CLEVELAND (AP) — Rob Refsnyder had the go-ahead RBI single in a four-run eighth inning and James Paxton tied his season high with nine strikeouts, giving the Boston Red Sox a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.
Kiké Hernández drove in two runs and Masataka Yoshida had three hits for the Red Sox, who put their first six batters on base in the eighth against relievers Enyel De Los Santos (2-1) and Nick Sandlin.
Paxton (2-1) allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, matching his longest outing since Sept. 3, 2019, with the Yankees. The left-hander gave up both Guardians runs in the first, then scattered three hits over the next six frames.
Kenley Jansen worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 16 opportunities. Boston snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 10-16 since May 7.
Cleveland carried a 2-1 lead into the eighth before De Los Santos loaded the bases and walked Hernández to plate Justin Turner with the tying run. Refsnyder and Pablo Reyes followed with RBI singles and Alex Verdugo added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.
The Guardians pulled within 5-4 in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs off Chris Martin. Amed Rosario singled in Josh Naylor and Will Brennan doubled for his third hit, scoring Tyler Freeman, before Myles Straw struck out to end the eighth.
Naylor singled, doubled and scored twice, and Josh Bell had two hits in his return from the paternity list. Defending AL Central champion Cleveland has lost 27 of its last 45 games after beginning the season 9-6.
Yoshida went 3 for 5 with a run. The 29-year-old leads AL rookies with 66 hits and ranks third with a .320 batting average.
Cleveland went up 2-0 in the first when Naylor and Bell smacked back-to-back doubles to right. Steven Kwan scored on the first and Naylor came home on the second.
Hernández singled in Yoshida in the sixth, cutting Boston’s deficit to 2-1 and chasing Guardians starter Shane Bieber. The right-hander tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and matching his season-low with two strikeouts.
Cleveland pitching coach Carl Willis was not with the team for personal reasons. Assistant Joe Torres filled in.
Red Sox LHP Chris Murphy, one of the top prospects in the organization, was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and could start Thursday. Murphy went 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 10 games, nine of them starts, with 42 strikeouts and 25 walks over 39 2/3 innings.
“There have been a lot of downs, some ups this season,” the 25-year-old said. “I’m ready to go and work wherever they need me.”
Manager Alex Cora said Murphy is available out of the bullpen, but will be a candidate to fill the vacant spot in the rotation if he isn’t used in the first two games in Cleveland.
Red Sox: CF Adam Duvall (left wrist fracture), who is batting .188 through five games of a rehab assignment with Worcester, is set to be activated Friday. Cora said Duvall will “most likely” join the team in New York for its series against the Yankees.
Guardians: SS Amed Rosario (left knee soreness) was not in the lineup for the third straight game, but manager Terry Francona said he will likely start Wednesday. Rosario had been hitless in 15 consecutive at-bats prior to his RBI single in the eighth.
Red Sox RHP Kutter Crawford (1-2, 3.48 ERA), who has made eight of his 11 appearances in relief, takes on Guardians RHP Tanner Bibee (1-1, 3.20 ERA). Crawford started and pitched three innings Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay.