BOSTON — Marwin Gonzalez made sure his first extra-base hit as a member of the Red Sox was one that counted.
Gonzalez hit the go-ahead home run for Boston on Sunday, breaking an eighth-inning tie with a solo shot off White Sox reliever Cody Heuer. The Red Sox beat Chicago, 7-4, in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park, and improved to 10-4.
The White Sox struck first against Boston starter Nick Pivetta, who walked back-to-back hitters in the first before Jose Abreu (RBI double) and Yermín Mercedes (RBI groundout) gave Chicago a 2-0 lead. The Red Sox tied it up on sacrifice flies by Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers in the third inning then took the lead when Kiké Hernández drove in Kevin Plawecki with a single in the sixth.
Chicago took advantage of some sloppy defense a half-inning later, as Tim Anderson scored on a Yoan Moncada sacrifice fly after Kevin Plawecki airmailed Xander Bogaerts trying to throw him out on a stolen base attempt at second base.
Gonzalez, who came to the plate hitless in three plate appearances, led off the eighth by driving a Heuer sinker over the bullpens in right field to put the Red Sox up, 4-3. Boston then broke things open a bit with three insurance runs as J.D. Martinez worked a bases loaded walk and Xander Bogaerts added a two-run, ground-rule double on a blooper to right field.
Chicago climbed within three on an Adam Eaton RBI double in the ninth; Matt Barnes then retired Moncada to secure the victory.
Pivetta, who was solid in his first two outings of the year, struggled with command, walking four and allowing four hits in just 3⅔ innings. Boston’s bullpen — led by Matt Andriese (three innings, zero earned runs) and Adam Ottavino (struck out the side in order in the eighth) — kept the ChiSox in check, allowing three hits in 5⅓ frames.
Hernández and Bogaerts each had four hits for the Red Sox, who totaled 13 in the win. Hernández was 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI and Bogaerts was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
After starting the year going 11-for-51, Hernández saw his average rise from .216 to .268 in one day. His last four-hit day came on Opening Day last season, when he went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs for the Dodgers against the Giants.
Ottavino bounces back
Ottavino bounced back nicely after surrendering a walk-off hit to Max Kepler in Boston’s loss to Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon. The righty — who entered Saturday with a 9.82 ERA in five outings — struck out all three batters he faced and tossed only 12 pitches. He got the win to improve to 2-1 on the year.
Doubleheader ahead on Sunday
The Red Sox and White Sox will play a split doubleheader Sunday afternoon after Friday’s postponement, with Game 1 scheduled for 1:10 p.m. and Game 2 starting at 5:10 p.m. Tanner Houck is expected to start the opener with Martín Pérez pitching the nightcap; former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel will start one of the games for Chicago.