BOSTON -- Seven days after winning his Major League debut against the Marlins, Guardians left-hander Logan Allen had another big test on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. He found himself facing ace left-hander Chris Sale.
When it was over, Allen ended up with his first loss of the season as the Guardians lost, 7-1, dropping the weekend series to Boston.
It’s safe to say that Allen was solid during his five innings on the mound, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out eight batters, tying a season high. Allen, the Guardians’ No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was dealing for the first four innings, allowing just one hit while relying heavily on his four-seam fastball and sweeper pitch.
But then the ball didn’t bounce Allen’s way in the fifth. After Connor Wong led off and singled to left field, Jarren Duran hit a blooper that bounced between left fielder Steven Kwan and infielders Amed Rosario and Gabriel Arias before landing in the stands for a ground-rule double to put runners on second and third.
“I thought I made some good pitches,” Allen said. “Sometimes, the good hitters put some good swings on some balls. It didn’t go our way today, but we’ll be back. We’ll be good.”
Two batters later, Wong and Duran came home on a single by Alex Verdugo to give Boston a two-run cushion. Allen ended up throwing 36 pitches during his final inning.
“I thought I threw the ball well. I was able to compete a little bit,” Allen said. “It was probably not my best stuff, but I was able to manage a couple of tough innings. I made some good pitches. The defense backed me up today. I thought it was a good day.”
Even manager Terry Francona liked what he saw from Allen during his five innings on the mound.
“The double down the third-base line didn’t help. It was kind of unlucky,” Francona said. “[Allen] has poise. He has three pitches. … There is a lot to like about this kid. I thought he did OK.”
Said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, "That's a tough team, because they put the ball in play and they battle pitches. And [Allen] was efficient. Great pace too, both guys. Their kid is really good, too."
Allen had a chance to receive at least a no-decision. In the sixth inning, Rosario drove in the only run of the game for Cleveland with an RBI single to right, and advanced to second after an off-target throw from Verdugo to home. José Ramírez came to the plate and moved Rosario to third on a flyout, but Rosario was left stranded after both Josh Bell and Oscar Gonzalez grounded out to end the threat.
“We had a runner on second with the guys we wanted up. Give Sale credit,” Francona said.
Sale ended up having one of his best outings of the season, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on three hits. Sale called this outing more satisfying than the start he had against the Twins because his mechanics were back where he wanted them to be.
“He has plus stuff across the board. Then when he starts commanding, he can be a handful. We kind of saw that today,” Francona said.
Allen said it was “awesome” to face Sale for the first time.
“It was pretty cool when I saw that we had the same [uniform number],” Allen said. “He is a left-handed pitcher I looked up to a little bit. To pitch against him was really cool.”