Red Sox get swept by Pirates after losing, 4-1, in series finale

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon. In sloppy fashion, Boston dropped its third straight to Pittsburgh at Fenway Park to fall to 2-4 on the season.

Corey Kluber, making his second start of the year for the Sox, was able to bounce back from a poor 2023 debut on Opening Day. Despite dealing with chilly conditions yet again, the veteran right-hander held the Pirates to just one run on three hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

After working his way around a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first, Kluber settled in nicely by retiring the side in order in both the second and third innings. The lone run he surrendered came in the fourth, when Carlos Santana led off by clubbing a 340-foot solo shot down the right field line to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

Again, though, Kluber did not falter. He sat down the next six batters he faced after giving up that homer to Santana to get through five one-run frames. Despite the fact that Kluber had only thrown 67 pitches (44 strikes) to that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora made the somewhat surprising decision to pull the 36-year-old hurler in favor of John Schreiber in the sixth. That is where things began to unravel for Boston.

Schreiber yielded two quick hits to Bryan Reynolds and Andrew McCutchen to put runners at second and third with no outs. Ke’Bryan Hayes then played Reynolds from third on a bunt single to double Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-0. An inning later, Kaleb Ort entered the game and gave up a leadoff double to Jason Delay. Delay then advanced to third when first baseman Triston Casas attempted to make a heads-up play by unsuccessfully throwing him out on a grounder off the bat of Oneil Cruz.

With one out and runners on the corners, Reynolds drove in Delay with a sacrifice fly to left field. Masataka Yoshida attempted to gun down Delay at home plate, but made an errant throw that allowed Cruz to move up to third as well. Two batters later, Santana plated Cruz with an RBI double down the right field line to make it a 4-0 contest in favor of the Pirates.

Trailing by four runs going into the latter half of the seventh, the Red Sox were finally able to get to Pirates starter Mitch Keller. After being held to just one hit through the first six innings, Casas ripped a two-out double to bring Christian Arroyo at the plate. Arroyo then pushed across Casas on an RBI single through the middle of the infield to cut the deficit to three.

Arroyo stole second base and advanced to third on a Raimel Tapia single. Cora then dipped into his bench by having Reese McGuire pinch-hit for Connor Wong. McGuire, representing the potential tying run, very nearly flipped the game on its head by lofting a deep fly ball towards the Pesky Pole in right field. The moonshot was initially called a three-run home run, but was later ruled foul following a video review. McGuire then went down looking at a 96 mph fastball from Keller, who extinguished the threat with his 107th and final pitch.

Richard Bleier and Zack Kelly combined for two scoreless innings of relief heading into the bottom of the ninth. Justin Turner led off with a single, but that was immediately snuffed out when Yoshida grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Casas then popped out on the first pitch he saw from Duane Underwood Jr. to end it.

All told, the Red Sox were held to just five hits in Wednesday’s loss, which took all of two hours and 32 minutes to complete. They also allowed two more stolen bases by way of a double steal in the ninth inning, meaning teams are now 14-for-14 on steal attempts against them through six games.

Next up: Sale starts first road game in Detroit

On the heels of a 2-4 homestand to begin the season, the Red Sox will now embark on a two-city, seven-game road trip that includes stops in Detroit and Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox will open a three-game series against the Tigers on Thursday afternoon. Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston opposite right-hander Spencer Turnbull in Detroit’s home opener.

First pitch from Comerica Park is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network. The two sides are then off on Friday and will resume the series on Saturday.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

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

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