Verdugo sparks Red Sox rally in 10th to clip Guardians
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox could easily have figured it just wasn’t their day after blowing a late lead and falling behind in extra innings.
They quickly turned it into one of their best victories so far this season.
Alex Verdugo drove in the winning run to cap a two-run 10th inning for the Red Sox, who rallied for an 8-7 victory Saturday over the Cleveland Guardians despite giving up the lead an inning earlier.
“Obviously, it wasn’t easy, but we kept grinding,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
Rafael Devers had a long first-inning, three-run homer, and it seemed the Red Sox were in line for the victory before the Guardians scored four runs in the seventh and tied it on José Ramírez’s RBI single off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth.
Connor Wong had three singles for the Red Sox, who rebounded after losing the series opener for their fifth win in nine games.
Josh Naylor had a three-run double, and Josh Bell and Andrés Giménez both hit a solo homer for the Guardians. Cleveland has lost five of its last eight.
Myles Straw and Steven Kwan opened the ninth with singles before Ramírez lined one to center off Jansen. It was Jansen’s first blown save and run allowed this season.
Mike Zunino singled home placement runner Gabriel Arias in the 10th against Brennan Bernardino before Christian Arroyo’s leadoff single tied it in the bottom half against Cleveland’s tough closer Emmanuel Clase (1-2).
“A day like this is awesome,” Arroyo said. “There’s not many words you can use to describe it. From the top to the bottom, everyone contributed. To come out with a ‘W’ against a guy like Clase in the bottom of the 10th, that’s huge.”
After Arroyo was sacrificed to second and advanced on Zunino’s passed ball, Verdugo drove his single past a diving Amed Rosario at short.
“They put together some pretty good at-bats,” Straw said. “You tip your cap to them.”
Bernardino (1-0) earned his first major league victory.
Devers hooked a slider from Zach Plesac deep around the Pesky Pole that traveled an estimated 411 feet with an exit velocity of 114.1 mph for his 10th of the season.
Working on six days rest in chilly conditions with scattered showers or light drizzle at times, Plesac gave up five runs, eight hits and was chased in the fourth inning.
“They bailed me out today, for sure. Shout out for everybody,” Plesac said. “Tough way to end it, but we’re going to keep grinding. I’m going to go ahead to take this week, and hopefully come back for these boys. They picked me up so I’m going to go ahead and pick them up.”
Devers also had a couple of nice plays at third against Oscar Gonzalez, barehanding a slower roller before throwing to first for an out and lunging to his right to snag a hard liner.
Recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Friday, Boston starter Brayan Bello had trouble with the nail on his index finger twice and a blister. He gave up a run, five hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
TAKE A SEAT
Cora gave struggling first baseman Triston Casas the day off and may keep him out of the lineup Sunday, too.
“It’s a good day just to watch and just detach himself from the whole thing and just see the game from a different angle,” Cora said.
Casas is batting only .133 in 75 at-bats.
In Plesac’s previous start in Fenway Park, on July 25, 2022, it was delayed by rain and he fired the ball completely out of the park over the third-base stands when he was walking off after the umpires called for the tarp.
Guardians: Right-hander Triston McKenzie (shoulder strain, 60-day injured list) threw a bullpen session on Saturday. He said he “felt good … didn’t feel any restrictions out there.” Manager Terry Francona said of McKenzie: “He did good. … He’s pushing, pushing, pushing but listening to what they say.” … LHP Sam Hentges (left shoulder inflammation) will make his third rehab appearance on Sunday. Francona said he could join the team Monday and be activated Tuesday.
Red Sox: Cora said there’s “a chance” righty reliever Chris Martin (15-day IL, right shoulder inflammation) could be activated Sunday. … A trainer visited Jansen on the mound in the ninth. Cora said he had back spasms he felt running before the game.
Guardians: LHP Logan Allen (1-0, 1.50 ERA) is slated to start the series finale on Sunday afternoon, weather permitting. Steady rain is in the forecast for most of the day.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (1-2, 8.22) looks to rebound from a rough start. He gave up five runs in five innings at Baltimore on Monday.