Red Sox call up Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester to serve as 27th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader against Blue Jays

The Red Sox have called up catcher Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester to serve as their 27th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park, the team announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Wong will serve as catching depth behind Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki for both of Boston’s games against Toronto, though it seems more likely that he could be used off the bench as a pinch-runner if needed.

Wednesday’s twin bill will mark Wong’s second big-league stint of the season with the Sox, as the 25-year-old made his major-league debut back on June 22 and spent a little over two weeks with the club before being optioned back to Worcester on July 8.

Appearing in four games over that span, Wong — who is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 catching prospect in Boston’s farm system — went 3-for-11 (.273) at the plate with one double, two runs scored, and seven strikeouts in place of an injured Plawecki.

As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, Wong “will likely be sent back to the WooSox on Thursday.”

Wong will start the first installment of Wednesday’s doubleheader on the bench for the Red Sox, with Vazquez getting the start behind the plate and Plawecki serving as the club’s designated hitter.

Garrett Richards, meanwhile, will make his 20th start of the season for Boston. He will be opposed by veteran lefty Robbie Ray, who will be doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch of Game 1 Wednesday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Game 2 will follow at approximately 7:10 p.m.

(Picture of Connor Wong: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game postponed due to severe weather conditions in the Fenway area

For the second straight week, a Tuesday night game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Last week’s game was postponed on account of thunderstorms in the Buffalo-area, while this week’s game was postponed because of severe weather conditions in the vicinity of Fenway Park.

Tuesday’s rained-out contest will be made up as part of a split, seven-inning doubleheader at Fenway Park on Wednesday, July 28, with the day cap scheduled to begin at 2:10 p.m. eastern time and the night cap taking place at approximately 7:10 p.m. eastern time.

The Red Sox won the first game of their four-game series against the Blue Jays by a final score of 5-4 on Monday night.

Right-hander Garrett Richards was slated to make his 20th start of the season for Boston on Tuesday, while left-hander Robbie Ray was in line to do the same for Toronto.

Instead, those two veteran hurlers will start the first game of Wednesday’s twin bill, with Sox righty Tanner Houck matching up against Jays lefty Steven Matz in the second game.

First pitch of the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader is once again scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo’s clutch two-run homer lifts Red Sox to 5-4 comeback victory over Blue Jays

Alex Verdugo certainly made his first home run since June 15 count on a hazy Monday night at Fenway Park.

With the Red Sox trailing the Blue Jays, 4-3, in the late stages of the eighth inning, Verdugo came to the plate representing the potential go-ahead run with one out and a runner on first in the form of Hunter Renfroe.

Matched up against Jays reliever Trevor Richards, the left-handed hitter got ahead in the count at 3-1 before taking the fifth pitch he saw — an 85 mph changeup over the outer half of the plate — and depositing it 414 feet over everything in right field.

Verdugo’s 10th homer of the season, which left his bat with an exit velocity of 101.1 mph, was quite a dramatic one, as it allowed Boston to pick up a 5-4 win over Toronto, marking the club’s 33rd comeback victory of the year.

Before Verdugo’s late-game heroics, it was Nick Pivetta who made his 20th start of the season for the Sox on Monday.

As has been the case since right before the All-Star break, Pivetta certainly was not at his best in this one. Over 4 2/3 innings of work, the right-hander surrendered four runs — all of which were earned on six hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Pivetta was gifted an early two-run lead, as Verdugo and Michael Chavis got the Sox on the board first with an RBI single and RBI groundout off Blue Jays starter Thomas Hatch in the bottom of the second, but he gave up that lead by issuing back-to-back run-scoring base hits to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien a half inning later.

Rafael Devers pushed Boston back in front by a run by crushing his 27th big fly of the year — a 392-foot solo shot — off Hatch in the third, and Pivetta nearly got through five innings before running into some two-out trouble.

After giving up a leadoff ground-rule double to George Springer in the fifth, Pivetta responded by recording the first two outs of the inning rather quickly.

Just one out away from stranding a runner in scoring position, Pivetta served up a two-run homer to Bo Bichette on a 1-1, 89 mph changeup on the inner half of the plate that he sent over the Green Monster to put his side up a run at 4-3.

That would turn out be how Pivetta’s night came to a close, as Red Sox manager Alex Cora quickly exited the dugout to give him the hook. The 28-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 92 (59 strikes) in the process of raising his ERA on the season to 4.51.

In relief of Pivetta, Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Boston bullpen and picked up where he left off on Friday by getting through the fifth, tossing a 1-2-3 sixth, and stranding a pair in a scoreless seventh inning to keep the deficit at just one run.

From there, Adam Ottavino maneuvered his way around a one-out double in an otherwise clean eighth inning, setting up the Red Sox lineup to strike in their half of the frame.

By drawing a one-out walk off Richards, Renfroe broke up a string of nine straight Red Sox hitters to be retired by Blue Jays relievers, and Verdugo followed by delivering in the clutch with his two-run, go-ahead homer.

Given a one-run lead to protect all of the sudden, Red Sox closer Matt Barnes was deployed for the ninth and slammed the door on the Jays to notch his 22nd second save of the season as well as a 5-4 victory for his side.

With the win, the Sox improve to 62-39 on the year while also moving to 1 1/2 games up on the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Ray vs. Richards

Tuesday’s starting pitching matchup between the Blue Jays and Red Sox will feature a pair of veteran hurlers going at it, with left-hander Robbie Ray toeing the rubber for Toronto and right-hander Garrett Richards will be doing the same for Boston.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kiké Hernández earns American League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernández has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week of July 19-25, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Hernández becomes the second member of the Red Sox to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining J.D. Martinez — who did so in early April.

On the National League side of things, Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor — a former teammate of Hernández — was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after he posted an OPS of 1.433 in seven games against the Giants and Rockies.

In six games against the Blue Jays and Yankees this past week, Hernández went 10-for-25 (.400/.448/1.000) at the plate with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, and eight runs scored over 29 plate appearances while playing second base, shortstop, and center field.

The 29-year-old began his week with his first multi-homer game of the year in Buffalo, then came through in the clutch on more than one occasion at Fenway Park while the Yankees were in town.

On Thursday, with his side down to their final out and trailing 3-1 in the late stages of the ninth inning, Hernández laced a game-tying, two-run double off the Green Monster that scored both Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran to knot things up at three runs a piece and set the Red Sox off for a walk-off 5-4 win in the 10th.

On Sunday, Hernández took center stage in the eighth inning of Boston’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over New York, as he ripped an RBI double off Yankees reliever Zack Britton that brought in Christian Vazquez to cut the Sox’ deficit down to one run and later scored what would turn out to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Including what he has done over his last six games, Hernández is now slashing .244/.322/.467 (111 wRC+) to go along with 14 home runs and 39 RBI over 84 total games (357 plate appearances) in his first season with the Red Sox.

Hernández, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with Boston in February, has proven to be a valuable component of what the club is trying to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.

Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitter out of Puerto Rico ranks 20th among qualified American League position players in fWAR (2.4) while leading all AL center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (12), per FanGraphs.

The fact that Hernández has been as solid as he has been at center field this season speaks to just how versatile he is, as he originally signed with the Sox to be the club’s everyday second baseman.

That being said, Hernández — who turns 30 in late August — will make just his second start and fifth overall appearance at shortstop in place of Xander Bogaerts in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

First pitch between the 61-39 Red Sox and 49-46 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Devlin Granberg lighting it up at the plate since promotion to Double-A Portland

Chris Sale understandably stole the headlines in Portland on Sunday afternoon, but it was Devlin Granberg who ultimately played the hero for the Sea Dogs in their 6-5 walk-off victory over the Harrisburg Senators at Hadlock Field.

As part of a 3-for-5 day at the plate, Granberg reached base on a fielding error in the third inning and ultimately came into score on a two-run home run off the bat of Tyreque Reed, laced an RBI single in the fifth that at the time gave the Sea Dogs a 5-3 lead, and came through with the hit of the game in the bottom of the 10th.

There, with no outs and the automatic runner at second base to begin each extra inning in a 5-5 contest, Granberg wasted no time in sending that runner home.

Matched up against Senators reliever Jhon Romero, the right-handed hitter ripped the game-winning single to right-center field that drove in Pedro Castellanos and sealed a 6-5 win for the Sea Dogs to mark their third straight walk-off victory.

