Trevor Story homers again as Red Sox earn fourth straight series victory with convincing 16-7 win over White Sox

The Red Sox won their fourth straight series on Thursday with a 16-7 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Boston ends its brief three-game road trip by improving to 21-23 on the season.

Matched up against Dallas Keuchel out of the gate, Enrique Hernandez kicked things off with yet another leadoff home run that gave the Sox a 1-0 lead right away in the first inning. A Rafael Devers double and J.D. Martinez single then put runners on the corners for Trevor Story, who got his productive night at the plate started with an RBI single. Alex Verdugo followed with a run-scoring double that plated Martinez and made it a 3-0 game before Chicago even had a chance to step up to the plate.

An inning later, another Devers double and walk drawn by Martinez put two runners on for Story, who proceeded to deposit a Keuchel cutter 363 feet over the left field fence for a three-run blast. Story’s ninth home run of the season, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, put the Red Sox up 6-0 early on.

On the other side of things, Michael Wacha was making his seventh start of the season for Boston. The veteran right-hander retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into some trouble in the bottom half of the third.

There, three straight singles to lead off the inning filled the bases for Andrew Vaughn, who came through with a three-run double off Wacha that cut the White Sox’ deficit in half.

Wacha got through the rest of the third unscathed and faced the minimum in the fourth. But after Boston got one of those runs back on a Verdugo RBI double in the top of the fifth, he gave up two more when he served up a two-run homer to Vaughn in the latter half. Vaughn would be the last batter Wacha would face.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (58 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler wound up allowing five earned runs on seven hits, no walks, and two strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work. His ERA on the season rose from 1.76 to 2.83.

In relief of Wacha, John Schreiber got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Schreiber ended things in the fifth before retiring the side in order in the sixth.

A half-inning later, the Red Sox pushed across two more runs on a pair of RBI singles from Christian Vazquez and Christian Arroyo. After Tyler Danish put up a zero in the latter half of the seventh, Boston continued its offensive onslaught in a five-run top of the eighth. Verdugo, Vazquez, and Bobby Dalbec each drove in a run on back-to-back-to-back RBI base hits. Vazquez and Dalbec scored themselves when Jackie Bradley Jr. (pinch-hitting for Arroyo) reached base on a fielding error.

Matt Barnes was dispatched for the bottom of the eighth and immediately struck out the first batter he faced in A.J. Pollock. The righty then walked four straight, thus allowing the White Sox to score another run, before being pulled in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura. Only nine of the 27 pitches Barnes threw went for strikes.

Sawamura, meanwhile, allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly from Leury Garcia before escaping the jam by fanning Adam Engel on four pitches.

Fast forward to the ninth, Kevin Plaweci, who previously replaced Story, crushed his first home run of the season — a two-run shot — off a position player in Josh Harrison. That it was Plawecki’s first homer of the year is interesting when you consider the fact that he has been the only position player to pitch for the Red Sox to this point.

From there, Austin Davis closed things out with a scoreless frame in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 16-7 blowout win for the Red Sox before they head back home.

All told, the Boston lineup went 10-for-24 with runners in scoring position on Thursday. Devers and Story each had two hits, Martinez and Vazquez had three, and Verdugo went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will board a flight back to Boston and open up a unique five-game series against the Orioles beginning Friday night. Garrett Whitlock is slated to get the ball in the opener opposite fellow right-hander Kyle Bradish. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rich Hill takes no-hitter into 5th inning, but Red Sox leave 12 runners on base and see winning streak come to an end in 3-1 loss to White Sox

The Red Sox saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Not only does the loss put an end to Boston’s winning streak, it also drops them to 20-23 on the season.

After a 30-minute rain delay, the Red Sox lineup got to White Sox starter Lucas Giolito with two outs in the first inning. J.D. Martinez kept the inning alive with a single, advanced to second on an Alex Verdugo walk, and scored from second on a softly-hit RBI single off the bat of Alex Verdugo.

