Guardians use late-inning magic to continue hot start to '24

April 17th, 2024

BOSTON -- Some late-inning magic and a club-record-tying start on the road. Boy, are these Guardians off to an exciting start.

Add in a little first-time Fenway Park fun for center fielder , too, and that made for a special night on Tuesday. After letting an early four-run lead slip away, Cleveland rallied for a 10-7 win over the Red Sox in 11 innings.

“It’s unbelievable,” manager Stephen Vogt said. “What a game overall for everybody. We got kicked in the teeth there in the sixth, and here we come fighting back.”

This time, the big hit came from Estevan Florial, who delivered a two-run single during the three-run 11th inning after Andrés Giménez’s RBI single tied the game in the ninth.

In each of their past three games, the Guardians have pulled out victories in the late innings, including two extra-innings wins.

“Everybody’s contributing,” Vogt said. “They’re hungry to come off the bench.”

Cleveland (12-5) has opened the season 9-2 away from home for the fourth time in team history, the last of which came during their World Series-winning 1948 season.

“Just watching the boys grind for that long, the resilience, it fires you up,” said reliever Scott Barlow, who earned the save.

Freeman belted a solo homer over the Green Monster and a double off it to start the rally that tied the game in the ninth. For the 24-year-old Freeman, it was a chance to get a couple of big hits after entering the day hitting just .159.

“What I do best, I just kind of let it go, talk to family after the game, kind of move on and move to the next day,” he said.

Before the game, in the clubhouse, he had a chance to fully digest his first-ever game at Fenway Park on Monday.

“Crazy,” he said, smiling while standing at his locker. “This might be on the top of my list of fields I’ve been to. Just the history behind it and knowing who’s played here, it’s crazy that I’m here.”

Freeman said he looked at the schedule before Cleveland made its trip here and was excited that he was finally getting a chance to play in Fenway. On Monday, he flied out to the track in front of the Green Monster in his first at-bat.

Then Tuesday, he hit a 1-1 changeup from Joely Rodriguez a Statcast-estimated 418 feet over the Monster and completely out of Fenway in the fifth.

Facing Kenley Jansen in the ninth, Freeman doubled off the Monster and scored the tying run on Giménez’s hit to center.

Freeman had heard enough about the park already from others and couldn’t wait for his first chance to see it in person.

“Oh yeah, not only from players, but family members that have been here,” he said. “I’ve never stepped foot in this field ever. Just the experience that I’ve always heard and the history behind it, I was so excited.”

Freeman might not have that souvenir ball from his first Fenway homer, but he has quite a memory.

Nice bounce back
Tanner Bibee worked five solid innings of one-run ball after giving up five runs over 4 1/3 in his previous start against the White Sox on April 10.

Relying mostly on his four-seam fastball to record eight of his 15 outs, he mixed in a solid changeup and slider, though the right-hander gave up a fourth-inning solo homer when Enmanuel Valdez belted a curveball into the right-field bleachers.

“I think from last start to this start, mostly a step in the right direction,” he said. “We’ve got to expand on that next time.”