Martín Pérez gets rocked for 6 runs in shortest outing of season as Red Sox go down quietly to Astros, 7-1

Unlike his last time out, Martin Perez did not have his way with the Houston Astros in his 12th start of the season.

After tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a win in Houston last week, Perez got rocked by the Astros lineup at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox fell to the Astros by a final score of 7-1, which snapped their five-game winning streak. With the loss, Boston drops to 37-24 on the season and falls to 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.

Martin Perez’s struggles

In just two innings of work, the veteran left-hander yielded a season-high six runs — all of which were earned — on six hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts.

The first run Perez gave up was a rather cheap one, as he served up a first-inning solo homer to Carlos Correa that traveled 310 feet down the left field line and just snuck over the Green Monster to give the Astros an early lead.

The other five runs, however, were not. That being the case since Perez allowed the first four hitters he faced in the second to reach base on two doubles, a two-run single, and walk. He followed that ugly sequence by getting beat by Carlos Correa — who this time laced a run-scoring single — once again before issuing an intentional walk to Alex Bregman to load the bases and plunking Yordan Alvarez to walk in a run.

A Yuli Gurriel bases-loaded single added on the Astros’ rally to put Houston up 6-0, and Perez’s night came to a close as soon as he got the final two outs of the second in consecutive order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 59 (33 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler did not induce a single swing-and-miss while only managing to retire six of the 16 Astros he faced.

Ultimately falling to 4-3 on the season in addition to raising his ERA from 3.09 to 3.88, Perez’s next start should come against the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Andriese and the bullpen shoulder the workload

With his starter only providing two innings, Red Sox manager Alex Cora had to turn to his bullpen earlier than he likely anticipated.

Matt Andriese, who had last worked on May 31, got that first call in relief of Martin Perez, and the right-hander was solid while providing three innings out of the bullpen.

The lone run the right-hander surrendered in his third relief appearance of three or more innings came on a booming 451-foot solo blast off the bat of Yordan Alvarez in Houston’s half of the fourth.

Brandon Workman took over for Andriese by tossing two scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh innings, while Phillips Valdez did the same in the eighth and ninth to hold the Astros at seven runs.

Sox bats held in check by Framber Valdez

While Martin Perez could not replicate his performance from last week, Astros starter Framber Valdez certainly did.

Fresh off an outing in which he hurled seven innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park last Wednesday, Valdez was once again locked in over 7 1/3 more strong innings on Tuesday.

The Boston bats only managed to push across one run off the left-hander, and that one run came on a Hunter Renfroe RBI groundout in the fourth inning.

Sure, the fact that Martin Perez put his side in an early hole does not exactly help things, but the Sox finishing the day having gone 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight men on base as a team is not exactly encouraging, either.

Plawecki removed with jaw contusion

Kevin Plawecki originally started Tuesday’s contest behind home plate, but had to be removed in the fourth inning after taking a pitch that bounced in the dirt off his chin/jaw area. Christian Vazquez took over at catcher and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

Later diagnosed with a jaw contusion, Plawecki is considered day-to-day. He does not have a concussion, per Alex Cora.

Next up: Odorizzi vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox will send right-hander and Houston-area native Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the middle game of this three-game set on Wednesday night.

He will be opposed by fellow righty Jake Odorizzi, who will be making his sixth start of the year for the Astros.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote electric pitching prospect Brayan Bello to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted pitching prospect Brayan Bello from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, per Bello’s MiLB.com transactions page.

Bello, who turned 22 on May 17, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 20 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking ninth among pitchers in the organization.

The young right-hander has gotten his 2021 campaign off to a hot start, posting a 2.27 ERA and 2.60 xFIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to just seven walks over six starts and 31 2/3 innings pitched with Greenville.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for just $28,000 in July 2017, Bello has been a quick riser — both through Boston’s farm system and their organizational prospect ranks.

While there was no minor-league season last year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bello did get the opportunity to turn heads at the Sox’ fall instructional league in Fort Myers.

There, according to SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall, Bello “showed some of the best raw stuff” in front of the scouts who were at instructs.

“The [then-21-year-old] Dominican topped out at 98 mph and mostly worked 94-97 mph,” Cundall wrote back in December. “His changeup was his best secondary pitch, flashing arm-side fade at 84-87 mph. Bello also showed off a slider at 84-88 mph that is a work in progress. The shape of the pitch varied and he struggled to consistently snap it off. Developing that pitch was clearly something he was focusing on, as scouts noted he used it a lot more than you would expect in some outings.

