Alex Verdugo comes through with 2 clutch hits to help Red Sox avoid getting swept by Blue Jays in 6-5 win

The Red Sox nearly blew another late lead against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, but instead held on for a drama-filled, 6-5 win in 10 innings to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of their division rivals.

Nick Pivetta, making his 16th start of the season for Boston, allowed two runs on five hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts over six-plus innings of work.

The Canadian-born right-hander ran into some early trouble when he issued a leadoff walk to Alejandro Kirk to begin things in the bottom of the second. Kirk moved up to second and later scored from there on an RBI single from former Red Sox prospect Santiago Espinal to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

The Sox quickly responded, however, as Franchy Cordero led off the third with a bunt single off Jays starter Alek Manoah. Cordero proceeded to steal second and advance to third on a throwing error before scoring his side’s first run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Rob Refsnyder.

Pivetta, meanwhile, kept Toronto off the board in the latter half of the third despite putting himself in a jam. The righty gave up a one-out single to Bo Bichette and plunked Kirk in the elbow with a 94 mph fastball. It was not intentional but the Blue Jays dugout, particularly Vladimir Guerrero Jr. still took exception.

After Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo left his dugout to chat with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, Guerrero Jr. took to the field as he was jawing back and forth with Pivetta. While there was no exchange of fists, both benches and bullpens cleared to momentarily delay the game.

Once the dust had settled from that skirmish, Pivetta walked the very next batter he faced to fill the bases. That prompted a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Bush, and it paid dividends as Pivetta fanned Raimel Tapia on four pitches to retire the side.

On the heels of a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Pivetta encountered more leadoff trouble in the fifth when he served up a go-ahead, 413-foot solo shot to George Springer.

Again, though, Toronto’s newfound lead did not last long. With two outs in the sixth, Xander Bogaerts reached base via an infield single. A red-hot Alex Verdugo followed by getting ahead in the count against Manoah at 2-0 and then crushing 95 mph heater 399 feet to right field to put Boston ahead for the first time.

Verdugo’s sixth home run of the season left his bat at 107 mph and gave the Sox a 3-2 lead. Pivetta took that lead into the seventh before issuing a leadoff walk to Cavan Biggio, who proved to be the final Blue Jay he would face.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 109 (72 strikes), Pivetta got eight of his 15 swings-and-misses with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 56 times and topped out at 95.8 mph with. The 29-year-old did not factor into Wednesday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 3.23.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber got the first call out of the Boston bullpen and immediately negated the runner he inherited by getting Springer to ground into a force out at second base. Schreiber then stranded Springer by retiring Bichette and Guerrero Jr. back-to-back.

Still up 3-2 going into the eighth, the Red Sox next turned to Ryan Brasier, who surrendered back-to-back one-out doubles to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Tapia. Tapia drove in the pinch-running Bradley Zimmer with his two-base hit to knot things up at three runs apiece.

After Jordan Romano and Matt Strahm each traded zeroes in the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. took second base to begin the 10th inning. Matched up against veteran reliever David Phelps now, Refsnyder and Rafael Devers drew back-to-back walks to fill the bases with no outs for J.D. Martinez.

Martinez, in turn, took a 91 mph cutter off the back, which allowed Bradley Jr. to score from third and keep the bases loaded for Bogaerts, who proceeded to ground into a 3-2-3 double play off newly-inserted reliever Tim Mayza.

Faced with the possibility of only scoring one run in the 10th, Verdugo came through with what would prove to be some much-needed insurance as he ripped a two-run double that split the gap in left field and scored both Devers and Martinez easily.

Verdugo’s second clutch hit of the night gave the Red Sox a rather sizable 6-3 lead going into the bottom half of the 10th. Still without unvaccinated closer Tanner Houck, manager Alex Cora rode with Strahm for a second straight inning.

As was the case with Tyler Danish on Tuesday, that decision nearly proved to be a disastrous one for the Red Sox. After quickly getting the first two outs of the 10th, Strahm yielded three straight hits to Matt Chapman, Espinal, and Biggio.

Espinal and Biggio — who doubled — both drove in a run with their hits to cut the Sox’ lead down to one at 6-5. Biggio represented the possible tying run at second base.

Strahm was now tasked with facing a dangerous hitter in Springer. The lefty was likely gassed given his workload, but he held on by getting Springer to pop out to Trevor Story to end the game.

