Given the circumstances — a grinding weekend in the Bronx, a light flight home after playing Sunday night, etc. — the Red Sox very well could have thrown in the towel on Monday (a day they originally had off) and looked ahead to this week’s series against the Houston Astros.
Instead, the Sox made up the finale of their series against the Marlins that got rained out on May 30 and came away with a 5-3 win over Miami to finish off the three-game sweep at Fenway Park.
It certainly was no easy task, but Boston improved to 37-23 on the season in the process of extending their winning streak to five consecutive games. They also moved to within a half game of the Rays, who were idle on Monday, for first place in the American League East.
Bogaerts’ early hustle pays off
Matched up against rookie right-hander Zach Thompson for the Marlins on Monday, Xander Bogaerts got the scoring started for the Sox by lacing a two-out single to left field in the bottom half of the first.
After advancing all the way to third on a Rafael Devers double, Bogaerts again put his speed on full display when he scored from third on a wild pitch that gave the Red Sox an immediate 1-0 lead.
Arroyo provides spark out of leadoff spot
Fast forward to the third inning, and Christian Arroyo got a productive day at the plate started while batting out of the leadoff spot by ripping a leadoff ground-rule double off Thompson and was driven in on an RBI double off the bat of Alex Verdugo moments later. 2-0 Boston.
In the fourth, the Sox took full advantage of Marlins reliever Zach Pop, with Kevin Plawecki and Enrique Hernandez collecting back-to-back one-out singles off the right-hander before Arroyo drove both runners in on a two-run base hit to the opposite field.
Verdugo followed by pulling yet another single to right field, which subsequently allowed Arroyo to score from second on account of a throwing error committed by Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall. That sequence put the Red Sox up by four runs at 5-1.
On the day, Arroyo went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, two RBI, and a walk. He is now batting .301 this season.
Pivetta can’t get through five full innings
Nick Pivetta made his 12th start of the season for the Red Sox on Monday, and this outing was perhaps more of a grind than any other thus far.
That being the case because the right-hander was unable to make it until the end of the fifth inning, and instead saw his day come to an end when Alex Cora came to get him with one out still to get in the top of the fifth.
Over those 4 2/3 frames of work, Pivetta yielded two earned runs on seven hits and three walks to go along with six strikeouts on the evening.
The first of those two Miami runs came in the fourth, when Pivetta allowed a one-out RBI single to Jorge Alfaro, but escaped any further damage by inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The second of those Miami runs came an inning later, when Pivetta served up a towering, 427 foot solo shot to Starling Marte to cut the Sox’ lead down to three runs.
A two-out walk issued to Garrett Cooper in the fifth would be how Pivetta’s outing came to a close, one out short of being in line for the winning decision.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (54 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 59% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 97.4 mph with the pitch.
Later hit with the no-decision while slightly elevating his ERA to 3.78 on the season, Pivetta’s next start should come against the Blue Jays on Saturday.
A busy day for the Red Sox bullpen
In relief of Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock got the first call out of a shorthanded Red Sox bullpen due to what transpired against the Yankees over the weekend.
Whitlock, in the shortest outing of his career to date, was summoned to retire Adam Duvall, which he did on two pitches to get out of the jam in the fifth.
From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the first two hitters he faced in the sixth, but was unable to finish the inning and instead had to be lifted for Hirokazu Sawamura.
Sawamura loaded the bases on a four-pitch walk of Starling Marte and followed with an emphatic five-pitch strikeout of the dangerous Jesus Aguilar on a nasty 94 mph splitter to keep the Marlins at bay. The Japanese right-hander also worked a scoreless top half of the seventh.
Josh Taylor took over in the eighth, but he too made way for another reliever — Adam Ottavino — after getting the first two outs of the inning.
With Matt Barnes unavailable after being used in all three games in New York, Ottavino was tasked with closing this out.
The veteran righty obliged, but not before the Marlins made things interesting by plating a run and bringing the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs in the ninth.
Matched up against Jorge Alfaro, Ottavino got the Marlins backstop to ground out to third and notched his third save of the season as a result of preserving the 5-3 victory for his side.
Some notes from this win:
Christian Arroyo in five games this month:
.438 (7-for-16)/.471/.750 with one home run, two doubles, five RBI, four runs scored, one walk, and four strikeouts.
From Red Sox Notes:
Next up: First of three against Astros
The Red Sox will welcome the Marlins into town for the first of a three-game series that begins at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Framber Valdez will do the same for Houston.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)