“Bello’s fastball-changeup combination and strike-throwing ability provide him with a solid floor as a reliever,” added Cundall. “And if he can improve his slider, he still has a chance to develop into a starting pitcher.”  

As noted by Cundall, Bello — listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds — works with a fastball, changeup, and slider. He has struck out nearly 37% of the hitters he faced this season and has walked less than 6% of them while utilizing that three-pitch mix.

Bello will join a Sea Dogs starting rotation that consists of fellow prospects and minor-leaguers like A.J. Politi, Frank German, Josh Winckowski, and Denyi Reyes as he essentially takes the place of Thaddeus Ward, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last week.

And as he prepares to embark upon this next phase of his career in which he will be facing off against a tougher level of competition, one thing is for certain: The Red Sox are extremely high on Bello.

That being the case because The Athletic’s Peter Gammons tweeted last month that the “Red Sox think the fastest rising pitcher in organization is 22-year-old right-hander Brayan Bello at Greenville. One front office official says ‘Bello was up to 97 with the best changeup I ever seen, at least since Pedro [Martinez].'”

On top of that, Bello can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter, so it seems likely the Red Sox would add him to their 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline in order to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

J.D. Martinez returns to Red Sox lineup, batting cleanup in series opener against Astros

After a three-day hiatus on account of a sore left wrist, J.D. Martinez is back in the Red Sox lineup for Tuesday’s series opener against the Astros at Fenway Park.

Martinez jammed his left wrist while awkwardly sliding into second base on a double in the third inning of Friday’s 5-2 win over the Yankees in the Bronx.

The slugger was able to remain in for the remainder of that game, but was scratched from Saturday night’s contest a few hours before first pitch due to the soreness he was experiencing.

X-rays on Martinez’s wrist did come back negative on Saturday, though Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to give the designated hitter a few more days of rest ahead of what should be a competitive three-game set against Houston.

For his career, the 33-year-old is hitting just .238/.288/.408 with six home runs and 21 RBI in 39 games against the team he began his professional career with. He is however slashing a robust .384/.435/.625 with five homers and 25 RBI at Fenway Park this season.

Martinez will be batting out of the leadoff spot on Tuesday, with Christian Arroyo, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts making up the top third of Boston’s lineup. Here is how the rest of the Sox will line up as they go up against tough Astros left-hander Framber Valdez to begin things on Tuesday.

Fellow southpaw Martin Perez will be getting the start for Boston.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. The Red Sox (37-23) will be going for their sixth straight win.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Leadoff man Christian Arroyo lifts Red Sox to 5-3 win over Marlins

Given the circumstances — a grinding weekend in the Bronx, a light flight home after playing Sunday night, etc. — the Red Sox very well could have thrown in the towel on Monday (a day they originally had off) and looked ahead to this week’s series against the Houston Astros.

Instead, the Sox made up the finale of their series against the Marlins that got rained out on May 30 and came away with a 5-3 win over Miami to finish off the three-game sweep at Fenway Park.

It certainly was no easy task, but Boston improved to 37-23 on the season in the process of extending their winning streak to five consecutive games. They also moved to within a half game of the Rays, who were idle on Monday, for first place in the American League East.

Bogaerts’ early hustle pays off

Matched up against rookie right-hander Zach Thompson for the Marlins on Monday, Xander Bogaerts got the scoring started for the Sox by lacing a two-out single to left field in the bottom half of the first.

After advancing all the way to third on a Rafael Devers double, Bogaerts again put his speed on full display when he scored from third on a wild pitch that gave the Red Sox an immediate 1-0 lead.

Arroyo provides spark out of leadoff spot

Fast forward to the third inning, and Christian Arroyo got a productive day at the plate started while batting out of the leadoff spot by ripping a leadoff ground-rule double off Thompson and was driven in on an RBI double off the bat of Alex Verdugo moments later. 2-0 Boston.

In the fourth, the Sox took full advantage of Marlins reliever Zach Pop, with Kevin Plawecki and Enrique Hernandez collecting back-to-back one-out singles off the right-hander before Arroyo drove both runners in on a two-run base hit to the opposite field.

