Red Sox swept by Rays following 3-2 defeat; Boston extends losing streak to season-high 4 straight games

After Xander Bogaerts essentially described Sunday night’s series finale against the Rays as a must-win, the Red Sox came up short at Tropicana Field and were unable to avoid a three-game series sweep at the hands of their division rivals by a final score of 3-2.

Nick Pivetta, making his 21st start of the season for the Sox, took a perfect game into the third inning after sitting down each of the first eight batters he faced in order.

A two-out walk to the Rays’ No. 9 hitter in the bottom of the third, however, altered the course for Pivetta, as he saw his no-hit bid come to an end moments later by serving up a two-run home run to Brandon Lowe on a 3-2, 85 mph slider that was grooved down the heart of the plate.

Lowe’s blast put Tampa Bay up 2-0, but the Boston bats were able to cut that deficit in half in the top of the fourth. There, when matched up against tough Rays starter Shane McClanahan, ex-Rays outfielder Hunter Renfroe put a charge into his 16th big fly of the year.

Renfroe turned around a 2-2, 97 mph fastball from McClanahan and deposited it 427 feet to deep center field. The solo shot, which had an exit velocity of 104 mph, made it a 2-1 game in favor of the Rays.

The Sox had a chance to do more damage in the inning, with Christian Vazquez ripping a one-out single and Alex Verdugo advancing him into scoring position by drawing a walk, but McClanahan rallied by getting Kevin Plawecki to fly out and Bobby Dalbec to strike out to escape the jam.

Pivetta, meanwhile, got through a scoreless fourth inning unscathed, but ran into more trouble in the fifth when he yielded a leadoff single to rookie phenom Wander Franco.

A wild pitch from the right-hander allowed Franco to move up to second base, and old friend Manuel Margot took full advantage of that miscue by lacing a run-scoring single to right field to bring in Franco and make it a 3-1 contest in favor of his side.

Following that sequence, Pivetta was able to record the first two outs of the fifth, but his night ended then and there when Red Sox manager Alex Cora gave him the hook with the left-handed hitting Lowe due up next for the Rays.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (54 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler wound up surrendering three earned runs on three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor was called upon to face Lowe, and he won that particular matchup by getting him to pop out into foul territory to retire the side.

From there, recently-acquired reliever Hansel Robles made his Red Sox debut in the sixth inning, and he maneuvered his way around a leadoff single by inducing a fielder’s choice out and 3-6-3 double play in his lone scoreless frame of work.

The Rays turned to their bullpen starting in the seventh after McClanahan had given them six strong innings, and Verdugo greeted their first reliever of the night — Drew Rasmussen — by lining a scorching 111 mph double down the right field line to lead things off.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Plawecki fly out and scored on a wild pitch while Kiké Hernández, but even after Hernández himself singled and Rafael Devers drew a walk with two outs, a slumping J.D. Martinez was unable to bring in either runner and instead grounded into a force out to leave things at 3-2 in favor of Tampa Bay.

Following two scoreless innings of relief from Garrett Whitlock in which he scattered three total hits thanks to some stellar defense behind him out of the bullpen, the Red Sox were down to their final three outs going into their half of the ninth inning.

With righty reliever Matt Wisler on the mound for the Rays, Plawecki and Jarren Duran (pinch-hitting for Dalbec) grounded out and punched out, respectively. But Hernández provided a spark by reaching base on a two-out single.

The pinch-running Jonathan Arauz took over for Hernández as the base runner at first base, and Devers was able to advance him all the way up to third on another base hit to center field, leaving things in the hands of Martinez.

Very much in need of a hit, Martinez got ahead in the count against Wisler at 3-1, but swung at an outside pitch that likely would have been a ball before putting an 81 mph slider that was down and away in play.

Unfortunately for Martinez, the ball left his bat at just 71 mph and traveled a mere 226 feet before landing in the glove of Margot for the third and final out of the ninth, thus sealing a 3-2 defeat for the Sox.

In the process of getting swept by the Rays on Sunday night, the Red Sox went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position while leaving 10 men on base as a team.

Sunday’s loss also extends Boston’s losing streak to a season-high four consecutive games, dropping them to 63-44 on the year. They now trail Tampa Bay by 1 1/2 games for first place in the American League East after what was undoubtedly a crushing weekend.