In racking up three more hits on Sunday, Granberg bumped his batting line on the season with Portland up to an impressive .345/.363/.564.

Granberg, 25, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2018 amateur draft as a senior out of Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas.

The 6-foot-2, 225 pound first baseman/outfielder opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Greenville and tore the cover off the ball, slashing .326/.416/.642 (178 wRC+) to go along with seven doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 21 runs scored, 29 RBI, one stolen base, 12 walks, and 16 strikeouts over 27 games (113 plate appearances) for the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland on June 16.

Sunday marked Granberg’s 28th game with the Sea Dogs, and the level of production the soon-to-be 26-year-old put up while in Greenville has hardly dropped off at all since he moved up the minor-league ladder.

As previously mentioned, the Hudson, Colo. native is now hitting .345/.363/.564 with seven doubles, one triple, five homers, 21 runs scored, 22 RBI, three stolen bases, three walks, and 22 strikeouts as a member of the Sea Dogs. In the month of July alone, he has posted a slash line of .370/.395/.616 and has hit four of his five home runs within the last 25 days.

To put it simply, Granberg is enjoying a breakout season of sorts in his second full year of pro ball. He may not be regarded as one of the top 30 or so prospects in Boston’s farm system, but he has caught the attention of some within the industry, such as FanGraphs‘ David Laurila.

In a conversation with Laurila earlier this month, Granberg delved into several aspects of his approach at the plate, including his unique swing that describes as short and compact as well as very direct to the ball.

“I’ve got one of the more interesting swings out there,” Granberg said. “It’s not very conventional. I would say it’s pretty rotational, yet not totally rotational. It’s kind of like those combo swings — not too crouched, maybe a little bit open, and then I stride into it. I’m trying to hit the ball middle/opposite field most of the time.”

Granberg, who turns 26 in early September, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline.

(Picture of Devlin Granberg: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox storm back with 5-run 8th inning to take series from Yankees in dramatic 5-4 victory

After figuratively getting their hearts ripped out in a 4-3 loss on Saturday, it appeared as though the Red Sox were well on their way to dropping their second straight to the Yankees at Fenway Park on Sunday.

Yankees starter Domingo German absolutely dominated the Sox lineup through the first seven innings of Sunday’s contest, as he failed to yield a single hit while only allowing a pair of base runners on a walk and passed ball on a strikeout.

In addition to not being able to get anything done offensively, Boston found themselves in a four-run hole through the first 7 1/2 innings in their series finale against New York.

Red Sox starter Martin Perez had pitched well enough opposite German, giving up three runs on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over six solid innings of work thanks to a pair of double plays.

In relief of Perez, however, Yacksel Rios came on in the seventh and struggled mightily with his control, as he walked two batters and plunked another to load the bases before Josh Taylor was deployed and got through the rest of the innins unscathed.

Brandon Workman, meanwhile, saw the Yankees’ three-run lead increase to four in the eighth by serving up a leadoff triple to Gary Sanchez that was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Gleyber Torres.

So, there the Red Sox were, trailing by four runs with just nine more outs to work with against an opposing pitcher they had yet to record a hit off of.

Somehow, someway, Boston’s fortunes changed in their half of the eighth, as Alex Verdugo led things off with a hard-hit double to right field that saw German’s no-hit bid end and his day subsequently come to a close.

Matched up against Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga now, Hunter Renfroe put an end to New York’s attempt at a shutout, as he laced another line-drive double that brought in Verdugo from second to make it a 4-1 game.

Christian Vazquez kept the line moving, plating Renfroe on an RBI single to right field and moving into scoring position on another base hit courtesy of Franchy Cordero.

Following a brief mound visit as the Boston lineup flipped back over, Kiké Hernández got ahead in the count against Loaisiga at 2-0 and took full advantage of that by ripping a run-scoring double down the left field line that drove in Vazquez, cutting the deficit down to one run at 4-3.

With the Yankees opting to go with left-hander Zack Britton out of the bullpen in place of Loaisiga, Red Sox manager Alex Cora countered by pinch-hitting Kevin Plawecki for the left-handed hitting Jarren Duran.

Plawecki answered the call accordingly, scoring Cordero from third on a game-tying RBI groundout that also advanced Hernández up to third base, though he did not stay there long.

