TORONTO – Jacob Waguespack didn’t have time to rethink his game plan after the Blue Jays decided to shake things up an hour before first pitch.
In an effort to take some pressure off the rookie right-hander, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo and pitching coach Pete Walker made a late choice to use veteran reliever David Phelps as Wednesday’s opener before bringing Waguespack in in the second inning.
The change didn’t seem to affect Waguespack, who threw five solid innings in a 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox, earning his first major league victory in the process.
“The consensus was that I was going to start and then they just decided right before the game,” Waguespack said.
“It didn’t affect me at all. I was still going to do my routine. Pete was pretty good about telling me, ‘You know just go out there a few minutes before the game starts and go about your business, play catch and get on the mound like a regular start.'”
Phelps tossed a scoreless frame before Waguespack (1-0), recalled from triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day, allowed three runs and six hits with four strikeouts. He left the game after giving up a lead-off single to Christian Vazquez in the seventh.
Montoyo said the late switch was an idea the team had been toying with.
“We had an idea that we might do it so we knew about it,” he said. “So right after (batting practice) Pete brought it up to me and I said, ‘yeah let’s do it, why not?’ and I let (Red Sox manager) Alex Cora know that we were going to do it.
“It’s always good for a young guy like Waguespack to face Mookie Betts and the top of the lineup two times instead of three times.”
Brandon Drury, who has struggled for most of the season, broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run shot in the sixth inning, a laser to straightaway centre field that knocked Red Sox starter Chris Sale out of the game.
Danny Jansen also hit a two-run blast — his fourth in six games — and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. continued his own torrid pace with a solo homer for the Blue Jays (33-54).
Freddy Galvis reached base four times with three hits and a walk and hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Drury also had a single and a double, tying a season-high with three hits for a third time.
“Just get into a good position to hit, get a good pitch to hit and hit the ball hard,” Drury said of his approach at the plate. “I try to keep it as simple as I can.”
Sale (3-8) lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits — including all three homers — with two walks and five strikeouts.
Sale came into the game with a 2.81 career ERA against the Blue Jays, the second lowest among active pitchers behind teammate David Price (2.37), who won the series opener on Tuesday. But the hard-throwing left-hander hasn’t fared well against Toronto this year, pitching to an 7.98 ERA over his three starts.
“I’m 3-8, that’s absolutely embarrassing,” Sale said. “That’s not what I need to be and that’s not who I need to be for this team. On a team like this, they need me to be better and I haven’t been there for them.
“I’m standing before you as frustrated as I’ve ever been.”
Vazquez homered for a third straight game and Rafael Devers drove in a pair of runs for the Red Sox (45-41).
Gurriel, whose third-inning homer gave Toronto its first run, has at least a hit in 10 of his last 11 games and leads the American League in home runs (15) since being recalled from triple-A on May 24.
Jansen’s two-run shot off Sale tied the game in the bottom of the inning.
“It’s awesome to see Brandon Drury having a good game and Danny Jansen having a good game,” Montoyo said. “So now it seems like everybody in the lineup is having a good approach at the plate.
“That’s why we’re scoring so many runs now.”
NOTES: Right-hander Sean Reid-Foley was sent down to triple-A to make room for Waguespack on the roster. … Attendance was 16,883. … The Blue Jays conclude the three-game home series Thursday. Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start for Toronto despite leaving his last outing with an injury.