Despite giving up just three hits over 10 innings, the Red Sox’ struggles at Fenway Park continued on Thursday with a 7-3 loss at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.
The Sox are now 12-8 on the season, 6-7 at home, and 3-5 in their last eight games coming off that nine-game winning streak earlier this month.
Nick Pivetta is not to blame for Boston’s second consecutive defeat. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and retired 16 of the first 17 hitters he faced Thursday before issuing a pair of two-out walks to J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger in the top half of the sixth.
Moments after walking Haniger, Pivetta surrendered his first hit — a two-run double off the bat of Ty France that appeared catchable for left fielder Franchy Cordero — and saw the Mariners take a 2-0 lead before France was tagged out between second and third base.
That would turn out to be Pivetta’s final inning. So over six frames of work in total, the 28-year-old yielded two runs on one hit, three walks, and four strikeouts. 55 of the 86 pitches he threw went for strikes.
His next start should come against the Mets in Queens on Wednesday.
Ottavino charged with blown save
After Matt Andriese tossed a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Pivetta, Adam Ottavino got the call for the top half of the eighth with a 3-2 lead to protect.
The veteran righty put the first two Mariners he faced in Luis Torrens and a pinch-hitting Jose Marmolejos on base via a pair of free passes.
Crawford, Seattle’s No. 9 hitter, followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt towards the left side of the infield. Ottavino fielded the ball rather quickly and attempted to make the throw to the third to get the lead runner out.
The throw instead got away from Ottavino, which allowed Sam Haggerty (pinch-running for Torrens) to score from third base and knot things up at three runs a piece.
Hernandez gives up three-run bomb in extras
Matt Barnes managed to hold the M’s at three runs and needed all of 12 pitches to toss a 1-2-3 top half of the ninth. But even after getting through that portion of the game rather effortlessly, Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Darwinzon Hernandez rather than Barnes for the 10th.
Hernandez, in turn, allowed the runner who starts each extra inning at second base to score on a sac bunt and an RBI double from Haggerty, then proceeded to walk Crawford with two outs as the Mariners lineup flipped back over.
As the adage goes, “walks will haunt.” And the walk to Crawford did indeed haunt Hernandez when he served up a three-run home run to Haniger moments later.
That three-run blast from Haniger put the Mariners up 7-3 and would prove to be the final dagger in this one.
Devers homers, but team’s offensive struggles continue
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn, who pitched at Boston College from 2014-2016 before getting drafted by the Mets.
Rafael Devers greeted Dunn by crushing a 427-foot solo home run to lead off the second inning to give the Sox a 1-0 advantage. His sixth homer of the season left his bat at 108.2 mph.
In the fourth, Devers would again prove to be the catalyst for more offensive production, as he led things off with a single and would later come in to score on an RBI knock off the bat of Hunter Renfroe.
Enrique Hernandez tacked on his side’s third run of the night when he led off the bottom of the seventh with a hard-hit triple off the Green Monster and scored from third on a wild pitch from Mariners reliever Casey Sadler.
At the time, Seattle’s blunder put the Sox up 3-2, but the Boston bats were unable to do anything from that point forward and wound up recording nine consecutive outs from the eighth inning on.
All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position Thursday.
Next up: Kikuchi vs. Perez
Friday’s pitching matchup between the Mariners and Red Sox will feature a pair of foreign-born southpaws.
Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be getting the ball for Seattle, and he will be opposed by Venezuelan left-hander Martin Perez for Boston.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)