That said, the Red Sox will be off on Monday as they prepare to embark upon the next portion of this three-city road trip in Detroit against a surprising 51-57 Tigers team led by Cora’s former colleague in A.J. Hinch.

Boston previously bested Detroit by taking the opening and concluding games of a three-game set at Fenway Park back in early May. The Sox outscored the Tigers, 28-22, in the process of doing so.

This time around, right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener at Comerica Park. He will be opposed by fellow righty Wily Peralta for Detroit.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be looking to snap this four-game skid.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez gets rocked for 6 runs as lifeless Red Sox get blown out by Blue Jays, 13-1, in series finale

While their division rivals continue to stock up ahead of the trade deadline, the Red Sox — who have yet to make a significant move — were obliterated by the Blue Jays by a final score of 13-1 at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

Eduardo Rodriguez, making his first start since leaving his last one early with migraine symptoms, quite simply did not look like himself.

Over just 3 1/3 innings of work, the left-hander surrendered six runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits, four walks, and eight strikeouts.

After striking out the first batter he faced in George Springer, Rodriguez proceeded to load the bases on two hits and a four-pitch walk. Teoscar Hernandez drove in two of those runners on a hard-hit RBI double and Cavan Biggio followed with an RBI single, giving the Jays a 3-0 lead right out of the chute.

Rodriguez’s struggles persisted in the second, as he yielded back-to-back doubles to Reese McGuire and Springer to increase Toronto’s lead even further. The Venezuelan southpaw rallied by striking out the side and tossing a scoreless third inning, but got knocked around once more in the fourth.

Loading the bases once again with one out, Rodriguez issued a bases-loaded free pass to Marcus Semien, marking the unofficial end his outing since he was still responsible for three runners on base.

Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in relief of Rodriguez, and he allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on an RBI forceout from Bo Bichette to officially close the book on Rodriguez’s night.

Of the 92 pitches Rodriguez threw, 57 went for strikes and 18 went for swings-and-misses. The 28-year-old hurler ultimately suffered his sixth loss of the year while seeing his ERA on the season rise to an unsightly 5.60.

Valdez, meanwhile, got through the rest of the fourth inning unscathed, but walked a pair in the top of the fifth before serving up a monstrous 436-foot three-run home run over the Green Monster to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., which put the Blue Jays up 9-0.

Four more Toronto runs were pushed across off Sox reliever Brandon Workman, who allowed three Jays to cross the plate on four hits in the seventh before yielding an additional tally on two hits in the seventh.

In that very same seventh inning, a sleepy, Rafael Devers-less Red Sox lineup scored their first run of the evening after being held solemnly in check by Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu, who hurled six innings of scoreless baseball in his third start of the season against Boston.

Christian Vazquez ripped a one-out double off Blue Jays reliever Taylor Saucedo to begin things in the seventh and Bobby Dalbec followed by driving the backstop in on a run-scoring two-base hit of his own.

That sequence made it a 13-1 contest in favor of Toronto, and the Boston bullpen was able to hold them there as Darwinzon Hernandez twirled a scoreless eighth inning and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki — making his sixth career appearance on the mound — did the same in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

That said, the Red Sox still fell to the Blue Jays by a final score of 13-1 on Thursday night as they have to settle for a four-game series split to close out a 5-3 homestand.

With the loss, the Sox also drop to 63-41 on the season, meaning their lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East shrinks to 1 1/2 games.

Renfroe, Verdugo make fantastic catches in back-to-back innings

While the Red Sox did not muster much offensively in their series finale against the Blue Jays, their two starting corner infielders made spectacular catches in the fourth and fifth innings of Thursday night’s contest.

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe robbed Randal Grichuk of a potential 328-foot grand slam off Phillips Valdez to end things in the fourth, while left fielder Alex Verdugo prevented Cavan Biggio from extending his at-bat in the fifth by reaching over the left field wall in foul territory to make an impressive snag.

Dalbec becomes tallest shortstop in Red Sox history

Bobby Dalbec, who started at third base on Thursday, took over for Xander Bogaerts at shortstop in the seventh inning and became the tallest player (6-foot-4) to play at that particular position for the Red Sox.

Next up: Huge weekend at the Trop

The Red Sox will board a flight for Tampa, Fla. Thursday night as they prepare to embark upon their longest road trip of the season (10 games) that includes stops in Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto — yes, Toronto.