Boston appeared to have Giolito on the ropes the same way they had Dylan Cease on the ropes on Tuesday, but the savvy righty escaped any further damage by getting Trevor Story to ground out to Tim Anderson before settling in for the night.

Rich Hill, meanwhile, took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Jose Abreu. A.J. Pollock then reached base on a Rafael Devers throwing error, bringing Jake Burger to the plate with no outs and two runners on.

On the third pitch he saw from Hill, Burger demolished a 67 mph slider and deposited it 444 feet into the left-field seats to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead.

Hill retired the final three batters he faced to end his eighth start of the season on a more encouraging note. Over five innings, the veteran left-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits, one walk, and one strikeout on 65 pitches — 49 of which were strikes.

In relief of Hill, Tanner Houck received the first and only call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen and impressed by scattering three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts across three scoreless frames. 34 of the 57 pitches he threw went for strikes.

While Houck was putting up zeroes, the Red Sox bats struggled to get anything going against Giolito and Co. After loading the bases off Kendall Graveman with two outs in the seventh, Verdugo grounded out to second to extinguish the threat.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth and matched up against White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, Enrique Hernandez and Martinez each drew a walk to ultimately put runners on the corners with two outs for Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts, however, popped out to shallow right field to end things there. When all was said and done on Wednesday, the Red Sox — despite out-hitting the White Sox 7-5 — went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base as a team.

Next up: Wacha vs. Keuchel in series finale

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the White Sox on Thursday night. Right-hander Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston while left-hander Dallas Keuchel will do the same for Chicago.

First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Cora on pitching prospect Josh Winckowski: ‘It seems like we’re lining up him to pitch in the doubleheader’ this weekend

The Red Sox are indeed lining up Josh Winckowski to start one of the games in Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park, manager Alex Cora said in his weekly check-in with WEEI’s Merloni, Fauria & Mego on Wednesday afternoon.

“Winckowski, it seems like we’re lining up him to pitch in the doubleheader,” Cora said, as relayed by the Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt.

Originally acquired from the Mets in the three-team Andrew Benintendi trade last February, Winckowski is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization.

After being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last November, Winckowski has spent the entirety of the 2022 season to date with Triple-A Worcester. The 23-year-old right-hander has posted a 3.13 ERA and 2.80 FIP with 34 strikeouts to just six walks over seven starts (31 2/3 innings pitched) for the WooSox.

In his last time out against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Polar Park on Sunday, Winckowski had allowed just one run through his first six innings of work before getting rocked for five runs on three hits and one hit batsman in the top of the seventh.

Even with that performance on the backburner, Winckowski has still been one of the top starters at the Triple-A level this season. Among those in the International League who have accrued at least 30 innings to this point, the Florida native ranks 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (9.66), sixth in walks per nine innings (1.71), ninth in strikeout rate (27.9%), sixth in swinging strike rate (13.6%), seventh in walk rate (4.9%), fifth in batting average against (.183), second in WHIP (0.85), 13th in ERA, third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.12), per FanGraphs.

Winckowski does not qualify as a league leader statistically, mainly because he was limited to just two innings in his May 11 start in the event that the Red Sox needed him to pitch during their series in Texas.

Since his last outing came on Sunday, Winckowski would be in line to pitch on regular rest in one of Saturday’s two games against Baltimore. Fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi is expected to start the other contest.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, Winckowski possesses a pitch mix that is anchored by a high-90s four-seam fastball and complemented by a sinker, cutter, slider, and changeup. His stuff may be better suited for the bullpen in the future, but he will all but certainly get his first taste of the major-leagues as a starter.

Assuming Winckowski does make his big-league debut against the Orioles over the weekend, he would likely serve as the Red Sox’ 27th man and be optioned back down to Worcester following the conclusion of the twin bill.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox go deep 4 times en route to 16-3 blowout win over White Sox

The Red Sox wasted no time in teeing off against Dylan Cease and the White Sox on Tuesday. A four-run first inning powered Boston to a 16-3 victory over Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field.

