CLEVELAND (AP) — Christian Arroyo hit a two-run homer in the seventh and had three RBIs in his return from the COVID-19 injured list, powering the surging Boston Red Sox to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Friday night.
Arroyo's go-ahead homer to left-center off Bryan Shaw (3-1) gave the Red Sox a 4-2 lead, paving the way for their fifth straight win and moving them a season-high nine games over .500. Boston is 17-4 in June and 30-12 since May 10.
"We're going to find a way to win because we're a good ballclub," said Arroyo, who had been sidelined for eight games. "With the powerful lineup we have, it's all about taking your place and keeping the line going. That's what I did."
Nick Pivetta (8-5) allowed two runs in seven innings, scattering nine hits, in his first career outing against Cleveland. The right-hander struck out four without a walk and is 8-1 with a 1.85 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Boston carried a 6-2 advantage into the ninth, but closer Tanner Houck gave up an RBI single to rookie Steven Kwan before retiring Amed Rosario and José Ramírez back-to-back with the bases loaded.
"With Cleveland, every game is like that," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We were fortunate that Ramírez swung at a pitch that probably was a ball and grounded out."
Andrés Giménez hit a solo homer and scored two runs for the Guardians, who have won 17 of 23 and remain atop the AL Central. Rosario and Franmil Reyes had two hits apiece, and Myles Straw added an RBI single.
Ramírez, who leads the AL with 62 RBIs, extended his hitting streak to 13 games while playing through right thumb soreness. The three-time All-Star initially jammed the thumb in early June.
"I'll take my chances with Josey up there a lot of times," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We just couldn't get a big hit when we needed it."
Arroyo went 3 for 4 and drove in the first run when he was hit by Cal Quantrill's pitch with the bases loaded in the second. The shortstop later made a heady play, catching Rosario off the bag at second and tagging him out when they unintentionally collided.
"It kind of was like self-defense, so he didn't truck me," Arroyo said, laughing. "I didn't see where his foot was, but I saw him do a little hop-step and that's when I tagged him."
Rafael Devers led off the third with a homer, his 17th of the season, and Rob Refsnyder doubled home a run for Boston. Alex Verdugo added a pair of doubles and an RBI.
Quantrill pitched five innings, giving up two runs, and exited after rookie right fielder Oscar Gonzalez threw out J.D. Martinez at the plate to complete a double play.
Quantrill (Port Hope, Ontario) and Pivetta (Victoria, British Columbia) comprised the third matchup of Canadian-born starters since 2014.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who ranks second in baseball with a .335 average, was given the day off.
FAN FROM AFAR
Cora took note when Ramírez signed a team-friendly, seven-year, $141 million contract in April. "You've got to respect that," Cora said. "He wanted to stay in Cleveland -- and he did." Ramírez is on pace to become the first player with 100 extra-base hits in a season since 2001. "I enjoy watching him play and I love the way he goes about it," Cora said.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) will not be activated off the injured list when eligible Saturday and won't start in Boston's next series in Toronto. "Whit isn't feeling well, so it didn't make sense to push him out there," Cora said.
Guardians: RHP James Karinchak (right back strain) pitched on back-to-back days for the first time on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. The former Cleveland closer failed to retire any of the three hitters he faced in his second straight appearance.
Red Sox: RHP Josh Winckowski (2-1, 3.68 ERA) makes his first road appearance in the majors after three outings at Fenway Park. The Toledo, Ohio native made his big league debut on May 28 against Baltimore.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (3-3, 3.00 ERA) has not lost since May 22, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.23 ERA in his last five starts. The 2020 AL Cy Young winner has 38 strikeouts and four walks during the span.