Red Sox Top Guardians 7-1 Behind Wong, Verdugo Home Runs
Connor Wong hit a two-run homer, Alex Verdugo singled home a pair of runs and added a late solo homer and the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Guardians 7-1 on a cold and rainy Sunday at Fenway Park.
Chris Sale (2-2) struck out five, holding the Guardians to three hits over 6 1/3 innings. Boston took two of three from Cleveland in the three-game series and climbed one game above .500 at 15-14.
“Today was a good day, but it takes the whole squad to get there,” Sale said.
Christian Arroyo added a two-run double during a three-run seventh inning that sealed it for the Red Sox, who overcame a strong start by rookie Logan Allen (1-1) and piled on late runs against Cleveland relievers.
Amed Rosario drove in Cleveland’s only run with a single in the sixth inning, one of just four hits for the Guardians.
There was some question whether the game would happen, as clouds dipped low enough to conceal the Boston skyline and the game-time temperature was just 51 degrees. The light rain was enough to keep a few hard-hit balls inside Fenway Park, but not the towering blast by Wong that cleared the Green Monster and put Boston up 4-1 in the sixth against reliever Nick Sandlin.
Sale took a shutout into the sixth before Steven Kwan led off with a double and scored on Rosario's single. Cleveland's best chance at a rally ended with two runners left on base.
“(Sale) buckled down and did a heck of a job,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We had a runner at second and the guys we wanted up. Give him credit.”
Sale, who had Tommy John surgery in 2020 and lost large chunks of the last two seasons with unrelated injuries, also got an out in the seventh inning for the first time since Aug. 8, 2019.
“There’s going to be good ones, there’s going to be tough ones,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “But as long as he’s healthy, we’re going to get him at one point and that was good to see.”
Allen was strong early, holding Boston to one hit through the first four innings and striking out the heart of the Red Sox order on 12 pitches in the fourth. But Boston got to him for a pair of runs in the fifth after Wong led off with a single, Jarren Duran hit a ground-rule double and Verdugo drove in both with a single to left.
Allen limited the damage to just the two runs, getting Rafael Devers looking at strike three to end the inning for his eighth strikeout. That matches his total from his big-league debut a week before in Cleveland’s 7-4 win over the Marlins.
Allen is the fourth player in franchise history to strike out 16 or more in their first two games, joining Danny Salazar (2013), Luis Tiant (1964) and Herb Score (1955).
Francona said he was impressed with the poise Allen showed going up against Sale.
“There’s a lot to like about this kid,” Francona said. "I thought he did OK."
UP & DOWN
Sale attributed his form Sunday to strong command of his fastball. He had a strong outing just six days after a forgettable one, when he got tagged for five runs on nine hits in five innings while taking the loss against Baltimore. The start before that, he struck out 11 in a win over Minnesota.
Sale said he expects more consistency from himself.
“I don’t think it takes bad outings to really need to do good. This is the big leagues,” Sale said. “You’ve got to do good every time out. There’s no leniency, especially with who I’m supposed to be on this team.”
Boston DH Masataka Yoshida bounced a double high off the Green Monster with one out in the second, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Red Sox: Reinstated RHP Chris Martin (right shoulder inflammation) from the 15-day injured list, adding the veteran reliever to the bullpen. Martin has appeared in seven games for Boston, allowing two runs over seven innings. … Optioned RHP Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester.
Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (1-2, 5.40 ERA) starts on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at the New York Yankees. RHP Domingo Germán (2-2, 5.54) is scheduled to start for the Yankees.
Red Sox: RHP Corey Kluber (1-4, 6.75), coming off his first win with Boston, starts Monday night against Toronto and RHP José Berríos (2-3, 4.71).