To kick the road trip off, the Sox and Rays will go at it in the first game of a three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field on Friday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to start for Boston in the opener, while fellow southpaw Josh Fleming is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Cora and Eduardo Rodriguez: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana removed from Tuesday’s game against Angels due to left quad injury: ‘We’re going to be very careful,’ Alex Cora says

Red Sox utility man Danny Santana was forced to exit Tuesday night’s game against the Angels in the seventh inning due to a left quad injury, manager Alex Cora said.

Santana, who started at first base for Boston in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to Los Angeles, sustained the injury while running out a ground ball he hit to second base off Angels starter Shohei Ohtani.

In the process of trying to beat the throw to first, however, Santana came up limp, resulting in Bobby Dalbec taking over for him at first base.

When asked about how the veteran utility man was holding up during his postgame media availability, Cora hinted that a stint on the injured list could be possible.

“It’s his left quad, you saw him limping towards the end,” Cora said over Zoom. “Hopefully, he slowed down enough that it wasn’t that bad. Obviously, he’s getting treatment. It will come back tomorrow and see how he feels.”

Santana, who came into play Tuesday hitting .286 (8-for-28)/.310/.429 over his last seven games, is known for his speed, as evidenced by his 74 career stolen bases at the major-league level.

The 30-year-old switch-hitter also has a history when it comes to issues pertaining to his left quad, as he missed a significant portion of the 2017 season with the Braves due to a left quadriceps strain that ultimately required a stay on the 60-day IL.

“With him, obviously, speed is part of his game, and moving in the outfield and all that,” said Cora. “So we’re going to be very careful. He has past history with that. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and we’ll decide what we do.”

Santana being removed from Tuesday’s game because of injury comes one day after fellow utility man Marwin Gonzalez was forced to leave Monday’s contest at Angel Stadium on account of right hamstring tightness.

Cora had been hopeful that Gonzalez would be ready to return to action for Wednesday’s series finale against the Angels, but the possibility that he is not would put the Sox in a tough position with a short bench.

Calling up someone — like Michael Chavis or Franchy Cordero, for instance –from Triple-A Worcester would be a feasible option in this scenario were it not for the fact that the WooSox are currently taking on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Allentown, Pa., which is approximately 2,690 miles Northeast of Anaheim.

“That’s what we were talking about,” Cora said. “There’s not too many bodies around here, and I don’t think they’re going to make it on time if we have to bring in somebody from outside.”

Backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who has been on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain since June 22, has been traveling and working out with the team during this West Coast road trip.

With that in mind, the 30-year-old backstop could be activated off the IL before Wednesday’s game in the event that Boston would need a fresh body available off the bench in place of Santana and/or Gonzalez.

“Kevin is probably available,” said Cora. “If that’s the case, maybe. He ran the bases today, he’s been hitting. Tomorrow, he was going to have a heavy load of workouts behind the plate, throwing the bases and all that. If that goes well and we have to make a move, most likely it’s going to be Kevin. To have a body with Connor (Wong), who we can move around and Christian (Arroyo), too. So we feel comfortable if that’s the case.”

The Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Angels on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Theoron W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Bobby Dalbec (hamstring tightness) out of Wednesday’s lineup, Christian Arroyo (knee contusion) set for rehab assignment with WooSox, Tanner Houck sharp in latest start

Red Sox manager Alex Cora provided injury updates pertaining to Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo, and Tanner Houck prior to Wednesday’s game against the Royals at Fenway Park.

Dalbec, who experienced right hamstring tightness that forced him to exit in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s win over Kansas City, is out of Boston’s starting lineup for Wednesday’s contest.

“Bobby’s OK,” Cora said earlier Wednesday afternoon. “He’s still tight. He’s going to get treatment. I don’t know if we’re going to try to make him run today. But better than yesterday, but not 100%.”

While it certainly looks like Dalbec, who actually turned 26 on Tuesday, will avoid a trip to the injured list and should be considered day-to-day, Michael Chavis will start in his place at first base and bat ninth on Wednesday.

Arroyo slated to begin rehab assignment with WooSox

Christian Arroyo, meanwhile, has been on the 10-day injured list since June 24 (backdated to June 21) due to a right knee contusion that was originally diagnosed as a right shin bone bruise after he collided with Enrique Hernandez in Kansas City two weekends ago.

