The Red Sox returned home to Fenway Park for the first time in nearly two weeks on Tuesday and continued their winning ways with a series-opening win over the Athletics.
Boston defeated Oakland by a final score of 6-1 in a tidy two hours and 43 minutes to take the season series from the A’s and improve to 33-29 on the year.
Matched up against rookie left-hander Jared Koenig to begin things on Tuesday, Xander Bogaerts kicked off the scoring with a first-inning broken-bat RBI single to right field.
An inning later, Rob Refsnyder delivered with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that scored Christian Vazquez from third base. In the bottom of the third, J.D. Martinez clubbed his eighth home run of the season and his third in his last four games.
Rafael Devers’ doubled Boston’s advantage in the fourth. With runners on first and second and no outs in the inning, Devers took an 0-1, 88 mph sinker on the inner half of the plate from Koenig and crushed it 439 feet into the right field bleachers.
Devers’ team-leading 15th big fly of the year — a three-run blast that left his bat at a blistering 107.3 mph — gave the Sox a commanding 6-0 lead at the end of the four.
To that point in the contest, Nick Pivetta had been cruising right along in his 13th start of the season for Boston. The right-hander took a no-hit bid into the fourth inning before giving up a leadoff single to Tony Kemp. He then took a shutout bid into the eighth inning before yielding a leadoff home run to Stephen Vogt.
Pivetta did not let that rattle him, though, as he proceeded to retire the next (and final) three batters he faced to end his night on a solid note. Finishing with a final pitch count of 100 (67 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler wound up allowing just the one run on three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over eight strong innings of work.
Of the 100 pitches Pivetta threw, 55 were four-seam fastballs. He induced a game-high seven swings-and-misses with the pitch while topping out at 96.2 mph with it. He also lowered his ERA on the season down to 3.50.
In relief of Pivetta, Phillips Valdez received the first and only call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base, but closed it out from there to secure the 6-1 victory.
Next up: Kaprielian vs. Winckowski
The Red Sox will call up rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski to start the second game of this three-game set on Wednesday. The Athletics, on the other hand, will turn to fellow righty James Kaprielian.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers: Elsa/Getty Images)