Verdugo followed by pulling yet another single to right field, which subsequently allowed Arroyo to score from second on account of a throwing error committed by Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall. That sequence put the Red Sox up by four runs at 5-1.

On the day, Arroyo went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, two RBI, and a walk. He is now batting .301 this season.

Pivetta can’t get through five full innings

Nick Pivetta made his 12th start of the season for the Red Sox on Monday, and this outing was perhaps more of a grind than any other thus far.

That being the case because the right-hander was unable to make it until the end of the fifth inning, and instead saw his day come to an end when Alex Cora came to get him with one out still to get in the top of the fifth.

Over those 4 2/3 frames of work, Pivetta yielded two earned runs on seven hits and three walks to go along with six strikeouts on the evening.

The first of those two Miami runs came in the fourth, when Pivetta allowed a one-out RBI single to Jorge Alfaro, but escaped any further damage by inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The second of those Miami runs came an inning later, when Pivetta served up a towering, 427 foot solo shot to Starling Marte to cut the Sox’ lead down to three runs.

A two-out walk issued to Garrett Cooper in the fifth would be how Pivetta’s outing came to a close, one out short of being in line for the winning decision.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (54 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 59% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 97.4 mph with the pitch.

Later hit with the no-decision while slightly elevating his ERA to 3.78 on the season, Pivetta’s next start should come against the Blue Jays on Saturday.

A busy day for the Red Sox bullpen

In relief of Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock got the first call out of a shorthanded Red Sox bullpen due to what transpired against the Yankees over the weekend.

Whitlock, in the shortest outing of his career to date, was summoned to retire Adam Duvall, which he did on two pitches to get out of the jam in the fifth.

From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the first two hitters he faced in the sixth, but was unable to finish the inning and instead had to be lifted for Hirokazu Sawamura.

Sawamura loaded the bases on a four-pitch walk of Starling Marte and followed with an emphatic five-pitch strikeout of the dangerous Jesus Aguilar on a nasty 94 mph splitter to keep the Marlins at bay. The Japanese right-hander also worked a scoreless top half of the seventh.

Josh Taylor took over in the eighth, but he too made way for another reliever — Adam Ottavino — after getting the first two outs of the inning.

With Matt Barnes unavailable after being used in all three games in New York, Ottavino was tasked with closing this out.

The veteran righty obliged, but not before the Marlins made things interesting by plating a run and bringing the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs in the ninth.

Matched up against Jorge Alfaro, Ottavino got the Marlins backstop to ground out to third and notched his third save of the season as a result of preserving the 5-3 victory for his side.

Some notes from this win:

Christian Arroyo in five games this month:

.438 (7-for-16)/.471/.750 with one home run, two doubles, five RBI, four runs scored, one walk, and four strikeouts.

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up: First of three against Astros

The Red Sox will welcome the Marlins into town for the first of a three-game series that begins at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Framber Valdez will do the same for Houston.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester

Before making up their series finale against the Marlins at Fenway Park on Monday, the Red Sox outrighted right-hander Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

Brewer, 28, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last Thursday so that the club could make room on its 40-man roster for Brandon Workman.

In one lone appearance out of the Boston bullpen this season, Brewer yielded four runs — three of which were earned — on four hits, three walks, and one strikeout in one inning of relief against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 31.

Originally acquired in a November 2018 trade with the Padres, the righty has posted a 4.98 ERA, a 5.20 FIP, and a 78:51 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 70 total appearances (four starts) in parts of three seasons with the Red Sox.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers and was not traded, Brewer will report back to Worcester, where he put up a 9.00 ERA in four outings (four innings pitched) in two separate stints with the affiliate.

With the WooSox, Brewer rejoins a bullpen mix that includes plenty of other relievers with big-league experience, such as Marcus Walden, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Brandon Brennan, Matt Hall, Bobby Poyner, and Austin Brice.

Among those relievers, Brennan is the only name listed above currently on Boston’s 40-man roster. Eduard Bazardo, who has made two appearances with the Red Sox this season, is also on the 40-man, but he has been on the injured list since May 24 due to a lat strain.

(Picture of Colten Brewer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts leads Red Sox to comeback 6-5 victory over Yankees in extra innings; Boston sweeps New York at Yankee Stadium for first time since 2011

It took 10 innings to complete, but the Red Sox finished off their first sweep of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in nearly 10 years with a drama-filled 6-5 comeback victory over New York on Sunday.