By taking the opener of this three-game series, the Sox extend their winning streak to six consecutive games while improving to 20-22 on the season.

On the very first pitch he saw from Cease in the first inning, Enrique Hernandez crushed a leadoff home run 372 feet into Chicago’s bullpen to give Boston an immediate 1-0 lead. Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez followed with a single and walk, which put runners at the corners with two outs when Trevor Story stepped up to the plate.

Fresh off being named the American League Player of the Week, Story picked up where he left off by not letting Cease off the hook and instead depositing a three-run home run 398 feet to left field. Story’s eighth homer of the year put the Red Sox up 4-0.

An inning later, back-to-back hard-hit doubles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hernandez to lead things off made it a 5-0 game. Martinez tacked on another by lacing a 105 mph RBI single to left field that increased the advantage to six runs.

In the third, Christian Vazquez followed a one-out Franchy Cordero walk by ripping a single back up the middle that advanced Cordero up to third base. Cordero scored from third when Bradley Jr. beat out a double play by reaching first base safely.

After the White Sox dipped into their bullpen beginning in the fourth inning, Devers greeted new reliever Jose Ruiz by mashing an opposite-field solo blast that left his bat at 106 mph. Devers’ 10th big fly of the season made it an 8-0 ballgame in favor of the Red Sox. Ruiz proceeded to fill the bases with no outs in the fourth before giving up an RBI sacrifice fly to Cordero and run-scoring single to Vazquez.

To that point in the contest, Nick Pivetta had retired each of the first nine batters he faced. The right-hander’s bid for a perfect game came to an end in the bottom of the fourth when he yielded a leadoff double to Tim Anderson. He then served up a two-out, two-run home run to Jose Abreu that saw his shutout bid end as well.

The Red Sox lineup picked up their starter in the top half of the fifth, though. With one out, Martinez and Bogaerts each reached base off Bennett Sousa for Alex Verdugo, who made his first hit of the night count in the form of an RBI single. Story and Cordero kept the line moving with two more run-scoring knocks before Vazquez drove them both in on a 400-foot three-run homer to left field. Vazquez’s second long ball of the season gave Boston a commanding 16-2 lead.

Pivetta, meanwhile, ran into some more trouble in the latter half of the fifth when he gave up a two-out double to Andrew Vaughn that was followed by a run-scoring single off the bat of Tim Anderson to trim Chicago’s deficit to 13 runs at 16-3. Pivetta’s outing came to a close after he stranded a pair of base runners in a scoreless sixth inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (51 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler wound up allowing three earned runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over six innings of work. His ERA on the season now sits at 4.25 after nine starts.

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the seventh. The righty sat down three of the four he faced before making way in the eighth for Matt Barnes, who, too, put up a zero. And in the ninth, Tyler Danish slammed the door on the White Sox to put the finishing touches on the blowout.

All told, the Sox offense tallied a season-high 16 runs on 19 hits — four of which left the yard — while going 9-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Hernandez, Devers, Story, Verdugo, and Bradley Jr. had two hits apiece, Martinez accounted for four, and Vazquez had three.

Next up: Hill vs. Giolito

The Red Sox will go for their fourth straight win on Wednesday night when they send veteran left-hander Rich Hill to the mound. The White Sox will counter with right-hander Lucas Giolito.

First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Trevor Story and Rafael Devers: Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote hard-throwing relief prospect Franklin German to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted relief prospect Franklin German from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, per the team’s transaction log.

German, 24, has posted a 3.18 ERA and 2.21 FIP with 18 strikeouts to three walks over 11 relief appearances spanning 11 1/3 innings of work out of Portland’s bullpen this season. The right-hander’s sixth and seventh outings of the year were separated by more than two weeks (April 26 to May 13) due to a non-baseball related issue.

Among Eastern League pitchers who have accrued at least 10 innings on the mound in 2022, German ranks 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (14.29), 11th in strikeout rate (39.1%), 13th in swinging strike rate (18.6%), 21st in batting average against (.154), 11th in WHIP (0.79), and 17th in FIP, per FanGraphs.

Originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of North Florida, German was dealt to the Red Sox in the same trade that sent veteran reliever Adam Ottavino to Boston last January.

Traditionally a starting pitcher throughout his professional career to that point, German opened the 2021 campaign in Portland’s starting rotation. But he struggled to the tune of a 5.45 ERA across his first 19 appearances (18 starts) of the season before moving to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen on a full-time basis in late August.

Since then, German has found success as a reliever that can mainly be attributed to an uptick in velocity. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 195 pound righty sat in the low-to-mid 90s as a starter. Upon transitioning to the ‘pen, he began reaching 97-98 mph while topping out at 99-102 mph with his fastball.

Because of this, German has caught the attention of Alex Cora and is firmly on the Red Sox manager’s “watchlist,” according to The Athletic’s Peter Gammons.

German, who turns 25 in September, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In addition to his high-octane fastball, the hard-throwing hurler also works with a changeup and slider.

By being promoted to Triple-A, German will join a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Silvino Bracho, Ryan Brasier, Taylor Cole, Michael Feliz, Durbin Feltman, Geoff Hartlieb, Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort, A.J. Politi (who was promoted last week), and Phillips Valdez.

German’s promotion comes at an interesting time when you consider the fact that he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter. The Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline in order to proect him, so they could be using this as an opportunity to give German an extended look at the next level before making a decision regarding his future.

(Picture of Franklin German: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox top pitching prospect Josh Winckowski could make major-league debut next Saturday

When the Red Sox host the Orioles in a scheduled doubleheader at Fenway Park next Saturday, they will need two starting pitchers. As things stand now, Nathan Eovaldi is in line to start one of those two games.

As for who will start the other, manager Alex Cora hinted before Saturday’s win over the Mariners that the Sox may very well call up top pitching prospect Josh Winckowski from Triple-A Worcester to make his major-league debut.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Cora said the Red Sox planned to use their extra player (MLB allows teams to add a 27th player to their rosters for doubleheaders) and that the starter would likely come from the minors.”

Since Winckowski will start for the WooSox on Sunday, he becomes the obvious choice to pitch on regular rest for the Red Sox next weekend.

“Most likely, it’s going to somebody from the minor-leagues,” said Cora . “Stay tuned for whoever pitches whenever.”

Winckowski, 23, has posted a 2.10 ERA and 2.49 FIP with 28 strikeouts to six walks across six starts spanning 25 2/3 innings of work for Worcester this season. Earlier this month, the right-hander was limited to just two innings in the event that the Red Sox needed him for their series in Texas. In his last time out against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 17, he struck out nine over six scoreless, two-hit innings at Polar Park.

Originally acquired from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals last February, Winckowski is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization. He was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last November.

If Winckowski were to start one of the games against Baltimore next Saturday, he would likely be doing so as Boston’s 27th man, meaning he could be sent right back down to Worcester afterwards.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo removed from Saturday’s game after experiencing flu-like symptoms

Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo was removed in the first inning of Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Mariners because he was experiencing flu-like symptoms, manager Alex Cora announced.

As relayed by The Eagle-Tribune’s Mac Cerullo, the Sox are hopeful that it is nothing COVID-related, but are currently going through protocol to ensure all the necessary steps are taken.

Verdugo batted fifth and started in left field for Boston on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. After a drawing a four-pitch walk off Seattle starter Chris Flexen in the bottom of the first, the 26-year-old was greeted by Cora upon reaching first base. He remained in the game through the end of the inning, but was taken out in the top half of the second.

Bobby Dalbec then took Verdugo’s spot in the Sox’ lineup while Franchy Cordero moved from first base to left field. Dalbec went 1-for-2 off the bench with an RBI (the 100th of his career) and a walk. Cordero, batting out of the seven-hole, went 1-for-4 with a 110.5 mph triple in addition to scoring the game-winning run in the eighth inning.

