Everyone knew the Boston Red Sox were capable of this. Whether it’s a case of “too little, too late” remains to be seen.
The Red Sox and their beat-up pitching staff earned a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday to take two of three in a pivotal series at Progressive Field. Xander Bogaerts homered twice, Rafael Devers continued mashing and seven pitchers combined to shut down the Tribe.
It was far from an easy victory, though. The Red Sox defense committed two errors and the team’s much-maligned bullpen had to nurse a 2-1 lead until Bogaerts hit a three-run homer in the seventh. Boston also had to deal with young Indians ace Shane Bieber, who was impressive over six innings.
The Red Sox improved to 64-59 with the win while the Indians dropped to 72-49 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
Raise your hand if you thought the 2019 Red Sox were capable of winning a “bullpen game.”
ON THE BUMP
— Brian Johnson served as the “opener” and was serviceable.
The lefty pitched two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third frame, in which he gave up a run before exiting with two outs and men on second and third. Overall, Johnson allowed one run on two hits and two walks over 2 2/3 innings.
— Marcus Walden forced Franmil Reyes to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
— Darwinzon Hernandez worked around a hit batter to pitch a scoreless fourth inning. The young lefty got the first two outs of the fifth but was pulled after allowing a single and issuing a walk.
— Josh Taylor retired Jose Ramirez to end the inning.
— Nathan Eovaldi pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. The hard-throwing right-hander looked strong, striking out two batters and forcing mostly weak contact.
— One day after earning the first save of his career, Andrew Cashner pitched another scoreless inning of relief. The right-hander allowed no baserunners and struck out one batter.
— Brandon Workman pitched a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox got strong performances up and down their lineup (12 hits), but this game was all about Bogaerts and Devers.
— The young stars hit back-to-back homers in the third to give Johnson a 2-0 lead. Bogaerts’ blast was the 100th of his career, while Devers’ home run gave him hits in eight consecutive at-bats, a streak that ended during his next plate appearance. The Major League Baseball record for most hits in a row by a single player is 12, achieved by Pinky Higgins of the Red Sox (1938) and Walt Dropo of the Detroit Tigers (1952).
— Bieber kept the Boston bats quiet through his final three innings, but the offense broke through in the seventh when right-hander Nick Goody entered the game.
After Goody gave up a one-out double to Mookie Betts, the Indians elected to intentionally walk Devers (understandable), setting the stage for Bogaerts’ second blast of the game.
— Bogaerts (3-for-4, one walk) now is hitting .307 with 27 home runs and 95 RBIs. Devers, who finished 2-for-4 with a walk, has 25 homers to go along with 94 RBIs.
— Betts, Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez finished with a hit apiece. Andrew Benintendi and Christian Vazquez each had two hits.
— Bradley and J.D. Martinez both finished hitless.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Just how they drew it up.
The Red Sox will get a much-needed day off Thursday before opening a three-game series in Boston against the Orioles. First pitch Friday night at Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.