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Guardians bounce back to beat Red Sox in bullpen game

Bryan Shaw’s first career start turned into the good kind of blowout

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Boston Red Sox David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In what ultimately became a battle of bullpens, the Cleveland Guardians clobbered the Boston Red Sox, 8-3, Tuesday night at Fenway Park to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Guardians made quick work of Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski, tagging him for five runs over three innings to force Boston to go to their bullpen early.

Owen Miller got thing started in the first inning, lining a two-out RBI single to center field to score José Ramírez from second for a 1-0 lead. Austin Hedges tacked on a solo home run in the second inning, hitting a towering blast over the Green Monster in left field. But it was Nolan Jones who made it a party with a three-run homer off Winckowski in the third inning.

Bryan Shaw made his first career start and it went about as well as could be expected — though it could have been much worse. He held the Red Sox scoreless over the first two innings, only surrendering a two-out double in the first frame and a leadoff walk in the second.

But once the Guardians took a 5-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Cleveland manager Terry Francona decided to press his luck and see if he could squeeze three more outs of Shaw. Spoiler alert: Shaw was only good for one more. After giving up a leadoff ground rule double to Jaylin Davis and hitting Rob Refsnyder with a pitch, Shaw managed to get the first out on a fielder’s choice. But then Xander Bogaerts lined an RBI single through the left side of the infield to put the Red Sox on the board. After Shaw hit J.D. Martinez with his 50th pitch of the game to load the bases, Francona finally decided to pull the plug and bring in Nick Sandlin.

Once again tasked with escaping a bases loaded jam created by Shaw, Sandlin allowed another run to score on a Christian Vazquez RBI single, cutting the Guardians’ lead to 5-2.

The inning could have spiraled further if not for what happened next. Kevin Plawecki hit a pop fly to shallow right field, where Nolan Jones made the catch. Bogaerts decided to take his chances and tag up from third base, forcing Jones to throw home, where Austin Hedges applied the tag and Bogaerts was called out. Boston challenged the play, but the call stood. Judge for yourself:

After the Red Sox were able to cut into their deficit in the bottom of the third inning, Cleveland restored their five-run lead in the top of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Josh Naylor hit a chopper up the middle to second base, where Yolmer Sanchez tried to recreate Andrés Giménez’s web gem from the All-Star Game but botched the behind-the-back toss, allowing two baserunners to score and make it 7-2 in favor of the Guardians.

Amed Rosario’s RBI single in the eighth inning gave Cleveland their eighth run of the game.

Out of the bullpen, Kirk McCarty acquitted himself quite well, delivering four shutout innings to calm the waters after the turbulent third inning. He only allowed one hit and one walk while striking out four. Unfortunately, Eli Morgan continues to struggle, surrendering a pair of doubles in the eighth inning to allow the Red Sox to scratch another run across the plate.

Emmanuel Clase pitched a scoreless ninth to close it out.