Red Sox place Trevor Story on injured list with left heel contusion, recall Bobby Dalbec from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed second baseman Trevor Story on the 10-day injured list with a left heel contusion. In a corresponding move, first baseman/third baseman Bobby Dalbec was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees.

Story has not played since September 11, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. At that time, it was not believed that the 29-year-old would be sidelined for long.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had said several times over the last 11 days that Story could be back in the lineup soon, but that timeline kept getting pushed back to the point where a trip to the injured list became necessary.

Since his stint on the injured list was backdated to Sept. 19, Story will first be eligible to be activated one week from Thursday. The Red Sox will have just seven games remaining on their schedule at that point, so they could very well elect to shut down the veteran infielder for the remainder of the year.

Story, who is in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract, spent more than six weeks on the injured list earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist. Upon returning from the IL, the right-handed hitter batted .340/.389/.500 with five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, four runs scored, three stolen bases, four walks, and 17 strikeouts across 13 games (54 plate appearances) before injuring his heel two Sundays ago.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Story has slashed .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 132 strikeouts over 94 games and 396 trips to the plate. He has also been one of the better defensive second baseman in the American League when healthy.

With Story out of action for the time being, Christian Arroyo, Enrique Hernandez, and Yu Chang figure to see the lion’s share of their playing time come at second base. Chang will be making his second start there for Boston on Thursday.

Dalbec, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox after being sent down on Sept. 4, when fellow first baseman Triston Casas was called up from Worcester. From the time he was demoted, the 27-year-old slugger appeared in 13 games for the WooSox and went 12-for-48 (.250) with five home runs and eight runs driven in.

At the big-league level this season, Dalbec has struggled to a .211/.282/.362 slash line to go along with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 29 walks, and 113 strikeouts in 111 games (340 plate appearances). He is not in Thursday’s starting lineup.

(Picture of Trevor Story: G Fiume/Getty Images)

Ceddanne Rafaela named Baseball America’s 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year

Ceddanne Rafaela was named Baseball America’s Red Sox 2022 Minor League Player of the Year on Tuesday.

That should come as no surprise. Rafaela, who just turned 22 over the weekend, entered Baseball America’s Top 100 rankings back in July and is now regarded by the publication as the No. 81 prospect in the sport

Between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland this season, Rafaela batted .299/.342/.538 (134 wRC+) with 32 doubles, 10 triples, 21 home runs, 86 RBIs, 82 runs scored, 28 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 116 total games (522 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter slashed .278/.324/.500 (119 wRC+) with 12 homers, 50 runs driven in, 45 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 71 games (313 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs upon being promoted in early June.

On the other side of the ball, Rafaela saw the majority of his playing time this season come at either shortstop or center field. In Portland in particular, the versatile 5-foot-8, 152-pounder logged 103 innings at short and 498 2/3 innings at center while making highlight reel plays at both positions.

“I truly believe this: You put him in the big leagues right now, he wins the Gold Glove as an outfielder,” Red Sox infield coordinator Darren Fenster told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier recently. “He’s not there yet as an infielder, but talent-wise and with some more reps and some more polish, he has Gold Glove potential as a shortstop as well. It’s wild the talent that this kid has.”

The Red Sox originally signed Rafaela for just $10,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Curacao in July 2017. Shortly after the five-year anniversary of his signing passed, the Willemstad native represented Boston in the All-Star Futures Game in Los Angeles.

On the heels of such an impressive minor-league season, Rafaela is a sure bet to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster this fall in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft. He is also slated to play winter ball in Puerto Rico for he Criollos de Caguas, who are managed by Red Sox first base coach Ramon Vazquez.

Alex Cora, who previously managed the Criollos and spends his off-seasons in his hometown of Caguas, told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) last week that he was looking forward to getting to know Rafaela better this winter.

“We’re going to be able to enjoy it,” Cora said. “Just try to meet him, know who he is as a person. That’s something that I’m looking forward to. We had that opportunity with Jarren (Duran) a few years ago, but it was limited because of the whole pandemic and the restrictions. But now that we can actually interact with others, it would be fun just to have him around, bring him to the house and talk to him and embrace him.”

In the meantime, Rafaela will look to lead the Sea Dogs to an Eastern League title. After winning 17 of its last 20 regular-season games, Portland opens a best-of-three playoff series against the Somerset Patriots at Hadlock Field on Tuesday night.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Brian Abraham on Nick Yorke playing in Arizona Fall League: ‘He’s continued to improve in the second half, and this would be an opportunity to continue that’

Second baseman Nick Yorke will be among the 12 youngest prospects to play in the Arizona Fall League this year, according to Baseball America.

