BOSTON – The grand slam was nice.
What Red Sox rookie Michael Chavis really wanted to talk about was his batting eye against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.
“Personally, weirdly, I was more excited about the two walks,” he said after Boston beat the Blue Jays 10-8 in the series opener. “I mean, I know I have power. I know I can hit. But growing and becoming a better hitter is what I’m trying to do. So that’s a good sign.”
Chavis hit his first career grand slam — and, yes, walked twice — Xander Bogaerts had three hits and Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs as Boston batted around twice in the first three innings, scoring five runs each time.
Rick Porcello (7-7) gave four runs back through three before settling in, allowing eight hits in all while striking out two in six innings.
“It didn’t look pretty in the beginning,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “But after that, he figured some things out.”
The Blue Jays scored four in the eighth against Ryan Brasier and brought the tying run to the plate before Matt Barnes got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on a fly ball to centre to end the inning. Brandon Workman pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Boston batted around for five runs in the first inning against starter Trent Thornton (3-7) and then sent 10 batters to the plate in the third, scoring five more.
Four of the first five batters reached safely against Thornton before Chavis hit a 3-2 pitch 421 feet over the Green Monster in left-centre to make it 5-0. It was his 16th homer.
Toronto scored two in the second on Billy McKinney’s homer and two more in the third to make it a one-run game. But Rafael Devers hit a two-run single, Bogaerts added an RBI base hit and Benintendi drove them both in with a double off the Monster down the line.
Thornton, who threw six shutout innings in his previous start, allowed five runs on five hits and three walks while getting just four outs for Toronto, which has lost six of eight.
After Brasier got Randal Grichuk to ground out to start the eighth, Justin Smoak hit a ground-rule double over the Toronto bullpen, Danny Jansen singled in one run and McKinney singled him to third. Brandon Drury hit a sacrifice fly, and then Eric Sogard had his third hit of the game, a bunt single.
Devers tried to catch McKinney rounding second, but hit the runner in the spikes, and the ball rolled into centre field. Matt Barnes relieved Brasier and gave up an RBI single to Freddy Galvis that made it 10-8 before Gurriel flied out to end the inning.
Devers had another error at third base, on Drury’s grounder in the second, throwing the ball over the first baseman’s head and into the dugout. But he made up for it in the fifth, when he slid to stop Gurriel’s sharp grounder with his backhand and the ball popped into the air.
He waited for it to come down, barehanded it and threw to first just in time to get the runner.
“It was just a reaction,” Devers said through a translator. “Obviously I’m not going to say that’s what I planned on doing. I wasn’t trying to be flashy or anything.”
Thornton was facing the Red Sox for the third time this season. The rookie limited Boston to two runs in 6 1/3 innings on June 21, then gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 on July 2.
“My first outing against them was good. The last two were a completely different story,” he said. “Good lineups like this, they do their homework.”
Blue Jays: 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got the night off to rest.
Red Sox: Cora said 1B Mitch Moreland “swung the bat really well” in a simulated game against Nate Eovaldi. Moreland will face Brian Johnson in a simulated game Thursday and could be activated by the weekend series against Baltimore. … Eovaldi is expected to go on a rehab assignment Wednesday or Thursday.
Blue Jays: Manager Charlie Montoyo said righty Jacob Waguespack will be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to start in Game 2 of the four-game series Tuesday. First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
Red Sox: RHP Andrew Cashner (9-3) will make his first start for Boston since he was acquired Saturday from the last-place Baltimore Orioles.
“This is the World Series champs. It’s a chance to help these guys get to where they want to go,” he said before the game. “I’m definitely looking forward to the race. It’s something I haven’t been in, really.”