By IAN HARRISON Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) _ Mitch Moreland had a pinch-hit homer and drove in four runs, Hanley Ramirez added a solo blast and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.
Rick Porcello allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings as the AL East-leading Red Sox moved 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place New York Yankees, who were swept in a doubleheader by Cleveland. New York and Boston begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
Ramirez connected for the second straight game as the Red Sox improved to 8-1 in Toronto this season. Boston is 10-3 overall against the Blue Jays with six meetings remaining at Fenway Park in September.
Pinch-hitting for Chris Young against right-hander Tom Koehler (1-7), Moreland hit a second deck drive in the seventh, his 18th. It was the third pinch-hit homer of Moreland’s career.
Ramirez also reached the second deck with his homer, a leadoff shot off J.A. Happ in the fifth.
The homers helped Porcello (9-15) finish August at 5-1 with an ERA of 4.04.
Porcello left with runners at first and second but Robbie Scott came on and got Ezequiel Carrera to fly out. Joe Kelly pitched the final two innings.
Boston widened its lead with a four-run, bat-around eighth. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts hit back-to-back RBI doubles off Tim Mayza. After a double steal, Moreland hit a two-run single off Aaron Loup.
Toronto’s only run came on a homer by Raffy Lopez in the third. The last-place Blue Jays lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. Price had not thrown off a mound since July 22 against the Angels, when he allowed six runs in five innings. … 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee) ran the bases for a second straight day and remains on track to return during Boston’s upcoming series with the Yankees. … 3B Josh Rutledge had surgery on his left hip Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the season.
Blue Jays: 1B Justin Smoak (sore calf) was held out of the starting lineup, just the second time this season he has not played. … 3B Josh Donaldson got the day off. … 2B Devon Travis (right knee) suffered a setback in his rehab, decreasing the likelihood of a return this season. Travis has not played since June 4. … SS Troy Tulowitzki said he has a “difficult rehab” ahead this winter as he recovers from torn ligaments in his right ankle. Tulowitzki will not return this season.
Red Sox: RHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 4.19) starts Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees. Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in eight career starts against New York. LHP CC Sabathia (10-5, 3.82) starts for the Yankees.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (6-8, 5.04) starts Thursday as Toronto begins a four-game series in Baltimore. Estrada is 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA in three starts against the Orioles. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (8-7, 4.88) starts for Baltimore.
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