Yorke, 20, was one of eight Red Sox prospects named to the Scottsdale Scorpions’ preliminary roster this past Friday. He is slated to the join the likes of right-handers Aaron Perry, Thaddeus Ward, Jacob Webb, and Ryan Zeferjahn, catcher Stephen Scott, first baseman Niko Kavadas, and outfielder Wilyer Abreu in Arizona next month.

Originally selected by Boston in the first round of the 2020 draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif), Yorke entered 2022 as a consensus top-100 prospect after earning Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year honors in his first full professional season.

Journeying back to High-A Greenville to kick off the 2022 campaign, Yorke got off to a slow start. The right-handed hitting infielder batted .245/.319/.361 (89 wRC+) with just nine extra-base hits in his first 34 games before being placed on the injured with turf toe towards the end of May.

Yorke returned to the Greenville lineup on June 7, going 1-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts in a 6-3 loss to the Asheville Tourists. He then missed an additional two weeks because of back stiffness.

From June 21-July 3, Yorke went 7-for-39 (.205) at the plate with 13 strikeouts and three walks. His next in-game appearance did not come until after the All-Star break, as the native Californian was experiencing left wrist soreness that the Red Sox wanted to be cautious about.

From July 22 through the end of the season, Yorke was a regular in the Drive lineup who appeared in 35 of their final 40 games. He hit just .224 over that stretch, though he did slash a more respectable .320/.414/.480 (148 wRC+) in six September contests.

Put it all together, and it was a sophomore slump of sorts for Yorke. In 80 real games, he posted a .231/.3o3/.365 line to go along with 10 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 45 runs driven, 48 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 94 strikeouts across 373 total trips to the plate.

Although his 84 wRC+ indicates he was a below-average hitter this season, internal metrics show that Yorke was better than the numbers suggest, according to Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham.

In a recent conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Abraham revealed that the motive behind sending Yorke to Arizona simply goes back to getting him more at-bats after an injury-plagued season that did not yield great results.

“We have some things we were working with him on that we want to see through in the Fall League,” said Abraham. “He’s continued to improve in the second half, and this would be an opportunity to continue that.”

Yorke, who committed just one error in 593 1/3 defensive innings at second base this season, will be competing with other infielders such as the Braves’ Cal Conley, the Angels’ Kyren Paris, and the Orioles’ Cesar Prieto for playing time at the keystone position. It also helps that he will have direct access to Triple-A Worcester assistant hitting coach Michael Montville, who will be a member of the Scorpions’ coaching staff.

The 2022 Arizona Fall League season begins on October 3 and concludes with the championship game on Nov. 12 at Scottsdale Stadium, which is where the Scorpions will play their home games.

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

After being released by Red Sox, Kevin Plawecki drawing interest from Rangers

Two days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox have released catcher Kevin Plawecki, the club announced on Monday.

Plawecki, who was informed of the decision following Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Royals at Fenway Park, is already drawing interest from other teams. According to FanSided’s Robert Murray, the Rangers “are expressing serious interest” in the free-agent backstop.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News adds that outfielder Nick Solak will be placed on the injured list with a season-ending foot fracture, so Plawecki could take his spot on Texas’ roster. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, however, notes that Plawecki can’t officially sign with a new team until 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after originally signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. The right-handed hitter was brought on to be Christian Vazquez’s backup and served that role well in 2020-2021 by batting .305/.364/.414 over 88 total games.

This year has been a different story for Plawecki, who has struggled to a .217/.287/.287 slash line to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games and 175 plate appearances.

Though he emerged as a clubhouse leader and a quality game-caller from behind the plate, Plawecki only threw out four of 44 base stealers with the Red Sox this season.

Given those offensive and defensive struggles, Boston elected to move on from Plawecki — who is slated to become a free-agent this winter — now so that it could a more extended look at Connor Wong and Reese McGuire — both of whom are under team control beyond 2023 — before the regular season ends.

Designating Plawecki also allowed the Red Sox to clear a spot on both their 28- and 40-man roster for rookie reliever Franklin German, who made his major-league debut on Saturday.

It may not have been a popular move from within the Red Sox clubhouse, but it appears as though Plawecki has already landed back on his feet. And because he was released, the Sox will remain on the hook for the remainder of his $2.25 million salary this year.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox prospect Jay Groome named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week; left-hander has posted 3.48 ERA since being traded to Padres

Former Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of September 12-18 on Monday.

