Tuesday night at 7:10 ET. Estrada is coming off a rough outing that saw him allow six runs on 10 hits vs. Baltimore, but he escaped with the win thanks to a lot of run support. Prior to that outing, he allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.

Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be on the hill on Tuesday night. In his nine starts since returning from a knee injury, he is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA. Rodriguez has similarly struggled vs. the Blue Jays in his career, going 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in seven appearances against them.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.