Red Sox suffer first loss of spring despite 4 scoreless innings from Nathan Eovaldi and homers from Rafael Devers, Ryan Fitzgerald

The Red Sox suffered their first loss of the spring on Wednesday afternoon when they fell to the Twins by a final score of 10-4 at JetBlue Park.

Despite dropping to 6-1 in Grapefruit League play, there were still plenty of positives to take away from Wednesday’s contest. For starters, Nathan Eovaldi looked as dominant as ever in his second start of the spring.

The veteran right-hander plunked the very first man he faced in Byron Buxton, but that was negated immediately when Christian Vazquez threw out the speedy outfielder as he attempted to steal second base. Eovaldi then retired the next 11 batters he faced in order while striking out six and walking none over four scoreless, no-hit innings.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 52, Eovaldi is in line to make three more starts this spring before Opening Day on April 7. The 32-year-old hurler has allowed a total of two runs through his first two outings of the year.

In relief of Eovaldi, Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the fifth inning. Things did not go as well for Brasier as they did for Eovaldi, as the righty reliever gave up four straight hits (including an RBI single to Ryan Jeffers and three-run home run to Trevor Larnach to put his side in a 4-0 hole.

Brasier at the very least recorded the first two outs of the inning before making way for Franklin German, who punched out the only batter he faced in Buxton to retire the side.

The sixth inning belonged to Rafael Devers. One day after agreeing to a $11.2 million salary for the 2022 season, the All-Star third baseman guided Jay Groome through a perfect top half by robbing Miguel Sano of a potential one-out double down the left field line. He then led off the bottom half by clubbing a solo home run off Twins reliever Jake Faria.

Devers’ first big fly of the spring cut Minnesota’s lead down to three runs at 4-1. Following a 1-2-3 top of the seventh from Michael Feliz, Ryan Fitzgerald made things even more interesting by crushing a game-tying, three-run homer to right field off of Faria.

Fitzgerald’s team-leading third home run of the spring knotted things up at four runs apiece heading into the eighth inning for Connor Seabold.

Seabold, who is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, struggled with his command in his 2022 debut. The 26-year-old right-hander walked the first two Twins he faced before yielding an RBI double to Dennis Ortega and a two-run single to Nick Gordon. He then walked Aaron Sabato to put runners at first and second with no outs, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to turn to Tyler Danish.

Danish proceeded to loaded the bases before allowing three additional two runs (two inherited) to score on a sacrifice fly and two-run double. That sequence gave the Twins a commanding 10-4 lead, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

Christian Arroyo was originally slated to start at second base for the Red Sox on Wednesday but was scratched from the lineup due to a right thumb contusion. It is not believed to be a serious injury.

Coming into Wednesday, Red Sox pitchers this spring had allowed a total of 11 runs in six Grapefruit League games. They gave up 10 runs as a team on Wednesday.

All four runs the Red Sox scored on Wednesday came from the No.2 spot in the lineup. Devers got things started with his solo home run in the sixth and Fitzgerald, who came on as a defensive replacement for Devers at third base, followed suit with his three-run blast in the seventh.

Fitzgerald has appeared in all seven of Boston’s spring training games and is currently batting .364/.462/1.182 with three home runs, seven RBIs, three runs scored, one stolen base, two walks, and two strikeouts across 13 trips to the plate.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Zimmermanm

The Red Sox will travel to Sarasota on Thursday evening to take on the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Nick Pivetta is slated to make his second start of the spring for Boston after striking out five in his 2022 debut last Saturday. The right-hander will be opposed by Baltimore left-hander Bruce Zimmermann.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised, but only on MASN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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