So, on a season-high 41 pitches (30 strikes), Strahm prevented the Red Sox from getting swept while earning his third winning decision of the year.

With the win, Boston improves to 43-33 on the season and leaves Toronto a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card standings.

Next up: Heading to Wrigley

The Red Sox will enjoy an off day on Thursday as they arrive in Chicago ahead of a three-game weekend series against the Cubs. This will mark the Sox’ first trip to Wrigley Field in 10 years.

In Friday afternoon’s series opener, veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston. Chicago has yet to officially name a starter.

Regardless of that, first pitch from the Friendly Confines on Friday is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo comes through with go-ahead 3-run home run as Red Sox top Guardians, 4-2, for seventh straight series win

The Red Sox clinched their seventh straight series victory on Saturday with their second straight win over the Guardians at Progressive Field. Boston defeated Cleveland by a final score of 4-2 to extend its winning streak to six consecutive games and improve to 41-31 on the season.

Josh Winckowski, who was born in nearby Toledo, made his fourth start of the season for the Sox. The rookie right-hander allowed two earned runs on six hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work.

Both runs Winckowski gave up to Cleveland came in the bottom of the third. There, Steven Kwan led off by drawing a seven-pitch walk and immediately scoring from first on an RBI triple from Amed Rosario. Rosario then scored on a Jose Ramirez sacrifice fly to give his side an early 2-0 lead.

Fast forward to the top of the sixth, and the Red Sox lineup finally got something going against Guardians ace Shane Bieber. Held to just two hits up until that point in the contest, J.D. Martinez came to the plate with two outs and ripped a line-drive single to left field. Xander Bogaerts followed with a hard-hit single of his own to put runners at first and second for Alex Verdugo.

On the third pitch he saw from Bieber, Verdugo deposited a 2-0, 81 mph knuckle-curveball on the inner half of the plate 447 feet into the left field seats to give Boston its first lead of the night at 3-2. Verdugo’s fifth home run of the season was his longest of his career to this point. The ball left his bat at a blistering 108.8 mph.

Winckowski, meanwhile, recorded the first out of the bottom of the sixth before yielding a one-out single to Franmil Reyes. Reyes would prove to be the final batter Winckowski would face as he was relieved by Jakie Diekman.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 77 (52 strikes), Winckowski induced all five of his swings-and-misses with a slider, a pitch he threw 29 times. The 23-year-old hurler also topped out at 96 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw 36 times. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.60.

In relief of Winckowski, Diekman received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The veteran left-hander stranded the lone runner he inherited by getting the final two outs of the sixth.

The seventh inning was a different story, however, as Diekman allowed two of the four Guardians he faced to reach base to put runners at first and second with two outs. John Schreiber was then summoned to face Rosario, and he won that matchup by fanning the former Met on three straight strikes to retire the side and strand two more base runners.

After the Sox blew multiple scoring chances and Matt Strahm navigated his way around some trouble in the eighth, Jarren Duran provided some insurance in the top of the ninth with an RBI single that plated Bobby Dalbec.

Taking a 4-2 lead into the latter half of the ninth, Tanner Houck made quick work of the Guardians to preserve the win and notch his sixth save of the season.

With the win, the Red Sox move to 18-4 in the month of June and into sole possession of second place in the American League East. Duran went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Kevin Plawecki went 2-for-4 with a double.

Next up: Hill vs. Civale

The Red Sox will go for the weekend sweep of the Guardians on Sunday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston while former Northeastern University right-hander Aaron Civale will do the same for Cleveland.

First pitch from Progressive Field is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. eastern time.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Red Sox go 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, fail to finish off sweep of Athletics in 4-3 loss

The Red Sox were unable to complete their three-game sweep of the Athletics at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon. Boston instead fell to Oakland by a final score of 4-3 to put its three-game winning streak come to an end and drop to 34-30 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 12th start of the year for the Sox, allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

All three runs the veteran left-hander gave up came in the top half of the third. The Athletics’ rally began when Cristian Pache reached base on a one-out popup to shallow center field that was not caught by a back-tracking Trevor Story. It was ruled a double and was immediately followed by an RBI single off the bat of Chad Pinder that got Oakland on the board first.

