BOSTON — — Raimel Tapia ducked his head down and began 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 points in a game, moving past the Red Sox 28-5 on 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 Sánchez 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 Hernández added solo homers for Toronto, which surpassed its previous mark of 24 single-game runs set on June 26, 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 points 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 long – except for a marriage proposal on the video board with the home side trailing 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 AL’s final wildcard spot. The Blue Jays improved 7-3 against Boston this year.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi (4-3) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up a home run and loaded with nine runs.
It started a 29-hit night for Toronto — winners of four straight games — that featured nearly as many splurges by the Red Sox.
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 baseman coach Mark Budzinski) started saying, ‘You gotta run! You have to run!” Tapia said through an interpreter “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”.
“I just lost it in the twilight,” Duran said. “It happens. (Verdugo) was right there. Obviously 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. … The next times, I will 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 lackluster night at the ballpark.
Fans still rose to Neil Diamond’s traditional Fenway signature “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 on August 22, 2007. The all-time mark is 36 for the Chicago Colts against the Louisville Colonels in 1897.
Kevin Gausman (7-7) scatter seven hits and three runs in five innings for Toronto.
Blue Jays: Schneider said holding Springer was a caution and the center fielder, who missed the All-Star Game with the issue, could return this weekend.
Red Sox: Red Sox slugger JD Martinez was taken out late after suffering back spasms. Rob Refsnyder took his place in the DH roster and finished second. … LHP Chris Sale has been officially placed on the injured list with a broken left finger. RHP Brayan Bello was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and Sánchez was selected on the active roster.
It was the fourth career Grand Slam for Tapia, his most recent coming on May 4, 2021 against San Francisco. It was the Blue Jays’ fourth Grand Slam of the season.
Blue Jays: RHP Alek Manoah (10-4, 2.28 ERA) has faced Boston twice this season, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 13 strikeouts.
Red Sox: RHP Kutter Crawford (2-2, 4.50) has a 2.84 ERA in his last five outings.