BOSTON – Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac threw the ball completely out of Fenway Park as the grounds crew began to roll the tarp onto the field, and the Boston Red Sox ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Guardians 3-1 Monday night.
With a light rain falling, Yolmer Sánchez hit an RBI single in the third inning to put Boston ahead 1-0. Plate umpire and crew chief Dan Iassogna then called for the tarp and Plesac, who was walking toward the third-base dugout, fired the ball over the third-base roof and out of the ballpark.
There were dark skies over Fenway when Iassogna was shown the weather radar by a member of the grounds crew. The rain quickly picked up, and very shortly after the tarp was completely in place, the skies opened up for about 15 minutes, making the conditions awful for any possibility of playing.
“Well, I mean, it wasn’t even raining,” Plesac said of his frustration. “It’s kind of like they’re anticipating it. I was ready to play until we couldn’t play. I don’t think we should stop the game if we’re capable of playing at the moment."
“I was just frustrated we shut that down. I didn’t know if we’d be able to play or not coming out of the break. Luckily, it only lasted like 40 minutes or so,” he said.
The game was delayed 38 minutes and Plesac returned to pitch.
Alex Verdugo hit a tiebreaking double and Boston’s bullpen worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings. The Red Sox are just 6-15 in July and remain only a half-game ahead of last-place Baltimore in the AL East.
“We do understand that we could be a seller, you could be a buyer,” Verdugo said of the up-coming trade deadline. “It all depends. We know we have a good team, we have a good group of guys and we could go somewhere. We’re hoping we can just stick with what we’ve got and maybe get a couple of additions and make a postseason push.”
José Ramírez drove in Cleveland’s run with an infield hit. It was the third straight loss for the Guardians.
Wearing their “city connect” yellow-and-powder blue uniforms, the Red Sox broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the sixth, chasing Plesac (2-8).
Verdugo doubled off the Green Monster and Rob Refsnyder raced home when the ball bounced over left fielder Steven Kwan back toward the infield as he fell to the ground trying to play the carom. Christian Vázquez added a bloop RBI single off reliever Trevor Stephan.
John Schreiber (3-1) got Myles Straw to ground out with two runners on to end the sixth before pitching the seventh. Garrett Whitlock got six outs for his second save.
“We played good defense. I think that was the difference,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said a day after said his team was playing “awful.”
Making his first start since July 15 because of the All-Star break, Plesac was charged with three runs in five-plus innings, allowing only three hits.
“It was kind of an odd night,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Plesac's start. “He didn't give up too many hits.”
Boston starter Nick Pivetta gave up seven singles and one run over 5 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox will honor David Ortiz with a ceremony before Tuesday’s game, two days after his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
Francona, who managed the Red Sox from 2004-11, shared his thoughts on what made Ortiz special.
“You know what, the biggest thing from my side of it, I knew David before he was Big Papi. I don’t think I ever referred to him as Big Papi. It was always David,” he said. “You guys have been around him and you’ve seen when somebody comes into a room, he can light that room up with that smile, his personality. Some guys come to Boston and kind of shrink, he kind of brought his personality out.”
Despite hot, muggy conditions with a “real feel” of 93 degrees, Guardians 1B Josh Naylor took grounders and BP wearing a winter hat with long sleeve sweatshirt.
When asked about it, he said: “I can’t wear a hat without washing my hair first. I’m serious.” He has flowing locks that come out under his baseball cap.
Naylor had the bat go flying out of his hands toward netting behind Boston’s on-deck circle, forcing a bat boy to go scampering away.
Guardians: OF Oscar Gonzalez (10-day injured list, right intercostal strain) is slated to start a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Tuesday.
Red Sox: DH J.D. Martinez missed his fourth straight game with back spasms. … RHP Michael Wacha (IL, right shoulder inflammation) faced hitters. He said after that he’s scheduled to do it again Saturday before going on a rehab assignment. … Trevor Story (IL, bruised right hand) took BP before the game.
Guardians: They’re likely to use an opener Tuesday. Francona said it’ll likely be RHP Bryan Shaw (4-2, 5.29 ERA).
Red Sox: Josh Winckowski (3-4, 4.38) is slated to start if he comes off the COVID IL.
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