With the win, their fourth straight and their 21st of the come-from-behind variety this year, Boston improves to 36-23 (20-10 on the road) this season. They remain one game behind the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Verdugo gets the Red Sox on the board first

Matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German to start things on Sunday, Alex Verdugo got the scoring started for the Sox by crushing a first-inning solo homer to deep right-center field to give his side the early lead.

Verdugo’s eighth home run of the season, which came on a 91.3 mph fastball down the heart of the plate from German, had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph off the bat and traveled 446 feet into the bleachers.

Richards struggles out of the gate, but eventually settles in and goes five innings

Despite going up right away on the Yankees in this one, the Red Sox found themselves down a run going into the second inning on account of Garrett Richards’ early struggles.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston, the right-hander yielded three consecutive one-out singles in the first inning to load the bases for Gary Sanchez, who drove in two runs on a hard-hit double to left field.

At that moment, it did not look like things were going to go well for Richards in his first outing at Yankee Stadium since 2018, but he was able to settle in fairly nicely.

The only other run the veteran righty gave up came on an RBI groundout from Aaron Judge in the bottom of the fourth. From there, he was able to escape the jam by getting Gleyber Torres to ground into another forceout before retiring the side in order in the fifth to end his night on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (66 strikes), Richards ended his day having allowed three earned runs on eight hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work to raise his ERA on the year to 3.88.

The 33-year-old’s next start should come against the Blue Jays back at Fenway Park on Friday.

Gonzalez comes through in the seventh

With Richards holding the Yankees to three runs, the Sox lineup bounced back in their half of the seventh after German held them in check in his 5 2/3 innings pitched.

Hunter Renfroe led things off by drawing a four-pitch walk off left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge, which set the stage for Marwin Gonzalez, who was already having himself a memorable weekend in the Bronx.

Batting from his preferred right side of the plate, the switch-hitting Gonzalez cranked a game-tying, two-run home run down the left field line on a hanging slider from Luetge that knotting things up at 3-3.

Bogaerts delivers first of two clutch moments in the eighth

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was presumably very pleased with what he saw out of his lineup in the top half of the eighth.

The pinch-hitting Christian Arroyo led off with a pop-up double that very well should have been caught, advanced to third base on a Verdugo groundout, and then came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Bogaerts that put Boston ahead 4-3 late.

Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in. That’s what happened there.

Barnes blows second save of season in the ninth

While the likes of Darwinzon Hernandez, Adam Ottavino, and Josh Taylor each tossed a scoreless inning in relief of Garrett Richards, Red Sox closer Matt Barnes ran into some trouble in the bottom half of the ninth.

Working in his third straight game, the right-hander issued a one-out walk to Aaron Judge and proceeded to serve up a game-tying, RBI double to Gleyber Torres.

With this contest now in a 4-4 deadlock, Barnes was able to get out of the inning while stranding the potential winning run at third base, though he was charged with his second blown save of the season.

Bogaerts does it again, this time to seal it

Heading into the top of the 10th, Christian Vazquez — who recorded the final out of the ninth — was placed at second base. Bobby Dalbec followed by drawing a six-pitch walk off Luis Cessa, and both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Christian Arroyo.

Alex Verdugo was unable to do anything in the clutch, as he grounded out to second, but Xander Bogaerts certainly did — again.

On a 2-1, 83 mph slider from Cessa, Bogaerts cleared the bases by drilling a two-run single to center field, scoring both Vazquez and Dalbec in the process of picking up his second and third RBI of the night to make it a 6-4 game in favor of Boston.

Valdez notches first career save to close it out

Having already exhausted the vast majority of his available bullpen options, Alex Cora turned to right-hander Phillips Valdez to close this one out in the bottom of the 10th.

With a two-run lead to protect, Valdez plunked the first hitter he faced, but induced a potentially pivotal double play — the third the Yankees hit into Sunday — before allowing one unearned run to score on a Marwin Gonzalez throwing error.

Valdez was able to rebound though, as he got D.J. LeMahieu to ground out to secure the 6-5 win for the Red Sox and pick up his first career save while doing so.

Some notes from this victory:

From MLB’s Sarah Langs:

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up: Make-up against Marlins to kick off homestand

Monday was originally supposed to be an off-day for the Red Sox, but May 30th’s rainout against the Marlins changed that.