Including Saturday’s lone trip to the plate, Verdugo is now slashing .214/.255/.321 with six doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs, 13 runs scored, nine walks, and 16 strikeouts across 38 games (153 plate appearances) this season.

At present, it is unclear if Verdugo will be able to suit up for Sunday’s series finale against the Mariners. The Red Sox are likely to know more about his status later Saturday night and will presumably go from there.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers homers twice as Red Sox erase 5-run deficit and come from behind to beat Mariners, 6-5

The Red Sox once again fell behind early against the Mariners on Saturday but battled their way back at Fenway Park. Boston defeated Seattle by a final score of 6-5 to win their fourth straight game and third consecutive series while improving to 18-22 on the season.

Before the Sox could even take their first at-bats of the afternoon, they already found themselves trailing by four runs. Garrett Whitlock, making his sixth start of the year, allowed the Mariners to score four times in the top half of the first inning.

After getting through a scoreless second inning, the right-hander ran into more trouble in the third by giving up back-to-back two-out hits to Mike Ford and Luis Torrens, which resulted in another Seattle run crossing the plate.

The third would prove to be Whitlock’s final inning of work, as he wound up surrendering a season-high five earned runs on 10 hits, no walks, and three strikeouts on 71 pitches (48 strikes). The 25-year-old’s ERA now sits at 3.58.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had yet to do anything of significance against opposing starter Chris Flexen. That changed in the bottom half of the third though, as Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a 413-foot solo shot into the bleachers to get his side on the board and make it a 5-1 ballgame.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Tyler Danish had hurled two scoreless frames out of the Sox bullpen, and Devers struck again. Following a leadoff double from Enrique Hernandez, the left-handed slugger took Flexen 386 feet over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the game and ninth of the season.

Devers’ two-run blast, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, cut the deficit down to two runs at 5-3. But the Red Sox were not done there. A J.D. Martinez double and Xander Bogaerts single chased Flexen from the contest and put runners on the corners for Bobby Dalbec, who greeted new Mariners reliever Sergio Romo by lifting an RBI single to center field to drive in Martinez and move Bogaerts up to third. Trevor Story followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Bogaerts to tie things up at five runs apiece.

From there, Jake Diekman punched out the side in the sixth, Hansel Robles worked his way around a two-out double in the seventh, and John Schreiber retired the only three batters he faced in the top of the eighth to keep the 5-5 tie intact.

With one out in the bottom half of the eighth, Franchy Cordero laced a 110.5 mph triple off the Green Monster to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position for Christian Vazquez, who came through with the game-winning single off Drew Steckenrider that plated Cordero and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead.

Looking to protect that lead, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Matt Barnes to take the mound in the ninth inning. Barnes, in turn, needed just 15 pitches (and a little defensive help from Hernandez) to slam the door shut on the Mariners and notch his second save of the season.

All told, five Boston relievers (Danish, Diekman, Robles, Schreiber, and Barnes) combined to toss six shutout innings in relief of Whitlock on Saturday. The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position while putting together their largest comeback win of the season thus far.

Next up: Gilbert vs. Eovaldi in series finale

The Red Sox will look to close out the weekend with a four-game sweep over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. Veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston opposite fellow righty Logan Gilbert for Seattle.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts considered day-to-day with back discomfort after colliding with Alex Verdugo in left field on Friday

Xander Bogaerts is considered day-to-day after colliding with Alex Verdugo in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’ 7-3 win over the Mariners at Fenway Park on Friday night, manager Alex Cora announced.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and go from there,” Cora said while adding that Bogaerts was specifically dealing with lower back discomfort on his left side.

On a 221-foot fly ball lifted to shallow left field off the bat of J.P. Crawford, both Bogaerts and Verdugo converged on the ball, with Bogaerts pedaling backwards and Verdugo charging inward.

Looking to avoid any contact, Verdugo began to slide but wound up taking out Bogaerts, who landed awkwardly on his left side and remained on the ground in visible pain. The ball the two were going after popped out of Bogaerts’ glove, thus allowing Crawford to move up to second base while Verdugo was charged with a fielding error.