Because his stint on the IL was backdated to June 21, Arroyo is eligible to be activated on Thursday, July 1. That said, the Red Sox would like the 26-year-old infielder to get some at-bats in with Triple-A Worcester before that happens.

“Most likely he’ll go to Worcester and he’ll DH tomorrow,” Cora said of Arroyo. “He faced Chris [Sale] today. I think he had two at-bats against him. But there’s not too much going on the field today as far as batting practice and all that. But that was the plan last night. Probably after the game we’ll let you guys know, but that seems to be what he’s going to do.

Arroyo himself expects to head out to Polar Park on Thursday to DH for the WooSox before rejoining the big-league club for their upcoming West Coast road trip.

Houck feeling good after third start back for WooSox

Red Sox pitching prospect Tanner Houck woke up Wednesday morning with no ill effects from his latest start with the WooSox at Polar Park on Tuesday night, Cora said.

In his third start back off the injured list after missing more than a month with flexor muscle soreness, Houck allowed two earned runs on three hits, zero walks, and two hit batsmen to go along with four strikeouts over four innings of work.

It was the right-hander’s longest outing (67 pitches, 40 of which were strikes) since he returned to the mound on June 17.

“Everything went well,” Cora said when asked about Houck, who turned 25 on Tuesday. “I actually texted with [WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott] this morning, he felt like [Houck] was really good. Command was good, the intent was good, very aggressive. Everything went well. Obviously, let’s see how he shows up today and if there’s any red flags. We don’t expect red flags, so it was a good one for him.”

As he continues to build up his arm strength, Houck could make his return to the Sox’ starting rotation out of the All-Star break if the club opts to add a sixth starter to the mix out of the gate in late July.

Also, for what it’s worth, Cora did not provide an update on backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who has been on the injured list with a left hamstring strain since June 22 but suffered an apparent minor setback on Monday.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Homers from Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Vázquez power Red Sox to 7-3 win over Blue Jays

The Red Sox wasted no time in bouncing back from their second shutout loss of the season on Tuesday by plating five runs on five hits in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla.

Matched up against veteran starter Ross Stripling, a leadoff single from Kiké Hernández to begin things on Wednesday night proved to be the catalyst for an offensive outpouring.

Alex Verdugo followed by obliterating a hanging slider 391 feet to right field for his sixth home run of the season — a two-run shot — to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

J.D. Martinez made it a 3-0 game moments later when he mashed his 11th homer of the year to go back-to-back with Verdugo, while Christian Vazquez and Bobby Dalbec knocked in two more runs on an RBI groundout and RBI double, respectively.

With Garrett Richards leading the way on the other side of things, the Red Sox rode a productive first inning all the way to a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays to snap a two-game skid and improve to 26-18 (13-6 on the road) on the season.

Hernandez finishes triple shy of cycle

Kiké Hernández’s leadoff single in the first not only proved to be the start of a solid day at the plate for the Red Sox as a team, but for Hernandez himself as well.

The 29-year-old homered off his former Dodger teammate in Stripling to lead off the top half of the second inning and later ripped a two-out double in the fourth for his third hit of the night.

Having already completed three-quarters of the cycle in his first three at-bats Wednesday, Hernandez was unable to see it through until the end as he flew out in the sixth and struck out swinging in the eighth. Still, a three-hit day is a three-hit day.

Richards improves to 4-2, lowers ERA to 3.72

Before even taking the mound at TD Ballpark for the first time on Wednesday night, Red Sox starter Garrett Richards was gifted a five-run cushion to work with.

The right-hander got off to a shaky start by walking the first man he faced and serving up a hard-hit RBI double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr before issuing yet another free pass, which led to pitching coach Dave Bush coming out for a mound visit.

That mound visit certainly proved to be beneficial for Richards, as he settled in nicely from that point on by stringing together five consecutive scoreless frames of work.

After punching out the first two hitters he faced in the seventh, Richards yielded a single to Reese McGuire, which would mark the end of his night.

Garrett Whitlock came on in relief of the righty and allowed the runner he inherited to score on a two-run home run off the bat of Marcus Semien.

That two-run blast closed the book on Richards’ outing, who wound up being charged with two earned runs on seven hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 total innings pitched.

Though inconsistent with his command at times, Richards proved to be effective enough to pick up his fourth winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 3.72.

