'I've got sunshine': Giménez, Guards improve to 10-3 on the road

April 18th, 2024

BOSTON -- A day after the Guardians’ hitters did very little, they did just enough to finish a successful stop in Fenway Park.

With leadoff specialist and offensive spark Steven Kwan getting the day off, Cleveland built an early lead before holding off the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on a cool, rainy Thursday afternoon.

Inserted into the leadoff spot, had two hits and drove in a pair of runs as the Guardians took three of four games from the Red Sox.

"Gimmie is kind of the Swiss army knife of the lineup," Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said. "He hits all over the place. His at-bats from the beginning of the year until now have just been phenomenal, clutch hit after clutch hit. He's huge for us. For him to step up on a day where we don't have our leadoff guy in there and not skip a beat, it was impressive to see."

Giménez knew he had a big spot to fill.

"Kwanie, having the day off, I had to make sure I kinda did a similar job that he does," Giménez said, smiling while talking about his teammate who was in the next locker. "It's hard to do the same job that he does at leadoff."

When the clubhouse opened after a dreary weather day, a remix of The Temptations song "My Girl" -- including the lyrics "I've got sunshine" -- played loudly in the background as they were packing for their trip home.

There's certainly a lot of sunshine coming from the start of this season after the Guardians won their fifth series in the initial six.

The win improved Cleveland's lofty road record to 10-3, and sealed Cleveland's first series win in Boston since 2019.

On Wednesday night, Cleveland was held to three singles and didn't get a runner to second base when it was shut out for the first time this year.

Carlos Carrasco helped the team bounce back and pitched effectively into the sixth inning. He overcame a couple of close plays at first base in the first to get out of what could have been a rough start. He held the Red Sox to two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks over 5 2/3 innings.

"The first inning I was trying to be too perfect," Carrasco, 37, said. "That's what happened. That's when I gave up the first run. After that, I went back and thought about what I did in the bullpen [warming up for the start]."

In the first, after Carrasco walked the leadoff hitter, Triston Casas' grounder hit the first-base bag, leading to an infield hit when he was called safe on a close play. Then, Wilyer Abreu beat a close play on a fielder's choice that scored a run.

Carrasco could have been out of the inning. Instead, he found himself down 1-0. But he got out of it right there.

Then, the offense went to work.

The Guardians scored single runs in the third, fourth and sixth and two in the fifth. Giménez drove in their first run with an RBI single and added a run-scoring single in the fifth.

"It means a lot," Carrasco said of winning the series. "We're winning series, and I think that's important for us."

Now, they'll look to keep the bright start to 2024 rolling this weekend against Oakland.

Kwan earns an off-day

Vogt decided it was time to give Kwan the day off after he had played in all of the club's games so far this season.

"Obviously, he's been playing unbelievable and he's been on the bases a lot," Vogt said before the game. "His legs have to be heavy. He didn't want a day off. I'm not a very popular guy right now. It's the right thing in the long run. Get him off his feet to get a mental turnoff day."

Kwan leads the team in three offensive categories: batting average (.354), hits (29) and runs scored (18).

Monster Mash

After being out of the lineup Wednesday, Tyler Freeman was back in center field. Finishing up his first-ever series in Fenway, the 24-year-old hit a double high off the Green Monster. On Tuesday, he homered over the Monster and hit one off it that started a game-tying, ninth-inning rally.

"I'll take it, especially how it's been so far," he said, smiling.

Freeman is batting .192 with two homers and eight RBIs.