Raimel Tapia put his head down and started a slow jog toward first base, unsure he got the pop he wanted when he drove a base-laden fly ball toward deep center field in the third inning. Then everything in the room and the rest of the night changed.
Tapia hit a grand slam inside the park after an error by Boston center fielder Jarren Duran and the Toronto Blue Jays set a franchise record for runs in a game, moving past the Red Sox 28-5 Friday night.
Toronto came within two of the modern major league record for runs in a game after failing two runners in the ninth inning with Boston infielder Yolmer Sanchez on the mound. Every Blue Jays starter had at least two hits, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr tied Frank Catalanotto’s franchise record with six of them. Danny Jansen homered twice and drove in six runs. Matt Chapman and Teoscar Hernandez added solo homers for Toronto, which surpassed their previous single-game run record of 24 points set in June 1976 against the Baltimore Orioles.
“It was great,” interim manager John Schneider said. “We talked about it before the game, how you can come out a little sleepy and you can come out hot. I think we came out hot, obviously.
The 28 runs are the most ever by a Red Sox team, eclipsing the previous mark in a 27-3 loss to Cleveland in 1923. The Fenway Park faithful laughed all night except for a marriage proposal on the video board with the local team. led 25-3. The woman’s “yes” was one of the few times Boston fans found cause to cheer.
Toronto entered the day with a two-game lead over the Red Sox for the final AL wildcard spot. The Red Sox have lost their last three games by scores of 14-1, 13-2 and 28-5.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi went just under three innings, giving up a home run and was charged with nine runs. It started a 29-hit night for Toronto’s four-game winners that featured almost as much Red Sox madness.
It started with Tapia’s home sprint. With two out in the third and Toronto leading 6-0, Tapia hit a two-out volley to center against reliever Austin Davis. Duran took a few steps back, then a few steps forward, then threw up his hands in confusion. Boston fans groaned as the ball landed on the warning track behind him.
“[First base coach Mark Budzinski] started saying, ‘You have to run! You have to run! said Tapia. “That’s when I started running really hard, right there.” Duran walked slowly to the ball as left fielder Alex Verdugo ran, slid to pick it up, and fired it into the infield. The home relay was nowhere near catching Tapia, who picked up speed when he realized Duran had lost the ball. “I hit it on the barrel, but at the same time I didn’t think it would go too far,” Tapia said.
Duran called losing sight of the ball “the most hopeless feeling you can have”. He added: “I just lost it in the twilight. It happens. [Verdugo] was right there. Of course, I should have taken a step or two. He was already going to beat me to the ball. I just didn’t want to get in his way. Next time I know how to take a step or two.
Boston again blundered on defense in the fifth. Trailing 15-3, Chapman lifted a two-out pop-up to the infield that fell between receiver Kevin Plawecki, reliever Kaleb Ort and third baseman Rafael Devers for a hit that allowed another race to meet. This garnered more ridicule and disdain from Boston fans who stayed in their seats. Those who stayed tried to make the most of a dreadful night at the ballpark.
Fans still rose to Neil Diamond’s traditional Fenway signing of Sweet Caroline. Yet, on a night as memorable as it was forgettable, it also ended with a handful of boos. The only joy left? When Duran struck to end the match.
The modern MLB record for runs in a game is 30, set by the Texas Rangers against the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. The all-time mark is 36 for the Chicago Colts against the Louisville Colonels in 1897 .
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