Yes, with a sacrifice fly hit just deep enough to right field, Xander Bogaerts was able to drive in a sliding Hernández from third to give his side their first lead of the afternoon at 5-4.

Given the fact that there was now a one-run lead to protect, Matt Barnes got the call for the ninth inning and promptly slammed the door on the Yankees to seal the comeback 5-4 victory for the Red Sox as well as his 21st save of the season.

With the win, their 32nd of the come-from-behind variety, the Red Sox secured a series victory and the season series with the Yankees to improve to 61-39 on the season. They also regained a one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays

The Red Sox will next welcome the Blue Jays into town for a four-game series that begins on Monday night.

Canadian-born right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while Toronto has yet to name a starter.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández and Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chris Sale punches out 9 over 3 2/3 innings in second rehab start for Double-A Portland; left-hander in line to start for Triple-A Worcester on July 31

Red Sox ace Chris Sale completed his third rehab start and his second for Double-A Portland at a sold-out Hadlock Field on Sunday afternoon.

Matched up against the Harrisburg Senators — the same team he faced on Tuesday — Sale yielded two earned runs on six hits, no walks, and one hit batsman to go along with nine strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work for the Sea Dogs.

The veteran left-hander was slated to pitch four or five frames depending on his pitch count, but a laborious third inning that required 28 pitches ultimately cut his day short.

After maneuvering his way around a two-out double in an otherwise clean first inning and striking out the side while stranding a runner in the second, Sale ran into a bit of trouble in the top half of the third.

There, he served up a leadoff home run to the Senators’ No. 9 hitter in Osvaldo Duarte before giving up a double and bunt single. Two straight punchouts brought the lefty to within one out of escaping the jam, but he plunked a batter to load the bases.

With two outs and the bases full in the third, Sale fanned Jackson Cluff on a swing-inducing slider to get out of the inning and then recorded the first two outs of the fourth before a two-out double marked the unofficial end of his outing.

In relief of Sale, Sea Dogs reliever Dominic LaBrutto allowed the lone runner he inherited to score on an RBI single, thus officially closing the book on Sale’s afternoon.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (46 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler wound up retiring 11 of the 18 hitters he faced, as he hovered around 94-95 mph with his four-seam fastball and topped out at 96 mph with it while mixing in his slider and changeup as well.

For Sale, Sunday’s performance marked yet another milestone on his road back from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent nearly 16 months ago on March 30, 2020 — his 31st birthday.

In the time since undergoing that procedure to repair his UCL last spring, the 6-foot-6 southpaw has now made three rehab starts between the Florida Complex League Red Sox and Sea Dogs dating back to July 15. He has seen his pitch count rise from 39 to 49 to 64 in each of those outings.

Assuming he wakes up without issue Monday morning, Sale will be in line to make his next rehab start for Triple-A Worcester next Saturday, July 31, as the WooSox will be taking on the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park.

There is a slight chance that could be Sale’s last minor-league start before he re-joins Boston’s major-league rotation, though Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush recently told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that the club wants the seven-time All-Star to be at a point where he contribute five to six innings on 80 or so pitches every five days prior to him being activated off the injured list.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Franchy Cordero set to make first career major-league start at first base in Sunday’s series finale against Yankees

Are you ready? Because Franchy Cordero is making his first career major-league start at first base for the Red Sox in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Cordero, who was recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Thursday, went 0-for-1 with two walks in his return to the Boston lineup in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to New York while starting in right field and batting eighth in Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup.

The 26-year-old will get the start at first base while batting ninth to close out the weekend for the Sox in the club’s 100th game of the season.

In his time with Worcester, Cordero did see the majority of his playing time come in the outfield, but he did make six starts at first base and did not commit a single error in the 33 innings he played at the position.

One of five players the Red Sox acquired as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals, the 6-foot-3, 226 pound left-handed hitter was originally signed by the Padres as a shortstop coming out of the Dominican in November 2011.

He played in 165 games at shortstop at the minor-league level as well as one at third base, but has been used strictly as an outfielder since making his big-league debut for San Diego in May 2017.