In his last start for Triple-A El Paso, Groome scattered three hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts across six scoreless innings in a 13-0 win over the Round Rock Express.

Since joining the Chihuahuas’ rotation last month, Groome has posted a 3.48 ERA and 4.52 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 18 walks over eight starts spanning 41 1/3 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting .277 with a .777 OPS off the left-hander.

A former first-round selection of the Red Sox in 2016, Groome was dealt to the Padres in exchange for veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer and fellow prospects Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier at the trade deadline.

At that time, Groome was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The 24-year-old southpaw is now ranked by the publication as the No. 10 prospect in San Diego’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, Groome operates with a 90-94 mph fastball that touches 95-96 mph, a 76-80 mph curveball, a 79-82 mph changeup, and an 85-87 mph slider. The New Jersey native is already on the Padres’ 40-man roster and will have just one minor-league option remaining after this season.

Taking that into account, MLB Pipeline notes that the Padres could elect to use Groome out of the bullpen if they no longer believe he has starter potential.

(Picture of Jay Groome: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Nathan Eovaldi aiming to pitch again this season; Trevor Story could return on Tuesday

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi threw a four-inning simulated game at Fenway Park on Sunday morning. The right-hander faced the likes of Abraham Almonte, Tommy Pham, and Trevor Story while throwing approximately 65 pitches.

“It felt good,” Eovaldi told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) prior to Sunday’s 13-3 win over the Royals. “I was trying to use all my pitches. It’s a little tough to get going early in the morning. But I felt like I was finishing my pitches for the most part and I mixed them all up.”

Eovaldi, who last pitched for the Red Sox on August 12, has been on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation since Aug. 19. If the 32-year-old wakes up on Monday morning with no complications, he could be in line to make a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester at Polar Park later this week.

“He looked good,” manager Alex Cora said. “Now we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He mixed everything up. A lot of splits and the slider and the curveball. The quality of the fastball was OK. So now it’s just a matter of how he reacts to it and what’s the next step. Obviously we’re running out of time as far as games and all that stuff. So we’ll see what’s next.”

As noted by MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Eovaldi would be on track to make two more starts with Boston before the end of the season if he rehabs with the WooSox on Friday. The veteran hurler has been limited to just 18 starts this year due to two lengthy stints on the injured list.

“I’d love to pitch in front of the home crowd again,” said Eovaldi, who is eligible for free agency this winter and has yet to discuss a contract extension with the Red Sox despite wanting to return to Boston.

Story, meanwhile, has been sidelined since last Sunday, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore.

Cora was initially optimistic that Story would be back for this weekend’s series against the Royals, but that did not happen as expected. Still, the 29-year-old second baseman took an important step forward on Sunday by facing off against Eovaldi as well as running the bases.

Depending on how he feels over the next two days, Story could return to the Red Sox lineup for Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds in Cincinnati.

“With Trevor, it’s about running right now,” Cora said. “He ran the bases today. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. I’ve been saying this for a few days: the goal is for him to play the next day. So we just have to be patient with it.”

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

Xander Bogaerts reaches career milestone as Red Sox rack up 20 hits in 13-3 win over Royals

The Red Sox secured a series victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. After getting shut out on Saturday, Boston broke out for 20 hits in a 13-3 win over Kansas City to close out the weekend at Fenway Park.

Matched up against Kris Bubic to kick off Sunday’s series finale, the Sox got off to a quick start offensively. On the heels of back-to-back singles from Tommy Pham and Rafael Devers to lead off the first inning, Xander Bogaerts followed by ripping a game-tying double off the Green Monster to knot the score at 1-1.

An inning later, Enrique Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and immediately advanced to second base on a line-drive single off the bat of Yu Chang. Both runners moved up an additional 90 feet on a successful sacrifice bunt laid down by Reese McGuire. Pham then plated Hernandez from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Boston began to pull away in the third on a pair of sacrifice flies from Rob Refsnyder and Christian Arroyo. Hernandez and Chang each drew two-out walks before McGuire scored Hernandez on a groundball single through the right side of the infield.

That sequence of events gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead going into the fourth. To that point, Nick Pivetta had already allowed two runs — both of which came within the first two innings.

Pivetta, making his 30th start of the season for Boston, managed to keep the Royals off the board in the third and fourth before serving up a solo shot to the dangerous Salvador Perez with one out in the fifth. The right-hander ended his day by retiring two of the final three batters he faced.

