TORONTO (AP) — In a lineup loaded with sluggers, Brock Holt is showing he’s not to be taken lightly.
Holt hit his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs, David Ortiz had two RBIs and the Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the Blue Jays 8-7 Friday night, spoiling Toronto’s home opener.
“Tonight was a big win for us,” Holt said. “It showed a lot.”
The grand slam was the second home run of the season for Holt, who hit two in 129 games last year. His career high is four, set in 2014.
Holt also had a two-run blast in Wednesday’s 7-6 loss at Cleveland and connected in consecutive games for the first time.
“He’s on pace for about 60 homers right now, maybe more than that,” teammate Travis Shaw joked. “He’s got a little bit more juice than people think.”
Josh Donaldson hit a grand slam, but the Blue Jays couldn’t hold a 7-2 lead and blew a save for the third straight game.
Manager John Gibbons insisted he wasn’t worried about the bullpen’s rocky record so far.
“We really anticipate that’s going to be one of our strengths,” Gibbons said. “It just hasn’t happened yet.”
Matt Barnes (1-0) pitched one perfect inning and Craig Kimbrel got his first save.
Boston has scored six or more runs in each of its first three games, the first time it has done so since 1995.
“We’re swinging the bat very well,” Farrell said. “There’s a lot of fight in this team.”
Toronto’s Marcus Stroman left after Xander Bogaerts’ double and walks to Ortiz and Travis Shaw loaded the bases in the sixth. Jesse Chavez came on to face Holt, who hooked the second pitch over the wall in the right field corner.
Holt wasn’t sure he’d done enough to clear the fence but figured he’d get at least a double.
“When it disappeared behind the wall, it was a good feeling,” he said.
Holt also hit an RBI double in the second.
After Dustin Pedroia and Bogaerts hit back-to-back singles off Drew Storen (0-1) in the seventh, Brett Cecil came on and gave up a tying single to Ortiz, then a go-ahead single to Hanley Ramirez.
Toronto chased Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly with a six-run fourth, an inning that began with four straight singles. The next batter, Kevin Pillar, plated a run when he was hit on the brim of his helmet. Pillar was knocked down but immediately jumped up and remained in the game.
“I heard it but I didn’t really feel much,” Pillar said. “I got pretty lucky.”
Donaldson drilled Kelly’s next pitch into the left field bullpen for his third home run and second career grand slam, the first ever by a Blue Jays batter in 40 Toronto home openers.
Donaldson started as the designated hitter after leaving with a strained right calf in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 5-3 loss at Tampa Bay. Darwin Barney was at third base.
ONE SLAM PER SIDE
The last time the Red Sox and their opponent both hit grand slam home runs in the same game was June 26, 2001 against Tampa Bay. Trot Nixon did it for Boston and slugger Greg Vaughn connected for the Devil Rays, but the Red Sox won 7-6.
Blue Jays C Russell Martin took over at third base in the ninth after Barney was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth. Bogaerts grounded to third on the first pitch of the inning and Martin threw him out.
Red Sox: Farrell confirmed that LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee) will throw a simulated game Sunday, his first since suffering the injury during a spring training fielding drill.
Blue Jays: LHP Franklin Morales felt weakness in his shoulder while warming up in the sixth and was unable to come into the game. Morales will be re-evaluated Saturday. … RHP Marco Estrada (back) is expected to come off the disabled list to start Sunday’s series finale.
Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello makes his season debut against Blue Jays RHP R.A. Dickey (1-0, 5.40) on Saturday. Porcello had a 6.45 ERA in four starts against Toronto in 2015 and has a 5.29 ERA against the Blue Jays in 12 career games. Dickey was winless in six starts against the Red Sox in 2015.
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