Of the 99 pitches (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler threw on Wednesday, 64 were four-seam fastballs, 18 were curveballs, and 17 were sliders. His next start should come against the Braves back at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

Vazquez homers for first time since April 7

After seeing his team’s five-run lead shrink to a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, Christian Vazquez got one of those runs back by crushing his third home run of the season a half inning later.

Whitlock, Ottavino, and Taylor close it out

As previously mentioned, Garrett Whitlock was deployed in relief of Richards and immediately served up a two-run shot to Marcus Semien before getting Bo Bichette to ground out to retire the side in the seventh.

From there, Adam Ottavino maneuvered his way around a one-out single in an otherwise perfect eighth inning, while left-hander Josh Taylor preserved the 7-3 win for his side by working a scoreless bottom half of the ninth.

Cordero’s exit velocity

While the likes of Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, and J.D. Martinez stole the show offensively, Franchy Cordero also had a strong day at the plate, though the results may not show it.

Returning to the Red Sox lineup for the first time since Saturday, Cordero went 1-for-4 while batting out of the nine-hole.

Of the four balls Cordero put in play on Wednesday, two –a first-inning lineout and sixth-inning double — had exit velocities of 109 and 115.2 mph. His double was the hardest-hit ball of the night.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Matz

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Blue Jays before getting on a plane to Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston, while left-hander Steven Matz will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

Picture of Kiké Hernández and Alex Verdugo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo celebrates 25th birthday by breaking out of slump, crushing home run as Red Sox blank Angels, 9-0

Alex Verdugo celebrated his birthday in style at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.

Coming into the day in the midst of a chilly 2-for-24 slump, the newly-turned 25-year-old set the tone for the Red Sox by taking Angels starter Dylan Bundy deep to right field for his fifth home run of the season right away in the first inning.

Verdugo’s solo blast put Boston up by a run early on in what would turn out to be a commanding 9-0 victory over Los Angeles.

With the win — their third straight, the Sox improved to 25-16 on the season and 13-11 at Fenway Park.

Dalbec, Cordero collect two doubles each

As was the case on Friday night, the bottom of the Red Sox lineup continued its recent run of success thanks to the efforts of Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero on Saturday.

Dalbec added on the Sox’ early lead by plating two more runs in the bottom half of the fourth, driving in Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers on a sharply-hit double off the base of the Green Monster.

Franchy Cordero followed with a hard-hit double of his own that had an exit velocity of 110 mph and brought in Dalbec from second to make it a 4-0 game.

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Dalbec-Cordero combination struck again. This time with the former leading off the inning with his second two-base hit of the day and the latter scoring him on his second two-base hit of the day as well.

In total, Dalbec — who now has multiple hits in two of his last three games — and Cordero combined to go 4-for-8 on Saturday with four doubles, two runs scored, and four RBI.

Bogaerts, Devers homer

Boston’s No. 8 and No. 9 hitters were not the only dynamic duo the Red Sox rode to a blowout win on Saturday, as the No. 4 and No. 5 hitters enjoyed productive days at the plate as well.

Bogaerts took advantage of Verdugo and J.D. Martinez reaching base with no outs in the fifth by clubbing a monstrous 446-foot three-run shot over everything in left field to give his team a 7-0 lead.

Devers, meanwhile, wrapped up the scoring for his side and put the finishing touches on this one when he crushed his team-leading 10th home run of the season to right-center field in the seventh.

The 24-year-old’s 408-foot big fly put the Red Sox up 9-0, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Perez picks up first win of season

Backed by an offensive outpouring, Martin Perez had plenty of run support on his way to tossing six solid innings in his eighth start of the season.

Over those six frames, the left-hander kept the Angels off the scoreboard while scattering three hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

For how shaky of a first inning Perez had by issuing two walks to the first three hitters he faced, he settled in nicely and wound up retiring 14 of the final 18 Angels who came to the plate against him.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (60 strikes) while getting through six full innings for the first time this season, the 30-year-old hurler threw 31 cutters, 24 sinkers, 21 changeups, 11 curveballs, and 10 four-seam fastballs. He topped out at 95.1 mph with his heater.

Able to pick up his long-awaited first win of the season in addition to lowering his ERA to 3.40, Perez’s next start should come against the Phillies in Philadelphia next Friday.

Red Sox bullpen preserves the shutout

In relief of Perez, the three three relievers the Red Sox turned to were able to see the club’s second shutout of the season through to its completion.

