Rookie Jarren Duran hits first career homer as Red Sox explode for eight-run first inning

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The Boston Red Sox greeted the Toronto Blue Jays with an offensive onslaught to start the game and it was over before it really even got going. It was 8-0 after the first inning and 11-0 through two innings. Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling allowed six runs while managing to record just one out. The final score ended up being 13-4, but all we really needed to know happened early. 

Enrique Hernandez got things started with a double and then rookie Jarren Duran went yard: 

This was just the third career MLB game for the 24-year-old Duran. Following the 2020 season, CBS Sports prospect guru R.J. Anderson wrote the following about Duran:

“Duran appeared to be a candidate all year to make his big-league debut, but the call never came — not even after Boston shipped veteran Kevin Pillar to the Rockies at the trade deadline. The Red Sox instead left Duran at the alternate site to work on his game. That was probably the right call. He has well-above-average speed and he had produced good results with a groundball-happy approach in the lower minors. The only thing he hit in Double-A was a wall, however, and it’s unlikely that he would’ve fared well against big-league pitching. Another season in the minors, with another reworked swing, should leave him ready for the Show.” 

In 46 games before his call to the majors, Duran made great strides at the plate, hitting .270/.365/.561 with 15 homers and 12 steals. It’s possible the Red Sox sit him some against lefties, but he’ll get the majority of the starts in center field moving forward so long as he produces. 

Also notable in that first two innings explosion: 

  • Hernandez homered in the first inning, too, so he collected six total bases while scoring twice and driving home two runs in one inning. 
  • Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam. 

The Red Sox entered Monday with just a half-game lead in the AL East, but the Rays lost, so the lead now moves back to 1 1/2 games while the third-place Blue Jays fall to seven back. The Yankees, in fourth, are now 7 1/2 out. 

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