September 10, 2016 4:56 pm

Upton’s home run helps Toronto Blue Jays beat Boston Red Sox 3-2 in crucial win

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. (7) is greeted at home plate by teammate Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) after Upton Jr's homer during second inning American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Saturday.

Peter Power / The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Melvin Upton Jr. hit a two-run home run to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Saturday in a crucial American League East matchup.

Jose Bautista added an RBI single for the Blue Jays (78-63), who snapped a four game losing skid.

The victory cuts Boston’s lead atop the AL East to just one game and also ended the Red Sox’s three game win streak.

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J.A. Happ (18-4) pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out five. Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna each had a scoreless inning of relief out of the bullpen. Osuna earned his 31st save of the season.

Shortstop Dustin Pedroia kept Boston (79-62) in the game with a solo home run. Jackie Bradley Jr., added an RBI with a sacrifice fly as the Red Sox lineup struggled to get to Happ.

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Eduardo Rodriguez (2-7) started for Boston, giving up three runs – two earned – on four hits and striking out five over six innings of work. Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly came out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Upton got the Blue Jays on the board first, crushing a pitch from Rodriguez to drive in Russell Martin for a 2-0 lead in the second inning. It was Upton’s 20th homer of the season.

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The home run makes it the fourth time in Upton’s career that he’s had 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He last reached the dual benchmark in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Bautista added to that lead with a single in the third inning to cash in Donaldson from third base. Donaldson had reached that base after Edwin Encarnacion’s hit bounced off Red Sox third baseman Aaron Hill and into the outfield in the previous at bat.

Martin made a daring play in the fifth inning, jumping into the Red Sox dugout trying to catch a foul ball from Hill. He didn’t make the play, but managed to slow his fall into the dugout by hanging on to the roof of the enclosure with one hand.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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