BOSTON (AP) — Rafael Devers doubled to break an eighth-inning tie and the Boston Red Sox overcame Chris Sale’s early exit because of shoulder soreness to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 on Thursday night.
Sale departed after manager Alex Cora and a member of the training staff visited the mound twice in the fourth inning. Sale came out with two out after walking Nick Senzel, with Boston trailing 1-0.
Sale struck out five. The 34-year-old left-hander has struggled to stay healthy during the majority of his time in Boston, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020. The last time he made it through an entire season without making a trip to the injured list was 2017.
The Sox will know more about Sale’s injury after he undergoes an MRI on Friday.
“Hoping for the best. Obviously, it didn’t look great. Let’s wait and see,” said Cora, adding that it was a drop in velocity that prompted Boston to keep Sale on a shorter leash.
Sale threw two pitches between the first and second visit as Cora felt it was necessary to make a pitching change.
“I cannot be irresponsible,” Cora said. “We know each other. Obviously, it’s not easy with everything he has gone through, but I’ve got to take care of him.”
After the Reds tied it off Chris Martin (1-1) in the eighth, Devers doubled in Alex Verdugo after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning. Devers hit a deep drive to straight away center that nearly went out.
Boston added five more runs in the inning. Pinch-runner Ramiel Tapia scored after reliever Kevin Herget (1-2) was called for a balk, Kiki Hernandez singled in two runs and Connor Wong hit a two-run shot into the Green Monster seats.
Kenley Jansen finished off Cincinnati with a scoreless ninth.
Looking to complete a three-game sweep, the Reds opened the scoring in the third on Kevin Newman’s double. Boston tied it in the fourth when Justin Turner singled in Devers, who got a gift double when centerfielder Jose Barrero lost the ball in the lights.
Hernandez hit a solo home run for the Red Sox in the seventh. The Reds tied it in the eighth on Matt McLain’s single past the drawn-in infield.
“From that point, it was about staying alive,” said Hernandez, who turned on a 1-2 pitch for his fifth home run.
Reds starter Hunter Greene allowed a run in six innings. He struck out eight as Cincinnati saw its five-game winning streak snapped.
“Definitely, going in the right track. Just trying to stay locked in and present in the moment,” said Greene, who at age 23 became the fourth fastest-pitcher to reach 250 career strikeouts as a starter. “It would have been nice to finish the road trip with a sweep, but it’s exciting to see the potential and focus that went into each game in this series.”
ARMED & READY
Verdugo was credited with his fourth assist of the season in the fourth inning with the Reds seeking to add to a 1-0 lead. After fielding a fly ball off the bat of Stuart Fairchild, Verdugo came up firing from right field and delivered a one-hop throw to Wong, who blocked the plate to prevent Spencer Steer from scoring. Replay concurred with the call on the field, which was a 9-2 double play.
Reds: Manager David Bell said that LHP Nick Lodolo (leg) will remain in a walking boot for the next two weeks. Bell has been on the injured list since May 14.
Red Sox: INF Christian Arroyo (hamstring strain) continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Thursday, going hitless in five at-bats.
Reds: LHP Brandon Williamson (0-0, 5.02) starts at home against Milwaukee in the opener of a four-game series Friday night.
Red Sox: AL East-leading Tampa Bay comes to Fenway with RHP Garrett Whitlock (2-2, 5.14) getting the nod in the series opener. Boston and Tampa will play four games in three days with a scheduled doubleheader on tap for Saturday.
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