The Sox will instead welcome the Marlins back into Fenway Park on Monday evening to conclude their three-game series that began late last month, with Boston taking the first two from Miami.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston, while fellow righty Pablo Lopez will do the same for Miami.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. A unique start time for what is sure to be a balmy day in the Fenway-area.

Red Sox will be going for their fifth consecutive win before opening up a three-game set against the Astros on Tuesday.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Franchy Cordero finding success with regular playing time at Triple-A Worcester: ‘We’re glad he’s been able to take advantage of it so far,’ Chaim Bloom says

While he was up with the Red Sox for the first nine weeks of the major-league season, one thing that hindered Franchy Cordero was his ability to find regular playing time. in the outfield.

Cordero did play in 34 of Boston’s first 48 games, but he only accrued 102 plate appearances while doing so. He also started just four of the club’s last 11 games prior to getting optioned to Triple-A Worcester on May 27.

In his first 34 games with the Sox, the 26-year-old outfielder struggled to the tune of a .179/.228/.274 slash line to go along with just one home run, six doubles, nine RBI, nine runs scored, six walks, and 37 strikeouts. It took until May 23 for him to hit his first homer.

Those difficulties at the big-league level surely played a role in Cordero being sent down by the Red Sox, but the club also took action in order to get the left-handed hitter more consistent at-bats in Worcester.

“It was getting hard to get him at-bats and, although he’s important for us in the present, he’s very important for us in the future,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora explained to reporters last month. “He hasn’t played a lot the last few years. For him to go down there and get at-bats — consistent at-bats — and keep improving on swing decisions and controlling the strike zone, it’s very important.”

Cordero, one of five players the Red Sox acquired in the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February, does not have much major-league experience for someone his age.

Originally signed by the Padres out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, the former top prospect has dealt with his fair share of injuries over the years and as a result played in just 95 games between San Diego and Kansas City from 2017-2020.

Not only that, but Cordero had just 121 career games under his belt at the Triple-A level prior to getting dealt to the Sox over the winter.

With those factors in mind, the Red Sox obviously felt it would be best for Cordero to reset with the WooSox, and that decision has payed off thus far.

Following a 2-for-4 showing against the Rochester Red Wings in which he hit two doubles and drove in two runs at Polar Park on Sunday afternoon, Cordero is now slashing a sizzling .378/.410/.838 with four home runs, three doubles, one triple, nine RBI, seven runs scored, two walks, and 10 strikeouts through his first nine games with the WooSox. He has primarily been batting out of the three-hole for Worcester.

“[I’m] working on everything I need to be working on consistently and keeping that mindset, bringing it down here and putting everything together and making sure it works,” Cordero told MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison on Friday. “[I’m] keeping that consistency and making sure that the results are the way I want them to be.”

Seeing how he has seemingly found his groove with Worcester, it’s safe to assume Cordero has caught the attention of those who played a role in his acquisition — as well as his demotion, including Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

“He has displayed some of the incredible talent that he has that for various reasons he just wasn’t able to get to consistently in the time he was up here with us ,”Bloom said of Cordero earlier Sunday afternoon. “As frustrating as it is to live that with him when he was struggling up in the big-leagues, it also speaks to the value of making sure that we’re turning over every rock developmentally to get him right.

“He’s young enough and talented enough that we owe it to him — we owe it to ourselves — to do everything we can to get him on a good track,” added Bloom. “He has power that can change a game. He’s a good athlete. He can run. He can defend. All the pieces are there. We just have to help him get to a place where he’s got a chance to play enough at the big-league level for him to produce. And getting him regular at-bats right now is the best way we can do that, and we’re glad he’s been able to take advantage of it so far.”

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

J.D. Martinez held out of Red Sox lineup for second straight day due to sore left wrist; X-rays on slugger’s wrist did come back negative

The Red Sox will be without J.D. Martinez once again as they go for a three-game sweep over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.

Martinez, who jammed his left wrist while sliding into second base in Friday’s game against New York, is out for the second straight day after he was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup on account of the soreness he was experiencing.

X-rays on the slugger’s left wrist came back negative, so both sides are hopeful one or two more days of rest will do the trick and a stint on the injured list can be avoided.

