BOSTON -- One thing can be said about the Guardians: They don’t give up easily. And their 8-7 loss in 10 innings to the Red Sox on Saturday proved it. They were down as many as five runs at one point before forcing extras at Fenway Park.
“You look across the clubhouse, and we all have an understanding we are never out of a fight,” said Guardians designated hitter Josh Bell, who homered for Cleveland’s first run of the game. “Our offense can catch fire at any time. It’s kind of a standard [manager Terry Francona] instills in us. You have to play the game the right way. When we do that, runs will be scored.”
Cleveland was down, 6-1, after six innings and began to come back in the seventh. Red Sox left-hander Richard Bleier allowed a leadoff home run to Andrés Giménez before he was pulled for Ryan Brasier.
Brasier then had a tough time finding the strike zone. He allowed two walks and a single to load the bases before leaving the game in favor of right-hander John Schreiber. Six pitches later, the Guardians were down by only a run after Josh Naylor cleared the bases with a three-run double.
“I was looking for something over the heart of the plate that I could drive in the gap,” Naylor said. “I just tried to battle. He threw some really good pitches. I tried to give it my best shot for the boys here and extend the game.”
In the 10th, with a runner on second and left-hander Brennan Bernardino on the mound, Mike Zunino singled to left field, scoring Gabriel Arias. But Cleveland lost in the bottom of the inning when Boston scored two runs off closer Emmanuel Clase (neither earned, thanks to the automatic runner and a passed ball).
Zach Plesac, who allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings, came away with a no-decision after the Guardians’ rally.
“The offense bailed me out today, for sure. Shout out to everybody. They killed it,” Plesac said. “It’s our style of baseball. It’s tough how it ended. I’m going to take this week, hopefully come back for these boys. They picked me up, so I’m going to pick them up.”
Plesac hasn’t been able to find consistent success on the mound this season, allowing multiple runs in each of his five starts. Saturday, he saw his ERA jump from 6.50 to 7.59.
With runners on first and second with one out, Plesac was looking to force Boston third baseman Rafael Devers to hit into a double play. Instead, Devers deposited an offspeed pitch into the right-field seats to give Boston a 3-0 lead.
“I thought it was fastball command. I thought that’s where it started. [Plesac] made it really hard,” Francona said. “[The Red Sox] hit a lot of balls hard. … I just thought he seems like he is not commanding his fastball to the point where he can be the guy. He is still a work in progress.”
Plesac settled down the next two innings, but he couldn’t complete the fourth, as he allowed two runs before he left the game in favor of right-hander Xzavion Curry, who stopped the bleeding by pitching 2 2/3 innings without an earned run.
“[Curry] does a great job. He kind of comes in to bridge the gap. It ends up he is lights-out, shuts them down,” outfielder Miles Straw said.