Red Sox host Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

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Red Sox host Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

After staving off a three-game sweep by the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox get little reprieve as they welcome Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays for a four-game set starting Friday.

The Blue Jays have lost two straight series, though Guerrero is hitting a scorching .370 (10-for-27) through his first eight games this month. The 22-year-old is tied for the major league lead in home runs (18) and RBIs (48).

Guerrero couldn’t lead Toronto to victory Thursday night, when the team fell 5-2 to the Chicago White Sox on the road.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, rode the momentum of a series of wacky events during a five-run sixth inning to beat the Astros 12-8. Boston improved to 2-2 on its homestand.

Right-hander Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.88 ERA) will take the mound for the hosts Friday having allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his past eight starts. Righty Ross Stripling (2-3, 4.71) will pitch for the Blue Jays, sporting a 1.06 ERA over his past three outings.

The series marks the third time the American League East rivals have squared off this season. The Red Sox lead 3-2 after taking two of three on the road from the Blue Jays last month.

In the middle game of that set, Boston won 7-3 in a contest in which Richards and Stripling faced off. Richards gave up just two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings to earn the win, while Stripling was roughed up for six runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Since then, Stripling has been lights out. He allowed one run on seven hits over five innings in a victory over Houston last time out.

Stripling is 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA in four career starts against the Red Sox.

Despite his steady performance of late, Richards is 0-2 since beating the Blue Jays on May 19. He took a no-decision after holding the New York Yankees to three runs on eight hits in five innings Sunday.

Richards is 3-5 with a 5.10 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) lifetime vs. Toronto.

Boston’s rally on Thursday featured a dropped-ball error, a suspect infield-fly-rule call, a fan running on the field and a go-ahead, bases-loaded hit by pitch, among other quirks. After the game, manager Alex Cora praised the involvement of the crowd along the way.

“The fans were into it,” he said. “For as much as baseball purists like a 2-1 game, the fans like 12-8, going at it, back-and-forth. To manage those games is not fun, but I understand how people like it.”

The Blue Jays’ loss to the White Sox was more timid, as Chicago scored all the runs it needed (three) in the first inning. Toronto was held to eight hits — all singles — on the night.

The White Sox took the series two games to one.

“We have one of the best offenses in baseball,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “This whole series we’ve got to give credit to their pitching. They did a good job. We were facing good pitching, and that’s what happens when you face good pitching.”

The Blue Jays received positive news on the injury front, as outfielder George Springer (quad) ran the bases Thursday and is close to going out on rehab, according to Montoyo.

Montoyo added there is a “good chance” third baseman Cavan Biggio (spine) will rejoin the club Friday.

–Field Level Media

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