For the second straight night, the Red Sox were held to just four hits in a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Sox still found themselves in a position where they could steal a win from the first-place A’s in the bottom of the ninth inning.
There, Oakland reliever Jake Diekman walked two of the first three hitters he faced to put the tying and winning runs on base in Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts.
Both Verdugo and Bogaerts advanced into scoring position when Rafael Devers grounded into a force out for the second out of the frame, leaving the potential tying run just 90 feet away from scoring.
With the game in his hands, Christian Vazquez undramatically popped out to A’s first baseman Matt Olson in foul territory to strand Verdugo and Verdugo where they were and end things at 3-2.
With the loss (their second straight), the Sox fall to 22-15 on the season.
Sox bats held in check by Bassitt
The primary reason the Red Sox offense really could not get anything going on Tuesday was because of Athletics starter Chris Bassitt.
Coming into the day with a 3.70 ERA on the season, the veteran right-hander recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts while limiting Boston to just two runs on three hits in seven innings.
Interestingly enough, the Sox drew first blood in this one when after reaching base on a one-out single in the bottom of the first, Verdugo advanced to second and again to third on a pair of Bassitt wild pitches, which allowed the outfielder to easily score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.D. Martinez.
Eovaldi bounces back with solid outing
Given an early one-run lead to work with, Nathan Eovaldi rebounded nicely in his eighth start of the season for the Red Sox on Tuesday.
Over six innings of work, the right-hander allowed just one run on two hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.
The lone run he gave up came in the fourth when Olson got his side on the board with a one-out RBI single.
Besides that, though, Eovaldi did manage to retire seven of the final eight hitters he faced to lower his ERA on the season to 4.20.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (65 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing just one swing-and-miss while topping out at 99.3 mph with the pitch.
Later hit with the no-decision, Eovaldi’s next start should come against the Angels on Sunday.
Hernandez’s struggles at Fenway continue
In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the seventh inning of a 1-1 game.
Matched up against Oakland’s 4-5-6 hitters, Hernandez surrendered a leadoff walk to Olson before serving up a go-ahead, run-scoring single to Matt Chapman.
Adam Ottavino would have to come in to finish the seventh, but he allowed an inherited runner to score on an RBI single of his own to make it a 3-1 contest.
From there, Hirokazu Sawamura wrapped things up by tossing two scoreless frames of relief to hold the Athletics at three runs.
Devers hits ninth homer
After falling behind by two runs in the top of the seventh, Devers brought the Sox back to within one by crushing his ninth home run of the season — a 353-foot solo shot off Bassitt — to cut Boston’s deficit to 3-2, which would ultimately go on to be Tuesday’s final score.
Next up: Kaprielian vs. Rodriguez
The Red Sox will look to snap their two-game skid against the Athletics on Wednesday night back at Fenway.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making the start for Boston, and he will be opposed by rookie right-hander James Kaprielian for Oakland.
Kaprielian, 27, will be making his first career major-league start after debuting out of the bullpen with the A’s last season. The former Yankees prospect is probably best known for being part of the 2017 trade that sent right-hander Sonny Gray to New York.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)