“We’re going to stay away from him today,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before Sunday’s game. “A little bit sore. Not as sore as yesterday. … I think one more day will benefit him. Maybe two. I do believe with treatment and all that he should be OK in the upcoming days

“We feel he’s progressing,” added Cora. “It’s just us thinking ahead and not pushing him so hard. I do believe if this game was probably later on in this season, he’ll find a way to go out there and compete.”

Martinez has been one of the Red Sox’ most productive hitters this season. The 33-year-old came into play Sunday slashing .321/.389/.569 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI over 54 games played thus far.

In Martinez’s place, the Sox will turn to Danny Santana to serve as designated hitter in Sunday’s series finale. The versatile switch-hitter will also bat out of the leadoff spot.

Here is how of the rest of the Red Sox will lineup behind Santana, with right-hander Garrett Richards making his 12th start of the season for Boston.

Fellow righty Domingo German gets the starting nod for New York.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández delivers with go-ahead RBI double, Bobby Dalbec crushes 453-foot homer as Red Sox come back to take series from Yankees with 7-3 win

Kiké Hernández made sure to make his first hit in nearly two weeks count.

After not playing on Thursday or Friday, Hernández came into the weekend in the midst of an 0-for-21 slump and was dropped to seventh in Alex Cora’s lineup as a result.

In the eighth inning of a 3-3 game Friday night, Hernández came to the plate for the fourth time with two outs and Rafael Devers at first following a leadoff single with reliever Chad Green on the mound for New York.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Green — a 2-2, 95 mph fastball at the top of the zone — Hernández laced a go-ahead RBI double down the left field line that allowed a husting Devers to score all the way from first.

Hernández’s late-game heroics gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead, but they were not done there.

Christian Vazquez followed with a run-scoring double of his won to drive in Hernández, while Bobby Dalbec put this one to bed by crushing a 453-foot two-run home run to deep center field.

Dalbec’s sixth homer of the season, which had an exit velocity of 115.6 mph to make it the hardest-hit ball of his career to this point, put the Red Sox up 7-3, which would go on to be Friday’s final score in the team’s series-clinching victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Five straight hits in the sixth

Before the eighth-inning rally, Boston put up their first three runs of the night earlier in their half of the sixth.

There, five straight one-out hits courtesy of Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe resulted in some serious offensive production, with Devers driving in a pair off Yankees starter Jameson Taillon on a two-run single and Gonzalez plating Devers on yet another run-scoring double off reliever Jonathan Loaisiga.

That little outburst gave the Sox a 3-2 lead going into the middle of the sixth inning.

Rodriguez’s no-decision

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 11th start of the season for the Red Sox on Friday. The left-hander took a perfect game into the third inning before giving up back-to-back two-out singles, though nothing came of it.

The fourth inning, however, was a different story for Rodriguez, as he served up a two-run blast to Gleyber Torres to give the Yankees their first lead of the night at 2-0.

Rodriguez ran into some more trouble in the sixth when he issued a one-out walk to Aaron Judge and yielded a ground-rule double to Gio Urshela to put runners in scoring position. With Torres due to hit next for New York, Rodriguez’s outing came to a close.

Garrett Whitlock was deployed from the Red Sox bullpen to replace Rodriguez, and he allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly before ending the inning.

With that third run being charged to Rodriguez, the 28-year-old hurler finished the day having surrendered three earned runs on one walk and seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work on 88 pitches — 55 of which were strikes.

Able to lower his ERA on the season to 5.59 despite not being involved in the decision, his next start should come against the Astros back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Whitlock and Ottavino impress against former organization

Whitlock, who the Red Sox selected from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, came back out for the seventh inning after finishing things in the sixth.

Facing off against the team that selected him in the 18th round of the 2017 draft, the right-hander wound up facing the minimum three batters in the seventh by inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Gary Sanchez.

Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, had spent the previous two seasons with the Yankees prior to getting traded to the Red Sox over the winter.

In his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since that trade went down, the Brooklyn native continued the dominating run he has been on of late by sitting down the only three hitters he faced in order in the bottom half of the eighth.

Workman struggles with walks, which leads to Barnes closing it out

From there, the Sox had already jumped out to a late 7-3 lead and turned to Brandon Workman to wrap things up.

Workman, making his second appearance out of the Boston bullpen since re-joining the club on Thursday, got the first two outs of the ninth rather easily, but then proceeded to walk the next two Yankees who came to the plate.

