With their 5-4 victory in the series opener Tuesday, the Red Sox have won six of their last eight games.
Boston’s James Paxton (7-3, 3.36 ERA) will get the start on Wednesday against MacKenzie Gore (6-9, 4.62) in a matchup of left-handers.
Paxton is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA over his past four starts. He scattered six hits and struck out six without walking a batter over 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
In his only career start against the Nationals, in 2020, Paxton allowed three runs on five hits in one inning to take the loss.
After stringing together three solid outings, Gore was hit hard in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last Wednesday in his most recent start. He allowed six runs on seven hits — including three homers – in five innings.
Gore, 24, has yet to face the Red Sox in his young career.
On Tuesday, Alex Verdugo led off the game with a homer, Pablo Reyes scored the go ahead run on a wild pitch, and the Red Sox bullpen did the rest, retiring 16 of the final 17 Washington hitters.
“They did an outstanding job,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That’s the beauty of having (reliever Garrett Whitlock) back, right? We know he can go two tomorrow, so we’ll mix and match tomorrow with him and take a chance, but they did an amazing job.”
In the fourth inning, Reyes went from second to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on a wild pitch even though the ball caromed back to catcher Keibert Ruiz.
“On the way to home plate, I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to go, I’ve got to go.’ It was too close,” Reyes said. “And I had no chance to go back to third base, so I just kept going and made it to home plate.”
Triston Casas had two hits, including a two-run single in the third inning, to extend Boston’s lead to 3-0. He has hit safely in 21 of 28 games since the All-Star break and is batting .337 with two doubles, a triple, 10 homers, 20 RBIs, 14 walks and 18 runs scored over that span.
“They were making good pitches,” catcher Ruiz said. “Sometimes it’s hard.”
Ruiz drove in two runs with a double in the third inning. Over his last five games, he is 9-for-21 (.429) with a double, two home runs, four RBIs, two walks and six runs.
The Nationals got good news before the game when they activated reliever Hunter Harvey (3-4, 3.12 ERA, nine saves), who missed three weeks due to elbow strain. He forms a formidable back end of the bullpen with Kyle Finnegan (6-3, 2.64, 18 saves).
“Right now, Finnegan will close out games for us,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We’ll get Harvey built up a little bit, and then we’ll see what happens.”
—Field Level Media
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