Red Sox waste Crawford's Marathon Monday gem, O'Neill exits after collision

Gabrielle Starr, Boston Herald on

Published in Baseball

And because sometimes, there’s inexplicable magic in baseball, Crawford’s Jackie Robinson Day performance lowered his ERA to 0.42. It’s the best ERA by a Sox starter through four games (minimum 20 innings) since Roger Clemens posted a 0.28 through his opening quartet in ’91.

The Sox starter had some valuable backup. Wilyer Abreu’s tumbling catch robbed Guardians slugger José Ramírez of a home run and ended the top of the first.

“Actually, when Ramírez hit it, I’m looking at Ramírez because it seemed like he crushed that one and also in the reaction of the fans, so I didn’t see it live,” Cora admitted. “Then I saw replay and good one, good one.”

Duran made a trio of Gold Glove-caliber plays; he opened the fourth with a leaping catch over his left shoulder, then bookended the sixth with a leaping catch up at the Boston bullpen, robbing Brayan Rocchio of a potential home run, and a sliding catch to cement Crawford’s shutout start.

But because nothing can come easy to this team, the Sox endured yet another terrifying moment in the top of the seventh. With two outs and a brand-new 2-0 deficit courtesy of Will Brennan’s pinch-hit home run, Devers, O’Neill, and Ceddanne Rafaela collided in shallow left, trying to nab Estevan Florial’s popup.

Devers managed to hang on to the ball, but he and O’Neill remained on the ground for several minutes as trainers from both teams raced out to check on them. Fenway Park breathed a collective sigh of relief when all three players were able to walk off the field on their own, though O’Neill could be seen holding a cloth to a bleeding cut above his left eye.

From there, things went from bad to worse. Josh Winckowski took the mound and after getting Gabriel Arias to strike out swinging, issued a walk to Rocchio, who promptly stole second. A single by Steven Kwan put runners on the corners, and a two-out double by José Ramírez plated two more runs for the Guardians. Only one run was charged to Winckowski, though; Wilyer Abreu’s throwing error was the culprit behind the other.


“Yeah, it sucks,” Cora admitted of some of the late-game defensive struggles, “But just have to keep working with them, have to. We have to make plays, we have to make plays. It’s frustrating for everybody, but at the same time we cannot get down on them. They’re trying to make plays.”

The Guardians tacked on another pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Chase Anderson gave up a leadoff single and a pair of two-out hits, bringing the visiting team’s lead to 6-0 before getting out of the inning.

Devers hustled to first to lead off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but it was for naught. The next three batters went quickly and quietly, and for the second time in four days and third time in 17 games this year, the Sox were shut out.

O’Neill needed eight stitches for a “big gash” and is going through concussion protocol, his manager announced after the game. Now, the Sox need to hope their hottest hitter won’t join the already-crowded injured list.

“Same deal” for Devers, though Cora said the third baseman – back in the lineup after missing four games with the nagging shoulder soreness – feels good. He was optimistic about O’Neill as well. “Well see, but I don’t think there’s any need to make a move.”


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