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A power surge goes through the Jays, followed by the Red Sox

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Toronto Blue JaysJune 16, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Daulton Varsho, 25, is greeted at home plate by teammates after hitting a grand slam home run against the Cleveland Guardians in the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays will look to pull off a rare surge Monday night in the opener of a three-game series with the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Toronto used a grand slam from Daulton Varsho and a two-run blast from Ernie Clement to beat the Cleveland Guardians 7-6 on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series.

The Blue Jays will complete a six-game homestand with their series against the Red Sox, who set a franchise record with nine stolen bases in a 9-3 thrashing of the Yankees on Sunday night. Boston has won two of three games against New York and has won seven of its past eleven games.

David Hamilton had four of the nine steals for the Red Sox, and he also had two hits, three runs and an RBI.

“(Hamilton) kind of carried the load there,” said Boston left fielder Jarren Duran, who went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases. “It just shows that if we can run the bases the way we can, it does a lot for the team and really puts us in a good spot.”

Ceddanne Rafaela went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one steal and is 11-for-19 (.579) during a five-game hitting streak.

“Like I always say, we’re going to compete, we’re going to make mistakes and we’re going to win games,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “But that was good baseball (Sunday). Expect that from us. We’re going to push the boundaries. We’ve got some athletes, and it just happens that all three of them get on base.”

Perhaps Toronto could take a page out of Boston’s book, as the Blue Jays couldn’t rely on the long ball to generate offense. They have 58 home runs this year, tied with the Washington Nationals for third in the majors.

Toronto manager John Schneider hopes Sunday’s grand slam gets Varsho and the entire offense going.

“I think I hit him everywhere in the lineup, which is not ideal,” Schneider said of Varsho. “We joke about that almost every day, he and I. That is of course a huge swing. Varsho is getting better insight into where he can handle the ball.”

Still, Toronto knows it has to get creative if it wants to challenge opposing pitching staffs.

“We can obviously hit the long ball, but we also have to play small ball sometimes,” Varsho said. “That’s what helps us win a lot of ball games. Isiah Kiner-Falefa does a really good job – I think better than anyone else on our team – because he can play small balls and move runners.”

Right-hander Nick Pivetta (3-4, 3.88 ERA) will try to contain the Blue Jays’ lineup on Monday.

Pivetta faced the Philadelphia Phillies in his last start and gave up four runs and six hits in four innings on Wednesday. He had no influence on the decision.

In 15 career appearances (13 starts) against Toronto, Pivetta is 2-4 with a 5.35 ERA.

The Blue Jays counter with left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (4-5, 3.26).

Kikuchi came away with a win against the Milwaukee Brewers last Tuesday, giving up three hits in five scoreless innings. He is 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA in seven appearances (five starts) vs. Boston.

–Field-level media