TORONTO — This wasn’t the way the Blue Jays wanted to control Aaron Sanchez’s innings.
David Ortiz drilled a three-run homer, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hanley Ramirez also connected, and Boston outslugged Toronto 11-8 Sunday, reclaiming a two-game lead over the Blue Jays in the AL East.
Edwin Encarnacion homered twice and Troy Tulowitzki hit his third career grand slam, but the Blue Jays couldn’t force a tie in the standings. Toronto and Baltimore are tied for the lead in the wild-card race.
“It just didn’t go our way today,” Tulowitzki said. “There’s a lot of time left.”
Sanchez allowed six runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked four.
The right-hander said he struggled for most of the game with a blister on his middle finger, something that’s bothered him on and off this season.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” the 24-year-old Sanchez said. “I’ve got to find a way to get deep in the game. Today was ugly. Obviously (the blister) didn’t help.”
Manager John Gibbons said Sanchez likely will be skipped the next time through the rotation to let his finger heal and limit his workload in his first full season as a starter.
Sanchez has allowed three home runs in his past two starts after giving up one homer in his previous 50 innings.
“Sanchez wasn’t himself today,” Tulowitzki said. “But he’s still our guy.”
Ortiz put Boston up 10-8 with a drive off Joaquin Benoit. It was his 41st career home run at Rogers Centre, his highest total at any road stadium.
“Toronto is a very nice place to play baseball and a beautiful city,” Ortiz said. “It’s always a pleasure to come here.”
With his 535th homer, Ortiz moved past Jimmie Foxx into sole possession of 18th place on baseball’s career list. He also increased his RBI total to 110, the most by a player age 40 or above since Dave Winfield had 108 for Toronto in 1992.
“We’re somewhat in awe of what David is doing in his final run,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Starter Clay Buchholz said Ortiz is “having a hell of a going away party.”
Toronto finishes the regular season with three games at Fenway Park.
“Obviously we can’t sit back and relax,” Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “We know our division is good.”
Robbie Ross Jr. (3-2) got two outs for the win. Craig Kimbrel, the ninth Boston pitcher, worked the ninth for his 25th save.
Toronto also used nine pitchers.
Gibbons was ejected in the ninth after the umpires ruled Russell Martin’s double into the right field corner, initially ruled fair, had landed foul. Toronto challenged, but the call was confirmed. Martin later struck out.
Encarnacion hit a solo home run off Buchholz in the first, singled and scored in the third, and then hit a two-run shot off Heath Hembree in the fourth. It was his fourth multihomer game of the season and No. 25 for his career. Encarnacion has 39 home runs and leads the AL with 115 RBIs.
After Martin walked on four pitches with the bases loaded in the fourth, Tulowitzki hammered Buchholz’s first pitch for his 23rd home run.
Boston tied it at 6 and chased Sanchez on a two-run single by Bogaerts, but Toronto answered with Encarnacion’s second homer in the bottom half.
After Ramirez cut it to 8-7 with a drive to deep center in the fifth, Boston’s Brock Holt tried to steal home but was thrown out by reliever Aaron Loup.
TOUGH TIMES FOR MVP
Toronto’s Josh Donaldson is hitless in seven straight games, a career-long slump. He’s 0 for 23 in that span.
All three of Tulowitzki’s career grand slams have come in September.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (15-8, 3.87 ERA) seeks his seventh straight win as Boston returns home for a three-game series against Baltimore. LHP Wade Miley (8-12, 5.49 ERA) starts for the Orioles.
Blue Jays: LHP Francisco Liriano (7-12, 5.27 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Monday. Liriano last started Aug. 26 against Minnesota and has made two relief appearances since. RHP Jake Odorizzi (9-6, 3.86 ERA) starts for the Rays.