As he prepares to make his first-ever start at first base at the major-league level, Cordero will be going up against an opposing starting pitcher he has never faced before in the form of Yankees right-hander Domingo German.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up ahead of Cordero and behind left-hander Martin Perez on Sunday, who will be making his 20th start of the season for Boston.

First pitch between the 51-46 Yankees and 60-39 Red Sox is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS, weather permitting.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Adam Ottavino blows save against former team as Red Sox waste Nathan Eovaldi’s gem, drop heartbreaker to Yankees, 4-3

The Red Sox appeared to be well on their way to a series-clinching victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday evening, until the eighth inning happened.

Nathan Eovaldi had allowed just one earned run over 7 2/3 innings of work and handed things over to the bullpen with the Red Sox up 3-1 and needing just one more out to get through the top of the eighth.

Adam Ottavino came on in relief of Eovaldi, inheriting a situation in which New York had one runner on first base with the middle portion of their lineup due to hit.

The former Yankees reliever gave up a ground-rule double to Giancarlo Stanton that left the slugger’s bat at just 70.3 mph, but put runners at second and third for Rougned Odor, who cleared the bases on another two-base hit that knotted things up at three runs apiece.

Gleyber Torres followed by driving in Odor on a go-ahead RBI single, and just like that, the Red Sox found themselves trailing for the first time all day at 4-3.

Ottavino wound up getting charged with the loss and blown save, as the Sox fell to the Yankees in gut-wrenching fashion by a final score of 4-3.

Eovaldi’s strong start goes for naught

Eovaldi, making his 20th start of the season for Boston, was in cruise control through most of his outing on Saturday.

With the benefit of some early run support, the veteran right-hander put up seven consecutive scoreless frames to begin his day, never facing more than four Yankees in a single inning while retiring 20 of the first 25 batters he faced.

The eighth inning presented a different challenge for Eovaldi, though, as he served up a leadoff double to Estevan Florial and later let that runner score by giving up a two-out RBI single to Brett Gardner, which would be how his outing came to an end.

In came Ottavino after Eovaldi got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and the righty allowed the lone runner he inherited to score before yielding two more runs of his own on three straight two-out hits that was capped off by Torres’ game-winning single.

As a result of how the top of the eighth inning ended for Boston, Eovaldi wound up surrendering two earned runs on seven hits, zero walks, and eight strikeouts over his 7 2/3 innings pitched. Of the 100 pitches the 31-year-old hurler threw, 82 — or 82% of them — went for strikes.

Red Sox offense gets on the board early, then sputters

Opposite Eovaldi to begin things in Saturday’s contest was fellow Houston-area native Jameson Taillon for New York.

Matched up against Taillon for a third time this season, the Sox scored early and often off of the right-hander.

Before the first out of the first inning could even be recorded, Kiké Hernández led off by lacing a hard-hit triple off the Green Monster. Upon reaching third base via a head-first slide, Hernández was able to score on an errant throw to third from Odor, giving the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Kevin Plawecki doubled that advantage in the bottom of the second, as he drove in J.D. Martinez on an RBI double that left the backstop’s bat at an impressive 105.7 mph.

In the third, Jarren Duran’s elite speed on the base paths proved to be an effective weapon, with him reaching first and advancing to second on a ground ball that eluded Odor at second base and made its way to the outfield.

After advancing to third on a Xander Bogaerts groundout, Duran scored easily on a sacrifice fly from Rafael Devers, earning Devers his team-leading 80th RBI of the season to put the Sox up 3-0.

While it seemed like the Boston bats had Taillon’s number, the New York starter was able to settle in to the point where he held the opposition in check to the tune of seven quality innings of work in which only one of the three runs he gave up was earned.

Sox threaten late, but to no avail

Moments after the Red Sox saw the last of Taillon Saturday, the Yankees put together a four-run rally in their half of the eighth and essentially turned this game on its head in the process of doing so.

Finding themselves down by one all of the sudden, Boston threatened with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, as back-to-back singles from Bogaerts and Devers put runners at the corners for Martinez.

Martinez, matched up against Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga, proceeded to rip a 90.3 mph line drive to right field, but it was one that was caught by Greg Allen to retire the side.

