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Red Sox Edge Nationals 5-4 in Series Opener Thanks to Alex Verdugo’s Leadoff Homer

The Boston Red Sox emerged victorious in the first game of a three-game series against the Washington Nationals, winning 5-4. The game kicked off with an impressive leadoff home run by Alex Verdugo, setting the tone for the Red Sox’s strong performance.

Boston, currently three games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the last wild-card spot in the American League, has been on a roll lately with six wins in their last eight games. Their success continued at Nationals Park, where they improved their record to an impressive 9-1.

Stone Garrett and Keibert Ruiz made significant contributions for the Nationals, each driving in two runs. The Nationals had been performing well at home, winning 12 out of their last 14 games, but fell short against the Red Sox.

After Verdugo’s leadoff home run, Triston Casas extended Boston’s lead to 3-0 with a two-run single in the third inning. Washington responded in the bottom of the inning with two-run doubles from Ruiz and Garrett, narrowing the gap.

Boston’s offense continued to put pressure on the Nationals as they chased starting pitcher Josiah Gray from the game in the fourth inning. The Red Sox scored two more runs, with Jarren Duran and Pablo Reyes crossing the plate.

Boston’s bullpen was crucial in securing the win, with John Schreiber pitching a scoreless sixth inning and Kenley Jansen closing the game and converting his 17th consecutive save opportunity on the road.

Gray struggled in his outing, allowing five runs in just over three innings, resulting in his shortest start of the season. His recent performances have seen his ERA rise from 3.27 to 3.96.

On the Red Sox’s side, starter Nick Pivetta pitched 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven but gave up four runs.

In other news, the Washington Nationals activated RHP Hunter Harvey from the injured list and optioned LHP Joe La Sorsa to Triple-A Rochester. The Nationals also had simulated games for RHPs Tanner Rainey and Mason Thompson, who are recovering from injuries.

Washington SS CJ Abrams reached a notable milestone in the game, stealing his 30th base of the season. He joins a select group of Nationals players who have achieved 30 or more stolen bases in a season.

In the next game of the series, the Red Sox will start left-handed pitcher James Paxton, who has been in solid form recently. The Nationals will start left-hander MacKenzie Gore, who has performed well in his last few home starts.

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