WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Verdugo led the game with a home run and the Boston Red Sox defeated the Washington Nationals 5-4 Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game streak.
Boston, which trailed Toronto by three games for the final American League wildcard spot, has won six of eight games. The Red Sox improved to 9-1 at Nationals Park.
Stone Garrett and Keibert Ruiz each drove two heats for the Nationals, who had won 12 of their last 14 at home.
After Verdugo’s ninth home run and second career leadoff blast, Triston Casas made it 3-0 with a two-run single in the third game against Josiah Gary (7-10). Washington responded late in the inning when Ruiz and Garrett made two-run doubles.
The Red Sox chased Gray after Jarren Duran took the lead with a single in the fourth set and Pablo Reyes followed with a double. Duran scored with Verdugo’s sacrificial flight, and Reyes came in with substitute Robert Garcia’s wild pitch.
John Schreiber (2-1) threw a scoreless sixth inning. He was the second of five Boston Relievers who combined for 4 2/3 innings scoreless. Kenley Jansen saved the ninth ball with his 28th save and converted all 17 of his saves away from home.
Gray allowed five runs in more than three innings, his shortest game of the season. The Nationals’ lone All-Star has missed five innings in his last three starts and his ERA has increased from 3.27 to 3.96 over that period.
Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta hit four runs in 4 1/3 innings and hit seven.
Nationals: Washington activated RHP Hunter Harvey (elbow) from the injured list and selected LHP Joe La Sorsa to triple-A Rochester. Harvey scored a 1-2-3 for the ninth time on Tuesday in his first game since July 14. La Sorsa was 1-0 with a 6.61 ERA in 15 games with the Nationals. … RHPs Tanner Rainey (surgery on Tommy John) and Mason Thompson (left knee) threw simulated plays.
MAN OF STEEL
Washington SS CJ Abrams hit the 30-steal plateau in the first inning with a hit to second base. He is the fifth international with a 30-steal season, joining Trea Turner (four times), Nyjer Morgan, Alfonso Soriano and Denard Span.
Red Sox: LHP James Paxton (7-3, 3.36 ERA), who threw 5 1/3 shutout innings to beat Kansas City on Thursday, ties Wednesday as the streak continues.
Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (6-9, 4.62) is 1-0 at home with a 1.46 ERA in his last three starts.
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