So, over five innings of work in total, Pivetta surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on 97 pitches (66 strikes). The 29-year-old was able to pick up his 10th win of the season, though his ERA did rise to 4.35.

Shortly after Pivetta had recorded the final out in the top of the fifth, the Red Sox lineup got back to work in the bottom half. Arroyo, McGuire, and Pham each reached to fill the bases with two outs for Devers. Devers, in turn, greeted new Royals reliever Anthony Misiewicz by swatting a two-run single to right field to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Boston plated four additional runs on back-to-back-to-back-to-back RBI knocks from Hernandez, Chang, McGuire, and Pham. Pham and Devers drove in two more runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox a commanding 13-3 lead.

Out of the Boston bullpen, four relievers combined for four scoreless frames. Kaleb Ort walked and struck out two in the sixth, John Schreiber walked and struck out in the seventh, Matt Strahm struck out the side in the eighth, and Matt Barnes stranded one base runner in the ninth to put the finishing touches on a blowout win.

In terms of offensive production, Pham went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk, Devers went 4-for-6 with three RBIs, Bogaerts went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4 with his 40th double of the season and two runs scored, Hernandez went 2-for-4 with an RBI, two walks, and four runs scored, Chang went 2-for-3 with an RBI, two walks, and one run scored, and McGuire went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

With his first-inning double, Bogaerts collected the 1,400th hit of his big-league career. The 29-year-old shortstop becomes just the fourth player in Red Sox history to reach 1,400 hits before turning 30, joining the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr, and Jim Rice.

Next up: On to Cincinnati

The Red Sox will enjoy an off-day on Monday as they prepare to travel to Cincinnati for a quick two-game series against the Reds. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Tuesday’s opener opposite left-hander Nick Lodolo.

First pitch from Great American Ballpark is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

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

Red Sox designate Kevin Plawecki for assignment, call up Franklin German from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox designated catcher Kevin Plawecki for assignment prior to Saturday’s 9-0 loss to the Royals. In a corresponding move, reliever Franklin German had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after first signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. While primarily serving as a backup to Christian Vazquez, the right-handed hitter slashed .305/.364/.414 with four home runs and 32 RBIs over 89 games in his first two seasons with the club.

While that sort of production earned Plawecki additional playing time during the Sox’ postseason run last October, his numbers have taken a hit this year. Coming into play on Saturday, Plawecki was batting just .217/.287/.287 to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games spanning 175 trips to the plate.

On the other side of things, Plawecki had established himself as a quality game-caller who was well-liked among the Red Sox pitching staff. That being said, he only managed to throw out four of 44 base stealers this season.

Taking those factors, as well as the fact that he is slated to become a free-agent this off-season, into consideration, the Red Sox elected to move on from Plawecki now since he is not in their future plans.

With only 17 games remaining on the schedule, the Sox want to give younger backstops such as Connor Wong and Reese McGuire as many opportunities to catch as possible. Wong, 26, is under club control through 2027 while McGuire, 27, is under club control through 2025.

“We’ve got to be thinking about the future,” manager Alex Cora said Saturday. “Reese and Connor, they’re going to be catching a lot the rest of the season.”

German can now also be considered part of Boston’s future plans after making his big-league debut and being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on Sunday. The right-hander allowed four runs on two hits and two walks without recording an out in the sixth inning, but he is still viewed as one of the more intriguing relief prospects in the organization.

The Red Sox acquired German and Adam Ottavino from the Yankees last January. The former fourth-round draft selection began the 2021 campaign in Double-A Portland’s starting rotation but has not looked back since becoming a full-time reliever.

Upon making the jump from Portland to Worcester in late May, German posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.36 FIP with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 32 relief appearances (38 1/3 innings) for the WooSox. He held opposing hitters to a .153 batting average against.

German, who turns 25 later this month, becomes the sixth different Red Sox player to make their major-league debut this season, joining the likes of Brayan Bello, Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, Zack Kelly, and Josh Winckowski. He will wear the No. 71.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Red Sox get shut out for second time this month in 9-0 loss to Royals

The Red Sox failed to score a run in their loss to the Royals on Saturday afternoon. Boston fell to Kansas City, 9-0, at Fenway Park to drop to 70-75 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 23rd start of the year for the Sox, was tagged for nearly half of those runs. The veteran left-hander surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

The Royals got the scoring started in the top of the third. After reaching base on a one-out single, Nate Eaton stole second and scored from there on an RBI single off the bat of MJ Melendez. Malendez also advanced to second before scoring on another RBI single from Salvadar Perez that gave Kansas City an early 2-0 lead.

