Red Sox manager Alex Cora recently described Marwin Gonzalez as a player who “understands what it takes to win ballgames.”
On Saturday, Gonzalez showed why he was worthy of such praise, as he came through with the biggest hit of of the day — a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning — to to help guide Boston to a 7-4 victory over the White Sox at Fenway Park.
Matched up against right-handed reliever Codi Heuer to lead off the bottom of the eighth, Gonzalez, batting from the left side of the plate, took a 1-1, 96 mph sinker at the top of the strike zone and proceeded to crush it 410 feet deep into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center field.
Gonzalez’s first homer as a member of the Red Sox was a huge one, as it put his side up by a run at 4-3 and would wind up being the springboard for a four-run eighth inning.
Another come-from-behind win
The Red Sox came into the weekend already with six comeback victories under their belt, and after being dealt an early two-run deficit in the first of four against the White Sox, that would once again be the case on Saturday.
A pair of sacrifice flies in the third inning from Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers off White Sox starter Dylan Cease evened things up at two runs a piece for a quite a while.
Fast forward to the sixth, and the bottom of the lineup served as the catalyst for more offensive production.
With reliever Evan Marshall on the mound for Chicago, Kevin Plawecki laced a two-out double to center field, which put a runner in scoring position as Boston’s lineup flipped over back to Enrique Hernandez.
As part of a four-hit showing on Saturday, Hernandez ripped a line-drive single back up the middle to drive in Plawecki from second and put the Sox up 3-2.
Matt Andriese gave up that lead after serving up a leadoff single to Tim Anderson, who stole second base and advanced to third on a Xander Bogaerts missed catch error, and a sacrifice fly to Yoan Moncada in the seventh, but that stalemate would not last long.
As previously mentioned, Gonzalez led off the eighth inning with his first big fly of the season for Boston, which was followed up by singles from Christian Arroyo Hernandez.
Verdugo then drew a two-out walk off new White Sox reliever Jose Ruiz, and J.D. Martinez picked up an RBI by drawing yet another free pass to make it a 5-3 contest.
Bogaerts, who like Hernandez collected four hits on Saturday, more than made up for his prior miscue by roping a two-run, ground-rule double down the right field line.
Bogaerts’ third and fourth RBI of the young season provided insurance and gave the Red Sox a commanding 7-3 advantage.
Pivetta shaky, but remains unbeaten with Red Sox
If you were looking for a crisply-pitched game to watch on Saturday, White Sox-Red Sox probably wasn’t between you.
Nick Pivetta, who made his third start of the season for Boston a day later than he was scheduled to due to Friday’s postponement, gave up two early runs, and managed to go just 3 2/3 innings deep in all. The right-hander allowed four hits and four walks while also striking out three in the process of doing so.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (49 strikes), Pivetta was unable to pick up the winning decision on account of how short his outing was. But the Red Sox are now 5-0 in games the 28-year-old pitches in. His next start should come against the Mariners on Thursday.
In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor came on to record the final out of the fourth inning and did just that by fanning Adam Eaton.
Andriese, Ottavino, and Barnes hold it down
From the beginning of the fifth inning on, Andriese surrendered just one unearned run over three solid frames of work.
Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, put together his best performance with the Red Sox to date in the top half of the eighth. The veteran right-hander, fresh off taking the loss in his last time out against the Twins, struck out Chicago’s 5-6-7 hitters in short order and was just a few pitches shy of an immaculate inning.
Andriese’s and Ottavino’s impressive performances — as well as the Red Sox jumping out to a 7-3 lead — set the stage for Matt Barnes to make his seventh appearance of the season in the ninth.
The 30-year-old flamethrower wound up giving up his first run of the year on a pair of hits, but he still managed to hold on and preserve the 7-4 win for his side.
Some notes from this victory:
The Red Sox are now 10-4. They are 1-0 in their Nike City Connect uniforms.
From Red Sox Notes:
Next up: Split doubleheader on Sunday
Next up for the Red Sox, they will be embarking upon their second doubleheader against another American League Central foe in less than a week on Sunday afternoon.
Tanner Houck and Martin Perez will start Games 1 and 2 for Boston. Chicago has only named a starter for Game 1 at this point, and that responsibility will belong to former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel.
First pitch for the day cap of Sunday’s twin bill is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time. The night cap is scheduled to begin at 5:10 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast on NESN.
(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)