Raimel Tapia put his head down and began a slow jog to first base, unsure of getting the pop he wanted when he drove a base-loaded fly ball into a deep center field in the third inning. Then everything changed about the play and the rest of the night.
Tapia hit a Grand Slam inside the park after a foul by Boston quarterback Garen Doran and the Toronto Blue Jays scored a running privilege in a game, topping the Red Sox 28-5 on Friday night.
Toronto came in among two recent records in the major leagues for running in a game after sprinters were stranded in the ninth inning with Boston’s Olmer Sanchez on the hill. Each Blue Jays player had at least two hits, and Lourdes Gouriel Jr. tied Frank Catalanuto’s franchise record with six of them. Danny Jansen has gone twice and led in six runs. Matt Chapman and Tuskar Hernandez added singles players for Toronto, who surpassed their previous singles game record of 24 innings in June 1976 against the Baltimore Orioles.
“That was great,” said interim manager John Schneider. “We talked about it before the game, how you can get out of bed a little while feeling hot. I think we came out hot, obviously.”
The 28 innings is the most for the Red Sox, surpassing the previous record in a 27-3 loss to Cleveland in 1923. The Faithful taunted Fenway Park all night except for a video-board wedding show with the home team trailing 25-3. The woman’s “yes” was one of the few times Boston fans found reason to cheer.
Toronto entered the day by two games over the Red Sox in last place for the AL Championship. The Red Sox lost their last three games 14-1, 13-2, 28-5.
Red Sox writer Nathan Evaldi lasted less than three rounds, allowing Homer nine runs. It started a 29-game winning night in Toronto that was marked by nearly as many follies as the Red Sox.
I started with the Tapia race at home. With two wins in third and Toronto leading 6-0, Tapia raised a double-fly into the middle against Austin Davis. Duran took a few steps back, then a couple entered, then raised his hands in confusion. Boston fans groaned when the ball landed on the warning lane behind him.
“[First base coach Mark Budzinski] He began to say, “You have to run!” Tapia said. “That’s when I started to run really hard, there.” Doran slowly walked toward the ball while left-back Alex Verdugo sped off quickly, slipped to move it and launched it toward the playing court. The relay house wasn’t even close to catching “I hit him with the barrel, but at the same time I didn’t think it would go very far,” said Tapia, who soon realized that Duran had lost the ball.
Duran described the ball’s loss of sight as “the most desperate feeling you could ever feel”. He added, “I lost it at dusk. It happens.” [Verdugo] he was there. Obviously, I should have taken a step or two. He was already going to beat me to the ball. I just don’t want to get in his way. Next time, I know I have to take a step or two.”
Boston misfired on defense again in the fifth. After 15-3, Chapman raised a two-way pop-up on the field that fell between catcher Kevin Blawicki, saver Caleb Ort and third Raphael Devers for a base kick that allowed another cross. This provoked even more ridicule and contempt from the Boston fans who remained in their seats. Those who stayed tried to make the most of a sad night at the stadium.
Fans are still on their feet for Neil Diamond’s traditional Fenway signature of Sweet Caroline. However, on an evening as memorable as it was, it also ended with a few boos. The only cheer left? When hit rotation to end the game.
The modern MLB record for running in a game is 30, set by the Texas Rangers against the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. The record is 36 for the Chicago Colts against the Louisville Colonels in 1897.