In the ninth, with struggling closer Aroldis Chapam on the mound for New York, the Sox nearly manufactured another late two-out rally, with Hunter Renfroe — pinch-hitting for Franchy Cordero — drew a two-out walk and Christian Vazquez — pinch-hitting for Michael Chavis — followed with a ground-rule double.

That dramatic sequence put the potential tying run at third base and the potential winning run at second base with two outs for Hernández, but he fell victim to a five-pitch strikeout that sealed a dispiriting 4-3 defeat for the Sox.

With the loss, the Red Sox see their four-game winning streak come to an end as they drop to 60-39 on the season.

The Rays, meanwhile, topped the Indians by a final score of 8-2 in their game on Saturday, meaning Tampa Bay and Boston will be tied atop of the American League East standings going into Sunday’s action.

Next up: Game No. 100

The Red Sox will play their 100th game of the 2021 season on Sunday afternoon as they go for the series victory over the Yankees.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to get the ball for Boston in the weekend finale, while right-hander Domingo German is lined up to do the same for New York.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Adam Ottavino: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers leads the way with 2-homer, 5-RBI night as Red Sox come back to top Yankees, 6-2

On a night where they lost starter Eduardo Rodriguez due to migraine symptoms early on, the Red Sox were still able to get it done against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Friday.

Powered by eight strong innings from the bullpen and a two-home run, five-RBI night from Rafael Devers, Boston defeated New York by a final score of 6-2 to take the first two games of this four-game weekend series.

Rodriguez, in what was his 19th start of the season, was forced to exit this contest in just the second inning because of migraine-related issues.

The left-hander had just yielded an RBI double to Brett Gardner with no outs in the second, and went into a crouch shortly thereafter before being visited by Red Sox manager Alex Cora, pitching coach Dave Bush, trainers, and his teammates on the mound.

After a few short moments, Rodriguez headed to the Sox dugout as his outing came to a premature close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 25 (16 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler wound up surrendering one earned run on two hits and one walk to go along with one strikeout over one-plus inning of work.

In relief of Rodriguez, Phillips Valdez — who was just recalled from Triple-A Worcester earlier in the day — was forced into an emergency spot, and he did his job, and then some.

Making his first major-league appearance since June 9, Valdez escaped a bases-loaded jam to get out of the top of the second unscathed before stringing together two additional scoreless frames in which he recorded a career-best seven strikeouts.

Yacksel Rios took over for Valdez in the fifth, and he put up another zero to keep his side within one run at the midway point.

That would prove to be fruitful for the Red Sox lineup, who at that point had been held in check by Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. Kiké Hernández led things off with a hard-hit single in the bottom half of the fifth, and Jarren Duran followed by lacing a line-drive, ground-rule double into the triangle to put runners in scoring position for Bogaerts.

Bogaerts delivered with an RBI sacrifice fly that was hit just deep enough to right field to bring in Hernández from third and knot things up at 1-1, while Devers kicked off his brilliant night by clubbing a go-ahead two-run home run to deep center field — giving the Sox a 3-1 lead in the process of doing so.

Rios continued to keep the Yankees off the board in the sixth, as did Garrett Whitlock in the seventh to set the top half of the Sox lineup for success once more.

In the bottom of the seventh, matched up against New York reliever Nestor Cortes, back-to-back one-out singles from Hernández and Duran put runners at first and second with two outs for a red-hot Devers.

On the second pitch he saw from Cortes, a 1-0, 77 mph curveball at the top of the zone, Devers clobbered his second homer of the evening, with this one traveling 397 feet to center field with an exit velocity of 103 mph.

Devers’ second home run of the night, which was also his 26th of the season and the 100th of his major-league career, essentially put this one to bed, as it pushed the Red Sox’ advantage to five runs at 6-1.

From there, Darwinzon Hernandez maneuvered his way around a walk and a hit batsman in a scoreless top of the eighth, while Brandon Workman allowed one run, but otherwise shut the door on the Yankees to preserve a 6-2 victory for Boston.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 60-38 on the season to maintain their one game lead over the Rays as well as the best record in the American League. They also extended their winning streak to three consecutive games.

Next up: Taillon vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox will look to extend that winning streak to four straight ballgames as they go for the series victory over the Yankeeson Saturday afternoon.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon will get the ball for New York, while Boston will counter with fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and FS1.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)