After staying on the ground, Bogaerts got back to his feet upon receiving a visit from Cora and a trainer and stayed in the game for the rest of the half-inning. He was, however, pinch-hit for by Franchy Cordero in the latter half and was later replaced at shortstop by Enrique Hernandez as the Red Sox went on to win their third straight game.

Following Friday’s victory, Cora was asked if Verdugo should have called Bogaerts off since the outfielder has priority over the infielder in that particular situation.

“There’s 35,000 people here so it’s not that easy,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “Here, lately with the wind, it feels like it’s playing different the last few years. Sam [Kennedy] is going to hate me, but with the buildings and everything that’s going on, it’s a little different out there.”

Before being removed on Friday, Bogaerts had gone 0-for-2 at the plate with one walk, one strikeout, and one run scored. Assuming the 29-year-old is out of Boston’s lineup on Saturday, it will mark his first off day since April 28, though he did pinch-hit in that game against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story stays hot with grand slam as Red Sox extend winning streak to 3 with 7-3 victory over Mariners

The Red Sox continued their winning ways on Friday night with a 7-3 victory over the Mariners at Fenway Park. Boston has now won three straight games for the first time in 2022 to improve to 17-22 on the season.

Matched up against reining American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray out of the gate, the Sox did all of their damage in their half of the third inning.

There, Xander Bogaerts drew a two-out walk to fill the bases for Trevor Story. Coming off a historic three-homer night on Thursday, Story picked up where he left off by unloading the bases with a 378-foot grand slam over the Green Monster.

Story’s sixth home run of the season and fourth in the last 24 hours was caught by former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes in the first row of Monster Seats and gave Boston an early 4-0 lead.

To that point in the contest, Michael Wacha was already through three scoreless frames in his first start since returning from the injured list earlier in the day. All told, the veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Both of those Seattle runs came in the top of the fifth, when Wacha gave up a leadoff double to Eugenio Suarez that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Abraham Toro. He then retired two of the next four batters he faced before getting the hook from manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (44 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his changeup 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday and induced six of his eight swings-and-misses with hit. He also sat between 90 and 96 mph with his four-seam fastball.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis came on with two runners on and one out to get in the fifth. The left-hander got that out by fanning J.P. Crawford on six pitches, then proceeded to retire the side in order in the sixth as well. Fellow southpaw Jake Diekman followed suit by stranding one runner in an otherwise clean seventh inning to pace the way for John Schreiber in the eighth.

Schreiber, working in yet another high-leverage situation, witnessed a scary moment when he got Crawford to lift a softly-hit, 22-foot flyball to shallow left field. While converging on the ball, a sliding Alex Verdugo took out Bogaerts, who appeared to be in serious pain as he landed on his back.

The ball popped out of Bogaerts’ glove during that sequence, allowing Crawford to reach second base safely while Verdugo was charged with a fielding error. Crawford came into score on an RBI single from Jesse Winker, but Schreiber was able to hold the Mariners to the one run. Bogaerts is now considered day-to-day with left back tightness.

After coming on as a defensive replacement for Christian Arroyo the previous inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. provided some late-game insurance in his lone plate appearance of the night in the bottom of the eighth. After J.D. Martinez and Franchy Cordero (pinch-hitting for Bogaerts) reached base, Bradley Jr. greeted new Mariners reliever Anthony Misiewicz by cranking a three-run homer 359 feet to the opposite field.

Bradley Jr.’s first big fly of the year put the Sox up 7-3. Matt Strahm then slammed the door on the Mariners in the ninth inning to secure his team’s third consecutive win.

Next up: Flexen vs. Whitlock

The Red Sox will go for their third consecutive series win in the third game of this four-game set against the Mariners on Saturday evening. Boston will turn to right-hander Garrett Whitlock while Seattle will roll with fellow righty Chris Flexen.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)