Boston Herald

Paxton, late offense fuel win

Bats finally wake up in eighth inning

- By Mac Cerullo

James Paxton gave the Red Sox exactly the kind of dominant starting pitching performanc­e they’ve so badly needed, and yet for most of the outing it looked like it might be wasted by another punchless offensive performanc­e.

It took a while, but eventually the bats did finally come through.

The Red Sox rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth to come from behind and beat the Cleveland Guardians 5-4, snapping the club’s three-game losing streak and pushing Boston back over .500 at 31-30. Rob Refsnyder delivered the go-ahead RBI single and Paxton earned the win.

“It’s been awhile, right?” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of the team’s big inning. “It was quality at bat after quality at bat, Pablo (Reyes) going the other way and everyone contribute­d. It was a good one.”

Early on it didn’t seem like it was going to be Paxton’s night, as the big lefty labored through a tough first inning in which he threw 28 pitches and allowed two runs on back-to-back RBI doubles by Josh Naylor and Josh Bell.

But from there he settled down and went seven innings, allowing just the two runs on six hits and two walks. He also struck out nine, drawing 24 whiffs on the night, and threw 71 of his 106 pitches for strikes.

Though he finished the seventh trailing 2-1, the Red Sox bats finally came through in the eighth with the kind of sustained rally they’ve rarely been able to string together in recent weeks.

Boston scored four runs in the inning, which began when the Red Sox first six batters reached safely. While a 399-foot liner by Triston Casas somehow resulted in a single that failed to score Justin Turner from second, the Red Sox were able to take the lead anyway when Kiké Hernández subsequent­ly drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded to tie it and Refsnyder came through with the go-ahead RBI single.

Reyes tacked on an RBI single of his own and Alex Verdugo picked up what proved the game-winning sacrifice fly. While Chris Martin endured one of his shakiest outings of the season, he was able to limit the Guardians to two runs in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Myles Straw with runners at second and third to end the inning.

Kenley Jansen took care of the rest, posting a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down his 13th save of the season.

Hernández led the offense by going 1 for 4 with a walk and two RBI, including an RBI single in the sixth to chase former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber (5.2 innings, 1 run) and drive in Boston’s first run. Masataka Yoshida went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .319, and Casas went 2 for 4 with a pair of hard hit balls to the wall.

Kutter Crawford (1-2, 3.48 ERA) is set to get the start for the Red Sox on Wednesday and will face off against Cleveland’s Tanner Bibee (1-1, 3.20). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

Sox call up Murphy

The Red Sox shook up their bullpen again ahead of Tuesday’s game, calling up rookie lefthander Chris Murphy from Triple-A and optioning righty Kaleb Ort to Worcester.

Originally a sixthround pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Murphy was promoted to Worcester last summer and added to the 40-man roster this past offseason to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft. The 25-year-old has struggled so far this season, posting an 8.35 ERA over nine starts, but fared better out of the bullpen his last time out, throwing three scoreless innings on June 1 against Louisville.

Prior to the game Murphy told reporters that he got the call Monday, which happened to be his birthday and was about as memorable a present he’ll ever get. Murphy did not pitch in Tuesday’s game but is expected to make his big league debut in the coming days.

Chang resumes rehab assignment

Infielder Yu Chang (left hamate fracture) restarted his rehab assignment in the minors on Tuesday, batting third while serving as designated hitter for the WooSox.

Chang started his rehab assignment on May 26 with Portland but was shut down for 11 days due to lingering soreness. He last played in the majors on April 24 and could potentiall­y return next week when the Red Sox open their upcoming homestand against the Colorado Rockies.

Adam Duvall (left wrist fracture) also batted second and played center field for the WooSox on Tuesday. Cora told reporters Duvall will most likely be activated on Friday, the first day he is eligible to come off the 60-day IL, in time for the start of this weekend’s New York Yankees series.

 ?? SUE OGROCKI — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Boston Red Sox starting pitcher James Paxton throws during the first inning Tuesday night against Cleveland. The Red Sox earned a 5-4 road victory.
SUE OGROCKI — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Boston Red Sox starting pitcher James Paxton throws during the first inning Tuesday night against Cleveland. The Red Sox earned a 5-4 road victory.

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