The Boston Red Sox will look to go back-to-back in the win column for the first time since July 9-10 as their four-game home series against the Cleveland Guardians continues on Tuesday night.
A loss on Monday would have sent the Red Sox into their longest losing streak of the season, but Boston’s five-game skid was snapped thanks to a pair of sixth-inning runs in a 3-1 win over Cleveland.
It was Boston’s first win when scoring three or fewer runs since June 12 and the Red Sox’s fourth victory in as many games against the Guardians this season.
“We grinded it out,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “At the plate it wasn’t perfect, but when you get into stretches like this, you give yourself a chance by playing defense.”
Cora credited right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and catcher Christian Vazquez for strong play in the field. Bradley doubled and scored a run as he extended his hitting streak to five games.
Alex Verdugo hit an RBI double off the Green Monster to give Boston a one-run lead in the sixth and the eventual win. He is 5-for-15 with two RBIs in four games since the All-Star break.
“Just being in a close game, it felt good to get those two runs and get the lead, finally, late in the ballgame,” Verdugo told NESN postgame. “We’re excited. It’s been awhile.”
After being on the COVID-related injured list on July 14, Josh Winckowski (3-4, 4.38 ERA) is slated to make the start for Boston on Tuesday. The rookie is set for his eighth start of the season.
Cora said Winckowski hadn’t cleared MLB’s COVID protocol before Monday.
The right-hander lost three straight starts before going on the injured list. He will look for his first win since June 25 in Cleveland, where he threw 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball in his lone career appearance against the Guardians.
Cleveland had won five straight before losing the final two to split a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox last weekend. The Guardians have just eight runs over their past three games after a 25-run stretch over the previous three.
The series opener saw the Guardians go 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and squander a decent effort from starter Zach Plesac, who gave up three runs on three hits in five-plus innings.
“It was kind of an odd night,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He didn’t give up many hits; there was some traffic. … I thought he competed like crazy.”
Jose Ramirez continues to be a key cog in the Cleveland lineup as he went 2-for-4 and collected his 11th RBI in the past seven games. He has 79 RBIs for the season, second in the American League to the 81 of the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge.
While Winckowski recently was penciled back into his spot in the rotation, Cleveland’s scheduled starting pitcher for Tuesday was unknown as of Tuesday morning.
Bryan Shaw could be used to open a bullpen game as Aaron Civale — a product of Boston’s Northeastern University — will be sidelined until next month with a sore wrist.
Shaw (4-2, 5.29 ERA) has never started a game in 12 major league seasons and 732 appearances. His longest outing this year was a scoreless two-inning stint against the Detroit Tigers on July 15. Shaw gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings during a loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
–Field Level Media