That resulted in Cora making the call for closer Matt Barnes, who fanned the lone hitter he faced on five pitches to secure the 7-3 win for his side and notch his 14th save of the season.

With the 7-3 triumph, the Red Sox guarantee their first series victory in the Bronx since the 2018 ALDS. They also pick up their third straight win to improve to 35-23 and remain within a game of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Richards looks to complete the sweep

The Red Sox will send right-hander Garrett Richards to the hill on Sunday night as they look to complete the sweep against their divisional foes.

The Yankees will be going with fellow righty Domingo German as they look to avoid a three-game sweep.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Richard Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox lineup: Kiké Hernández dropped down to seventh for Game 2 against Yankees, J.D. Martinez scratched due to sore left wrist

For the first time this season, Kiké Hernández will not be batting leadoff for the Red Sox while still being in the starting lineup.

Hernández has been dropped down to the seven-hole and will start in center field for Saturday night’s game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The switch-hitting Danny Santana will start at designated hitter and bat leadoff in Hernández’s place.

“Danny’s swinging the bat well, though he’s not getting on base,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of his lineup decision. “He hit a ball hard in Houston. He hit a ball hard yesterday. He brings speed to the equation. Just felt like today, with this matchup, it was good to put Danny there. Hopefully we can exploit a few things from their starter and be more aggressive on the base paths.”

J.D. Martinez was originally going to DH and bat third, but has since been scratched from the lineup due to a sore left wrist that he jammed on a slide into second base on Friday night. The slugger will be available to pinch hit later in the game if needed, per Cora.

Coming into play Saturday, Hernández is carrying with him a .228/.284/.383 slash line to go along with eight doubles, one triple, five home runs, 12 RBI, 26 runs scored, one stolen base, 11 walks, and 38 strikeouts through his first 43 games of the season. This includes four pinch-hit appearances in which he replaced the No. 2, No. 8, and No. 9 hitters.

After missing nearly two weeks with a right hamstring strain and being activated from the injured list on May 17, the 29-year-old initially got off to a hot start with hits in four of his first six games back in action.

Since the Red Sox left Philadelphia, though, Hernández has cooled off significantly as he is currently in the midst of a 1-for-25 (.040) skid over his last seven games played dating back to May 25. He did not play in Thursday’s game against the Astros or Friday’s game against the Yankees.

What is surprising about the right-handed hitter’s recent struggles is that he has still proven to be effective when leading off a game (.289/.308/.395 in 39 plate appearances) or an inning (.275/.315/.522 in 73 plate appearances).

Still, the rather low on-base percentage Hernández has put up to this point without a doubt sticks out here.

Among 27 big-league leadoff hitters who have accrued at least 100 plate appearances thus far, Hernández ranks 20th in walk percentage (6.5%), ninth in strikeout percentage (20.8%), 25th in on-base percentage (.298), 21st in OPS (.700), 23rd in weighted on-base average (.305), and 23rd in wRC+ (91), per FanGraphs.

Prior to joining the Red Sox on a two-year, $14 million deal over the winter, the native of Puerto Rico batted out of the seven-hole in a grand total of 126 games between the Astros, Marlins, and Dodgers from 2014-2020.

In those 126 games, Hernández hit .200/.287/.335 with 16 homers and 48 RBI over 443 total plate appearances.

“Sometimes you got to breath,” Cora said of dropping Hernández down in the lineup. “Hitting him seventh, he’ll probably see the pitcher for one inning where he can see it from a different perspective and get feedback from the other hitters, and he can get going.”

Saturday’s contest in the Bronx will mark just Hernández’s third career game at Yankee Stadium, and his first since September 2016 when he was with the Dodgers.

Santana, meanwhile, will be batting leadoff for the third game in a row and the fourth time this season overall. The versatile 30-year-old is slashing .125/.222/.375 with two home runs and three RBI over his first 11 games as a member of the Red Sox.

What is Cora looking for out of the leadoff spot moving forward?

“We want somebody that can get on base,” he said. “Or somebody that can drive the ball. We want to set the tempo, and right now — we had that through stretches — but we haven’t been consistent.”

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up alongside Santana, Hernández, and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be looking to bounce back from a rough month of May in his first start of June.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon will be getting the start for the Yankees. A handful of Red Sox hitters have faced him before, including Santana and Hunter Renfroe.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)