Behind five strong innings from Nick Pivetta, the Red Sox snapped their three-game losing streak and secured their first win of the 2021 season following a 7-2 victory over the Rays on Monday.
Pivetta, making his 2021 debut, kept the Rays off the scoreboard while scattering just two hits and four walks to go along with four strikeouts over his five frames of work.
By the time the right-hander recorded his final out of the night to retire the side in the fifth, he had thrown 92 pitches, 52 of which went for strikes.
Of those 92 pitches, Pivetta relied on his four-seam fastball 46% of the time he was on the mound Monday. He topped out at 97.1 mph with his four-seamer and also induced seven swings-and-misses with his slider — a pitch he threw 38 times.
Ultimately picking up his first winning decision of the season later on in this one, the 28-year-old hurler is now 3-0 in three starts with the Sox since being acquired from the Phillies via trade last August. His next start should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Sunday.
In relief of Pivetta, Matt Andriese managed to keep Tampa Bay off the scoreboard into the sixth and seventh innings but ran into some trouble in the eighth when he filled the bases with just one out.
That predicament led to the veteran righty getting the hook in favor of Darwinzon Hernandez, though the left-hander did not fare much better considering the fact he walked in a pair of inherited runners.
While Hernandez did get the second out of the inning, the Sox still went back to their bullpen and brought in Adam Ottavino, who punched out Mike Brosseau on a nasty, knee-buckling slider to escape the jam.
Phillips Valdez, making his third appearance of the season already, wrapped things up by sitting down the only three hitters faced in the ninth.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox broke out of an offensive slump in tremendous way on Monday night.
Matched up against Rays right-hander Michael Wacha, Franchy Cordero got the scoring started for his side — and gave them their very first lead of the season — with a two-out, run-scoring double off the Green Monster to bring in Christian Vazquez.
Cordero struck again in the fourth, this time following up a Hunter Renfroe run-scoring sacrifice fly by plating Marwin Gonzalez to give Boston a 3-0 edge.
An inning later, Xander Bogaerts managed to drive in J.D. Martinez as well as himself on an RBI double that nearly left the yard.
While it was ruled a double, Bogaerts initially wound up at third on the throw home, then took off for home and scored when an errant throw from Rays catcher Mike Zunino landed in left field. That little-league home run gave the Sox a 5-0 lead.
Kiké Hernández and Alex Verdugo tacked on two additional insurance runs with an RBI double and sacrifice fly in the sixth, then the Boston bats exploded for four runs to blow this one open in the eighth.
Those four runs — all of which were scored off former Red Sox reliever Chris Mazza — came on a Verdugo run-scoring single and three-run, opposite field home run off the bat of Martinez.
Martinez’s second home run of the season traveled 326 feet before clanking off Pesky’s pole in shallow right field. It also gave the Sox a commanding 11-2 lead, which would go on to be Monday’s final score.
Some notes from this victory:
From Red Sox Notes:
Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena made one of the catches of the season in the fourth inning of Monday’s contest and robbed Hunter Renfroe of multiple bases — and multiple RBI — in the process of doing so.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Tuesday night. Left-hander Martin Perez will be making his first start of the season for Boston, and he will be opposed by right-hander Tyler Glasnow for Tampa Bay.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox going for their first series victory of the season.
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)