A hard-hit double from Ramon Laureano put runners at second and third for Christian Bethancourt, who drove in both on a two-run single to left field. Hill did not falter, though, as he proceeded to sit down 10 of the next 11 batters he faced before yielding a two-out single to Seth Brown in the sixth inning.

That would mark the end of Hill’s afternoon as he got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with a final pitch count of 82 (61 strikes) and induced eight swings-and-misses with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 30 times.

In relief of Hill, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Boston bullpen while inheriting one runner in Brown. A passed ball allowed that runner to advance to second and he proceeded to score from there on an Elvis Andrus line drive that went through the legs of Rafael Devers.

Sawamura got through the rest of the inning unscathed, but the Red Sox found themselves trailing 4-1 heading into their half of the sixth. To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had been held in check by Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn despite having a fair share of scoring opportunities.

Jarren Duran led off the first inning with a drag bunt single and advanced to third on a one-out single from J.D. Martinez. Neither runner scored. A pair of singles from Franchy Cordero and Jackie Bradley Jr. put runners on the corners with two outs in the third for Duran, who struck out swinging.

The Sox finally prevailed in the third, as Devers drew a leadoff walk and later scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. They could have gotten more in the frame, but both Alex Verdugo and Story were retired to extinguish the threat.

An inning later, the A’s elected to intentionally walk Devers with two outs, which loaded the bases for Martinez. Martinez, however, softly grounded out to Blackburn himself to end things in the fourth.

Blackburn compiled his first 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, but ran into more trouble in the sixth when he gave up a one-out single to Christian Vazquez. That prompted a pitching change as A.J. Puk was dispatched from the Athletics bullpen. Puk got Bradley Jr. to ground into a force out at second to snuff out the lead runner, then fanned the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec on three straight heaters.

After Ryan Brasier made quick work of Oakland in the top of the seventh, Boston had another prime opportunity in the latter half of the frame. Devers was plunked by a pitch and Bogaerts roped a one-out single to put runner at first and second. Matched up against new A’s reliever Zach Jackson, Verdugo flew out to center field and Story punched out on a 3-2, 87 mph slider to end the inning.

Hansel Robles worked his way around a ground-rule double in an otherwise clean eighth inning. In the bottom of the eighth, the pinch-hitting Rob Refsnyder led off with a line-drive single off Sam Moll. Vazquez followed by drawing a walk. Bradley Jr. and Dalbec each recorded outs, but Devers kept the inning alive by reaching on a fielding error committed by A’s third baseman Jonah Bride.

Refsnyder scored on the play. Martinez then greeted new reliever Dany Jimenez by lacing an RBI single back up the middle. It scored Vazquez and very well could have scored the tying run in Devers were it not for the efforts of second baseman Tony Kemp.

Kemp prevented the ball from rolling into center field, which forced Devers — representing the tying run — to hold up at third base. Following a mound visit, Bogaerts grounded into a force out to put an end to the inning with the Red Sox still trailing 4-3.

The score would remain that way after Tyler Danish sat down the side in order in the top half of the ninth. Down to their final three outs in the bottom half, Verdugo, Story, and Refsnyder went down quietly as 4-3 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

All told, the Red Sox lineup went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runers on base as a team. It was a particularly tough day for Story, who went 0-for-5 with three punchouts and three runners left on base. The second baseman is hitting just .143 (4-for-28) over his last seven games.

Next up: Wainwright vs. Wacha

The Red Sox will look to win another series as they welcome the Cardinals into town for the first time since 2017 on Friday night. In the first of a three-game weekend set, it will be right-hander Michael Wacha getting the start for Boston and fellow righty Adam Wainwright doing the same for St. Louis.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

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

Rafael Devers homers in fourth straight game, Josh Winckowski tosses 5 scoreless innings in second career start as Red Sox roll to 10-1 win over Athletics

The Red Sox once again had their way with the Athletics at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Boston defeated Oakland, 10-1, to take the three-game series and improve to 34-29 on the season.

Early scoring was yet again key for the Sox. Matched up against A’s starter James Kaprielian out of the gate, Alex Verdugo got his productive night at the plate started and got his side on the board first with a bases-loaded RBI groundout in the first inning.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base via a one-out single and Rafael Devers followed by crushing a 387-foot two-run home run into Oakland’s bullpen. Devers’ 16th home run of the season — and fourth in his last four games — gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

Xander Bogaerts led off the third inning with a hard-hit double to left field and immediately scored from second on an RBI single off the bat of Verdugo. Jarren Duran, just called up from Triple-A Worcester, led off the fourth by drawing a four-pitch walk before Devers did the same. Duran, after tagging up to third, scored on a Bogaerts sacrifice fly. Devers scored from third on a throwing error committed by Kaprielian.

