Toronto’s Curtis Granderson kept the game tied in the ninth inning Tuesday and won it with a walkoff blast in the following frame.
The veteran outfielder threw out Eduardo Nunez at the plate to limit Boston’s rally off Toronto closer Roberto Osuna to two runs. Granderson then stepped up in the 10th inning and crushed a 2-0 pitch from Craig Kimbrel to deep right field for a 4-3 victory.
“You fall behind anybody, it’s no good,” Kimbrel said. “I threw a ball in there to get back in the count and it was game over.”
It was Granderson’s third homer of the season and fourth career walkoff blast. He had three of Toronto’s five hits and drove in three runs.
“I’m trying to get on base and trying to do the little things because this team has such great ability to (deliver) in big situations,” Granderson said.
The Red Sox have lost three in a row but still own the best record in the major leagues at 17-5.
The Blue Jays (14-8), who ended a two-game mini-skid, moved three games behind Boston in the American League East division standings. Toronto right-hander Tyler Clippard (3-0) worked one inning of relief for the victory.
Toronto appeared primed for a quick victory after a solid outing by starter J.A. Happ, who struck out 10 batters over seven innings of four-hit ball.
Ryan Tepera worked a scoreless eighth but Osuna gave up four hits over a 31-pitch ninth and blew his first save of the season.
“Osuna and Kimbrel, it was the first runs they’ve given up all year,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “That’s why they call it the big leagues.”
In the ninth, Nunez drove in Hanley Ramirez to make it a one-run game and Brock Holt delivered a two-out single to bring Rafael Devers home with the tying run.
Nunez tried to score on the play but Granderson delivered a strong throw to catcher Russell Martin, who applied the tag in plenty of time.
“He made a perfect throw and threw him out,” said Boston manager Alex Cora.
The Blue Jays put three runs on the board in the second inning. Devers, the Boston third baseman, had a rough frame and Toronto took full advantage.
With runners on the corners, Kevin Pillar hit a grounder to third but Devers was wide with his throw home to allow Steve Pearce to score.
Granderson hit a sharp grounder later in the inning that handcuffed Devers after it hit the seam where the turf meets the dirt infield. The ball bounced behind Devers and as he retrieved it, Aledmys Diaz and Devon Travis scampered home.
Happ rolled through the first five frames before the Red Sox got on the board in the sixth. Holt led off with a double and scored on a Ramirez flare that dropped in front of Pillar in centre field.
Boston starter Rick Porcello also worked seven innings. He gave up three earned runs, three hits, three walks and had nine strikeouts.
It was the first blown save of the season for Kimbrel (0-1).
Boston outhit Toronto 9-5. Announced attendance was 20,070 and the game took two hours 51 minutes to play.
Before the game, the Blue Jays honoured the victims of Monday’s deadly van attack in north Toronto.
Players from both teams stood in front of the dugouts for a moment of silence. Toronto police officers and paramedics were recognized for their efforts and a banner reading ‘ TorontoStrong’ hung from the 200 level above the wall in centre field.
Notes: Gibbons said he expects to provide an update Wednesday on plans for slugger Josh Donaldson. The third baseman is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury but is expected to return soon. … Snowboarder Laurie Blouin threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She won a silver medal in women’s slopestyle at the Pyeongchang Olympics last February. … Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86) is scheduled to start Wednesday night against Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.45).