Boston had a chance to respond right away in the latter half of the frame. Matched up against Royals starter Brady Singer, the bottom third of the Sox lineup filled the bases without recording an out. Despite getting that far, though, Tommy Pham popped out to the catcher, Rafael Devers struck out looking, and J.D. Martinez popped out into foul territory.

Hill, meanwhile, ran into more trouble in the fifth. After Bobby Witt Jr. drove in Melendez with an RBI single, Witt Jr. scored all the way from first on a Vinnie Pasquantino double that right fielder Alex Verdugo lost in the sun.

Pasquantino was the final batter Hill faced. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with a final pitch count of 81 (58 strikes) and was charged with his seventh loss of the season as his ERA rose to 4.70. He was given the hook in favor of Ryan Brasier, who needed just three pitches to record the final out of the fifth.

The sixth inning marked the major-league debut of relief prospect Franklin German. The right-hander failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, as he loaded the bases with no outs before yielding an RBI single to Nate Eaton. Eduard Bazardo was called upon to extinguish the flames, but he allowed all three runners he inherited to score on a Melendez force out and singles from Witt Jr. and Pasquantino.

German was tagged for four runs on two hits and two walks. Bazardo, on the other hand, worked his way around a leadoff double in the seventh before handing things over to Tyler Danish, who served up a leadoff double to Melendez and a two-out RBI single to Pasquantino to make it a 9-0 game in favor of Kansas City.

Following a 1-2-3 top of the ninth from Danish, the Red Sox went down quietly in the bottom half to seal their fifth shutout loss of the season and their second in the last 10 days.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Bubic in rubber match

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. Righty Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston opposite lefty Kris Bubic for Kansas City.

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

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez comes through with game-winning single as Red Sox come from behind to defeat Royals, 2-1

The Red Sox battled back for a series-opening win over the Royals on Friday night. Boston defeated Kansas City by a final score of 2-1 to improve to 70-74 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 20th start of the year for the Sox, pitched well yet again. The veteran right-hander allowed just one run on seven hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over seven strong innings of work.

That lone Royals run came in the top half of the sixth. After giving up a leadoff triple to M.J. Melendez that got over the head of Enrique Hernandez in center field, Wacha yielded a one-out, opposite field RBI single to Salvador Perez that pushed across the first run of the contest.

Wacha then got Vinnie Pasquantino to ground into an inning-ending 6-5-3 double play. Michael Taylor led off the seventh inning with a single, but Wacha retired the next three batters he faced to end his night on a solid note. The 31-year-old hurler finished with 88 pitches (65 strikes) and induced 10 swings-and-misses. He did not factor into Friday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA to 2.61.

In relief of Wacha, Garrett Whitlock received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean inning of work.

To that point in the contest, a Trevor Story-less Red Sox lineup had been held in check by the Royals pitching staff despite having their fair share of scoring opportunities.

In the fifth inning, for instance, Alex Verdugo and Triston Casas each drew a walk off Kansas City starter Jonathan Heasley while Christian Arroyo reached on a groundball single to fill the bases for Hernandez, who grounded into 6-4-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

Two innings later, J.D. Martinez and Casas drew a pair of two-out walks, bringing Arroyo to the plate to face off against Royals reliever Amir Garrett. With the potential tying run at second base, Arroyo fanned on four pitches to send things along to the eighth.

Following Whitlock’s scoreless frame, the Sox finally broke through in the latter half of the eighth. Hernandez led off by drawing a five-pitch walk off Dylan Coleman. Abraham Almonte, who was pinch-hitting for Kevin Plawecki, drew a free pass of his own to put runners at first and second.

After Tommy Pham popped out, Rafael Devers drew yet another walk off Scott Barlow to fill the bases. Xander Bogaerts struck out swinging, but Verdugo delivered by taking ball four to drive in the tying run (Hernandez) from third.

On the very next pitch from Barlow, Martinez dealt the finishing blow by ripping a game-winning RBI single through the left side of the infield to plate Almonte and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-1.

Taking a one-run lead into the ninth, Boston turned to Matt Strahm to close it out. The lefty issued a two-out walk to Michael Massey to put the tying run on base, but followed that up by getting Hunter Dozier to fly out to Hernandez in center.

Strahm picked up his fourth save of the season as the Red Sox put an end to their two-game losing streak. Whitlock earned the winning decision.

Next up: Hill vs. Singer

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Royals on Saturday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is expected to start for Boston while right-hander Brady Singer is in line to do the same for Kansas City.

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

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)