On the other side of things, Josh Winckowski was in the midst of putting together a solid outing in his second career major-league start. Over five scoreless innings of work, the right-hander yielded just four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Like Duran, Winckowski was recalled from Worcester on Wednesday afternoon. Despite walking the very first batter of the contest, the 23-year-old was able to work his way around some traffic on the base paths. He faced the minimum in just one of his five frames, but ultimately pitched well enough to earn his first big-league win.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), Winckowski induced seven total swings-and-misses and topped out at 96 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw 35 times.

In relief of Winckowski, Jake Diekman received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora for the sixth inning and served up a two-out solo shot to the pinch-hitting Matt Davidson. But the Red Sox got that run back and one more when Verdugo cranked a two-run homer of his own in the bottom half of the inning.

Verdugo’s fourth big fly of the year — and first since April 16 — left his bat at a blistering 104.5 mph and traveled 393 feet into the Sox’ bullpen. It also put Boston up by seven runs at 8-1.

After Hirokazu Sawamura and Ryan Brasier combined for two scoreless innings out of the ‘pen, the Red Sox tacked on two more runs in their half of the eighth. Back-to-back one-out doubles from J.D. Martinez and Bogaerts pushed across the first of those two runs. Trevor Story then drove Bogaerts in from second on an RBI single to right field.

Story’s 42nd RBI of the season gave the Sox a commanding 10-1 lead. Tyler Danish closed things out in the ninth to slam the door on the A’s and preserve the victory.

Next up: Hill vs. Blackburn

The Red Sox will go for the three-game and season series sweep of the Athletics on Thursday afternoon. Former A’s left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston and right-hander Paul Blackburn will do the same for Oakland.

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

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Elsa/Getty Images)

Shohei Ohtani steals the show yet again as Red Sox fall to Angels, 5-2, to snap 7-game winning streak

The Red Sox saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday night following a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Angels at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

Boston was unable to complete the four-game sweep of Los Angeles, who put an end to a historic 14-game losing streak with its first win since May 24.

Nick Pivetta and two-way star Shohei Ohtani opposed one another on the mound and traded zeroes through the first four innings of Thursday’s contest.

In the top of the fifth, Franchy Cordero drew a leadoff walk and came into score from third on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Bobby Dalbec. In the bottom half, Ohtani took things into his own hands by crushing a 394-foot two-run home run that came on a 1-1, 92 mph heater from Pivetta at the top of the zone.

Pivetta continued on, but ran into some trouble in the sixth when he issued back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to go to his bullpen and pull the right-hander in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura.

Sawamura, in turn, recorded the first two outs of the sixth before serving up a back-breaking, three-run homer to Andrew Velazquez that gave the Angels a commanding 5-1 lead.

Pivetta was charged with four of those five runs. In addition to four earned runs, the 29-year-old gave up six hits and two walks over five-plus innings. He also plunked one batter while striking out a season-high of 11. 67 of the 97 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Ohtani, on the other hand, wound up yielding just one earned run over seven strong innings. The 27-year-old phenom finishes the regular season having allowed just one run in 14 innings of work against the Red Sox.

Once Ohtani came out, the Sox responded when Christian Arroyo led off the eighth inning with a line-drive single off Angels reliever Ryan Tepera. Arroyo proceeded to steal second base and scored from there on a 104.5 mph RBI single from Alex Verdugo.

That made it a 5-2 game, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score after Austin Davis and Hansel Robles each tossed a scoreless frame of relief for Boston and Halos closer Raisel Iglesias retired the side in order in the ninth. The Red Sox as a team went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left a total of six runners on base.

With the loss, Boston falls to 30-28 on the season and 6-1 on the west coast road trip that concludes this weekend.

Next up: On to Seattle

The Red Sox will now travel north for a three-game series against the Mariners in Seattle. Veteran lefty Rich Hill will get the start for Boston on Friday night while fellow southpaw Marco Gonzalez will do the same for Seattle.

First pitch from T-Mobile Park is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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 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)

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)