TORONTO – Matt Chapman provided a joyous ending to a crazy, crazy 10-game homestand for his Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Chapman’s double off the center field wall gave the Blue Jays a 3-2 victory to complete a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox (74-76).
The three wins came on the heels of a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers earlier in the week and a three-game sweep of Toronto (83-67) against the Kansas City Royals the weekend before.
“That’s how it’s been this whole year,” Chapman said. “A lot of ups and downs for us. Being swept away, then sweeping away someone.
“As valuable as all these wins are, it was nice that we were able to win that Texas series.”
With a dozen games remaining in the regular season, the Blue Jays have a wild-card berth in the American League after Cleveland swept the Rangers and the Seattle Mariners were swept in their three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Toronto has the second wild card spot, with Texas in third a half-game back. The Mariners are in fourth place, one game behind the Rangers and one and a half games behind the Blue Jays.
The no-nonsense Chapman was not immune to the recent rollercoaster ride. As he attempts to regain form after time on the disabled list due to a left middle finger problem, manager John Schneider sent Cavan Biggio to pinch hit in place of Chapman in the ninth inning on Saturday.
Biggio delivered with a single and ended up scoring the tying run.
“I’ve helped this team win a lot of games,” Chapman said. “I have no ego, so I agree with the decision.”
Chapman’s hit off reliever Garret Whitlock (5-5) gave the Blue Jays their sixth straight victory against Boston after losing the first seven games against their American League East rivals earlier in the season.
The game-winning hit scored Biggio, who reached base with a one-out single before 41,876 at Rogers Centre.
Rafael Devers tied the game in the top half of the ninth inning with a solo home run to left field off Erik Swanson (4-2).
“I love the fact that (Chapman) took the hit today,” Schneider said. “I think (Toronto pitcher) Chris Bassitt said it yesterday. We have the boys and he is one of them.
“So hopefully today will be a good stepping stone for him.”
The Blue Jays led 1-0 after the second inning and 2-0 after Daulton Varsho’s solo home run to right field with one out in the fifth.
Biggio arrived safely in the second inning with an infield hit up the middle with one out. He advanced to third base on Chapman’s double down the left field line and scored on Kevin Kiermaier’s sacrifice fly to left field.
Being trending now
Canadian starter Nick Pivetta was on the hook in both runs. But the Victoria right-hander lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing just four hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
In the span between Chapman’s double and Varsho’s home run, Pivetta, 30, did not allow a hit and retired nine of 10 Blue Jays.
Toronto left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing six hits with two strikeouts and a pair of walks in 83 pitches.
He proved to be masterful at escaping traffic jams. In the second and third innings, the Red Sox had runners on second and third with no outs, but Ryu recovered for three consecutive outs both times.
He also left a Red Sox runner on third base in the fourth with an inning-ending double play.
Boston left 12 runners on base and went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
Pablo Reyes scored Boston’s first run with two outs in the seventh. Toronto reliever Genesis Cabrera had control issues, walked Rob Refsnyder and hit Devers.
Refsnyder scored on Reyes’ single to center.
The Blue Jays have Monday off before beginning a six-game road trip. Toronto opens with a three-game series against the New York Yankees and concludes against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (9-6) will face Yankees right-hander Clarke Schmidt (9-8) in the series opener on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 17, 2023.
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