Blue Jays strike back to beat Red Sox

BOSTON—At the height of the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, facing either American League powerhouse after they’d just played a hard-fought series against each other could be a blessing in disguise.“There was a few times you’d play ’em right after they played each other,” manager John Gibbons reminisced Monday before his Blue Jays took on the American League East-leading Red Sox. “It was always a good time to play them because they were beat to death. Bullpens were beat to crap.”Fenway Park hosted another duel between the old foes over the weekend, including a 16-inning marathon on Saturday before a Sunday doubleheader. Boston and New York split the series, but the real winners may have been the Blue Jays, who beat an overworked Red Sox team 4-3 in the opener of a four-game set.Blue Jays left fielder Steve Pearce was the man of the hour, launching a solo homer over the Green Monster in the second inning for a 3-0 lead before cashing in Ezequiel Carrera with a decisive RBI single in the eighth, stopping the home team’s comeback in its tracks.“He’s been playing great. We got him for a reason,” Gibbons said of the left fielder, batting .361 since returning from injury in mid-June.Article Continued BelowHaving started the day nine games back, the Jays will take all the help they can get.Toronto put a pair of runs on the board before Boston’s first at-bat, with a double off the right-field wall by Kendrys Morales scoring Russell Martin and Justin Smoak.Pearce’s leadoff homer in the second gave starter Marcus Stroman some breathing room, and he racked up six shutout innings before the Red Sox got to him for three runs in the seventh.