Boston Red Sox

BOSTON – The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-2. The Yankees lost to Cleveland 5-2.

It would be hard to think of a better way to wrap up the unofficial first half of the 2018 season.

With the win, the Sox cruised into the All-Star break with an MLB-best 68-30 record. It marks the first time since 2007 that the Red Sox have entered the break with the best record in baseball. They became the first Red Sox team to reach 38 games over .500 since 1949.

With New York’s loss, Boston now leads the American League East by 4 1/2 games, their largest lead of the season.

The Sox never trailed on Sunday. Xander Bogaerts opened the scoring with a home run in the first, his 16th of the season. The shortstop is well on his way to surpassing his career-high for home runs, set in 2015 when he hit 21.

Lefty Brian Johnson turned in an unspectacular but competitive start, tossing 4 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and two runs. He struck out five. Command was an issue at times for Johnson, who issued four walks in the no decision.

Johnson, who missed his last start on the DL with a sore hip, has not reached five innings in an outing since returning to the rotation in the absence of Stephen Wright and Drew Pomeranz. However, the lefty has not allowed more than two runs in any of his three starts dating back to June 28.

The Red Sox bullpen combined for 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Craig Kimbrel notched his 30th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman gave up four runs, three earned, in five innings of work. He allowed five hits, struck out four, and walked one. The righty dropped to 2-7 on the year with the loss.

With the win, the Red Sox took the weekend series and moved to 10-3 against Toronto in 2018, clinching the season series.

How it happened:

Bogaerts followed up Saturday’s walk-off grand slam with a solo home run in the first. J.D. Martinez walked and came around to score on an RBI single by Brock Holt.

Toronto tied the game up in the third on a two-run homer by Teoscar Hernandez.

Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled off the center field wall, scoring Sandy Leon to break the 2-2 tie in the fifth inning. Bradley scored on a Bogaerts groundout.

The Sox added another run in the sixth on another RBI single from Holt.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases down 5-2 in the eighth, but Heath Hembree was able to get out of the jam by striking out Dwight Smith Jr. on three pitches, all breaking balls.

Up next:

The Sox return from the All-Star break on Friday in Detroit. David Price (10-6, 4.46 ERA) will take the ball against Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd (4-8, 4.76 ERA).