The Toronto Blue Jays ended the visiting Boston Red Sox's seven-game winning streak on Monday and will try to build a streak of their own as the three-game series continues on Tuesday.
Behind seven scoreless innings from right-hander Kevin Gausman, who matched his season best with 10 strikeouts,the Blue Jays defeated the Red Sox 7-2.
Boston fell to 19-5 in June.
The Red Sox were beginning a stretch in which 20 of 23 games will be against American League East opponents. They are 7-15 within the division, including 2-6 against the Blue Jays.
"Every team in this division can pitch, every team in this division can hit the ball out of the park," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "It's going to be a grind. We're going to be banging heads for the rest of the season."
"It's always a dogfight in this division," said Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Monday.
The Blue Jays prevailed in the opener of an eight-game homestand, having returned from a disappointing 2-4 road trip against the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers.
In their losses to the Brewers on Saturday and Sunday, the Blue Jays' starting pitchers did not get out of the third inning. Gausman reversed that trend on Monday.
"That was huge," Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. "Seven innings. That is what we needed, and he gave us that. Our bullpen has thrown a lot and even more lately, so we needed some kind of start like that.
"That was the Gausman that we saw at the beginning (of the season). He's been good, but today he was impressive, back to that guy we saw the first couple of months."
It was Gausman's first winning decision since May 31. In three starts against Boston this season, he has allowed two runs (one earned) over 21 innings (0.43 ERA) with two walks and 27 strikeouts.
Right-hander Ross Stripling (4-2, 3.08 ERA) will get the start for Toronto on Tuesday. Right-hander Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.34) will start for Boston.
Stripling allowed one run in five innings against the Red Sox and did not factor in the decision on April 27. He is 2-3 with a 6.62 ERA in seven career starts against Boston.
Wacha earned a win on April 27 when he held the Blue Jays to four hits and one run in six innings. He is 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA in five career outings (four starts) against Toronto.
Before Monday's game, the Blue Jays promoted right-hander Shaun Anderson and optioned right-hander Jeremy Beasley to Triple-A Buffalo. Anderson allowed four hits and two runs to Boston in the ninth inning Monday night.
The Red Sox are at a disadvantage for the series. They put right-hander Tanner Houck and outfielder Jarren Duran on the restricted list on Monday because they did not meet Canadian COVID-19 requirements.
To fill the roster spots, Boston promoted right-hander Connor Seabold and infielder Yolmer Sanchez from Triple-A Worcester. Seabold made the start on Monday and allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. It was his second career major league appearance and the first this season.
Boston's Alex Verdugo went 2-for-4 on Monday to extend his hitting streak to eight games, during which he is 12-for-30 (.400).
--Field Level Media