The ball was once again flying out of Fenway Park on Wednesday night as the Red Sox bounced back with a series-clinching win over the Astros. Boston defeated Houston by a final score of 5-1 to improve to 15-22 on the season.
After Nick Pivetta surrendered a leadoff home run to Jose Altuve, the Sox lineup quickly responded by scoring two runs in their half of the first inning. Matched up against Jose Garcia, Rafael Devers ripped a one-out triple down the right field line and scored from third on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly that nearly left the yard.
Xander Bogaerts followed by actually leaving the yard, as he crushed a Garcia cutter 358 feet over the Green Monster for his fourth home run of the season. Fast forward to the third, Enrique Hernandez led off by reaching base on a fielding error and scoring all the way from first on a wallball double off the bat of Devers.
An inning later, Trevor Story drew a leadoff walk and moved up to second when Franchy Cordero reached base on an Altuve fielding error. Both runners were driven in on back-to-back run-scoring singles from Christian Vazquez and Hernandez, which gave the Red Sox a commanding 5-1 lead.
Pivetta, meanwhile, had settled in nicely after giving up that leadoff homer to Altuve. In what was his eighth start of the season for Boston, the right-hander retired 18 consecutive batters at one point before yielding a leadoff double to Michael Brantley in the top of the seventh. He stranded Brantley on second and then sat down the side in order in the eighth.
Coming back out for the ninth, Pivetta put the finishing touches on a complete game two-hitter as well as a 5-1 win with yet another scoreless frame. He becomes the first Red Sox starter to record an out in both the eighth and ninth inning of a game this season.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 112 (78 strikes), Pivetta wound up allowing just one earned run on two hits, no walks, and eight strikeouts over eight solid innings of work. It is the second complete game of the 29-year-old’s career.
The Red Sox have now won their last two series. While Martinez saw his hitting streak come to an end, Devers extended his to 12 consecutive games. Pivetta, on the other hand, picked up his first home win of the year while lowering his ERA on the season to 4.22.
Next up: Welcoming in the Mariners
The Red Sox will next welcome the Mariners into town for the start of a four-game weekend series on Thursday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will be getting the start for Boston while rookie right-hander George Kirby will be doing the same for Seattle.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.
(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)