Chapman walks it off as Blue Jays bolster playoff hopes with sweep of Red Sox
TORONTO (AP) — Matt Chapman hit a game-ending double off the center-field wall in the ninth inning, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays over the Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Toronto, which swept its ninth series this season, entered in the AL’s third and final wild card spot, a half-game behind Texas and a half-game ahead of Seattle.
The sweep of Boston put the Blue Jays back in the postseason picture after they were swept by Texas in a four-game series last week.
“To get three wins like that and get right back in the mix is huge for us,” Chapman said.
The Blue Jays won in their final at-bat for the sixth time this season and the second time in two days. Whit Merrifield’s infield single in the 13th inning gave Toronto a 4-3 win Saturday.
“It’s fun to build off that energy,” Chapman said. “I think it gets guys excited. Hopefully we can just build off that energy and keep it rolling through this last stretch.”
Toronto has 12 games remaining, six each against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston has lost 10 of 12 and is nine games back of the Blue Jays with 12 games left. The Red Sox were swept for the eighth time.
“Obviously we want different results but it’s not happening right now,” manager Alex Cora said.
Boston trailed 2-1 when Rafael Devers homered off Erik Swanson (4-2) with two outs in the ninth, Devers’ career-high 33rd home run.
With All-Star closer Jordan Romano unavailable after pitching the previous two days, Swanson blew a save for the second time in six chances.
Cavan Biggio singled with one out in the bottom half against Garrett Whitlock (5-5), and Chapman followed with his second double of the game. Chapman’s 37 doubles are tied for third-most in the AL.
Red Sox rookie Wilyer Abreu, who took over in center in the eighth, jumped for the ball but couldn’t make the play.
“I did everything I could and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get it,” Abreu said through a translator.
Abreu injured his left hand when he landed and had an ice pack on it after the game but said it wasn’t serious.
Chapman’s hits were his first since being activated off the injured list last Thursday. He returned after being sidelined since Aug. 27 because of a sprained right middle finger, and was hitless in 12 at-bats coming into the game.
“I haven’t been able to be as consistent as I’d like to but to be able to come up big for the team today is a lot of fun,” Chapman said.
Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette threw Devers out at the plate for the first out of the second as Devers tried to score on Pablo Reyes’ grounder.
“Being able to get an out like that really did change the whole atmosphere,” Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu said through a translator.
Devers reached base five times. He singled in the second, walked in the third and fifth, and was hit by a pitch in the seventh.
“He’s locked in right now,” Cora said. “He’s taking his walks, working the count, getting pitches he can drive. He’s in a great place right now.”
Kevin Kiermaier hit a sacrifice fly in the second and Daulton Varsho homered in the fifth off Nick Pivetta, who allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Pivetta is winless in four starts.
Reyes had a two-out RBI single in the seventh. Boston was 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position, including 0 for its first 12.
Boston went 3 for 33 in the three-game series with runners in scoring position.
“It’s tough,” Cora said. “It happens over 162, but it’s been going on for a while.”
Ryu allowed six hits in 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
Red Sox: Two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (shoulder) has ended his rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester and will not pitch again this season, Cora said. … RHP Kenley Jansen (COVID IL) is expected to join the team in Texas this week, Cora said. Jansen is eligible to be activated on Wednesday.
NEW IN BLUE
Umpire Jacob Metz joined the crew at third base Sunday. He replaced Jordan Baker, who left Saturday’s game after eight innings and entered Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol after being struck by multiple foul tips.
Toronto is 25-19 in one-run games.
Red Sox: RHP Kutter Crawford (6-7, 4.26 ERA) is expected to start Monday night as the Red Sox visit Texas for a three-game series. LHP Jordan Montgomery (9-11, 3.47) is scheduled for the Rangers.
Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (9-6, 3.81 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night as the Blue Jays travel to New York to begin a three-game series against the Yankees. New York’s scheduled starter is RHP Clarke Schmidt (9-8, 4.56).
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