Despite dealing with their collective fair share of traffic on the base paths, Phillps Valdez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Austin Brice combined to toss three scoreless frames to secure the 9-0 victory for the Red Sox.

Next up: Going for the sweep

The Red Sox will go for the series sweep over the struggling 16-22 Angels and their fourth consecutive win overall back at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston in the series finale, and he will be opposed by left-hander Jose Quintana for Los Angeles.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

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

Hunter Renfroe, Bobby Dalbec each crush 2-run homers as Red Sox come back to top Angels, 4-3

Going into the 2021 season, the Red Sox were aware of the power potential the bottom third of their lineup had, particularly from the right side of the plate.

In yet another come from behind 4-3 victory over the Angels at Fenway Park on Friday, the Sox showed just how dangerous their No. 7, 8, or 9 hitters can be on any given night.

Matched up against right-handed starter Griffin Canning for the first of three against Los Angeles, Hunter Renfroe got Boston on the board first crushing a two-run home run 430 feet to dead center field for his fifth homer of the season.

Renfroe’s blast, which had an exit velocity of 108.6 mph off the bat, put the Red Sox up 2-0 early on.

Between then and the next time the Sox got anything going offensively, Boston starter Nick Pivetta put together another quality showing in what was his eighth start of the season.

Over six-plus innings of work, the right-hander yielded just two runs on four hits and a season-low zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two runs Pivetta gave up came off the bat of Shohei Ohtani in the top of the sixth, when the two-way phenom took the righty deep to left field for a solo blast to make it a 2-1 game.

After recording the final out of the sixth, Pivetta came back out for the seventh, but served up a leadoff double to Anthony Rendon that would see his evening come to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (68 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 54% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing seven swings-and-misses while topping out at 97. 4 mph with the pitch.

Able to lower his ERA on the season to 3.16 despite being hit with the no-decision due to what transpired in the seventh inning, Pivetta’s next start should come against the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Thursday.

In relief of Pivetta, Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Matt Andriese, who allowed Jared Walsh to reach base on a single before surrendering a one-out, two-run double to old friend Jose Igleseias.

The Angels went up 3-2 on Iglesias’ two-run knock, thus closing the book on Pivetta’s outing.

Dalbec homers for second straight night

Now trailing by a run heading into their half of the seventh, the Red Sox were put in a spot where they needed some offense relatively quickly.

With left-handed reliever Tony Watson on the mound for Los Angeles, Boston seemingly took advantage of a simple matchup when the right-handed hitting Renfroe laced a one-out single to bring the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec to the plate.

Having already picked up his first career stolen base earlier, Dalbec did something he had yet to do this season: hit a home run two nights in a row.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Watson, an 84 mph changeup on the inner half of the plate, the 25-year-old slugger clubbed a 419-foot two-run shot over the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.

Dalbec, who has raked against lefties this season, received a curtain call from the Fenway faithful upon rounding the bases and returning to the Red Sox dugout.

Ottavino and Barnes close it out

With a brand-new one-run lead to protect, Adam Ottavino came on for the top of the eighth, matched up against the heart of the Angels’ order in David Fletcher, Ohtani, and the vaunted Mike Trout.

On just 18 pitches, Ottavino got through the inning with relative ease as he stucked out a pair on his way to retiring the side in 1-2-3 fashion.

That paved the way for Red Sox closer Matt Barnes to get the call for the ninth, and the flame-throwing right-hander was even more dominant considering the fact that he punched out the only three hitters he faced on 11 pitches (10 strikes) to preserve the 4-3 victory and notch his ninth save of the season.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 24-16 on the season and 12-11 at Fenway Park.

Next up: Bundy vs. Perez

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory over the struggling Angels on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston in the middle game, and he will be opposed by right-hander Dylan Bundy for Los Angeles.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Billie Weiss/Boston/Red Sox/Getty Images)

Homers from Xander Bogaerts, Bobby Dalbec lift Red Sox to 8-1 series-salvaging victory over Athletics

The Red Sox woke up from an offensive slumber and collected 13 hits to salvage their series against the Athletics with an 8-1 victory at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

Matched up against A’s left-hander Sean Manaea, Michael Chavis set the tone right away for the Sox with a sharply-hit double to lead things off in the first.

J.D. Martinez proceeded to plate Chavis on a one-out RBI single off Manaea, and he, too, came into score when Xander Bogaerts drilled a two-run home run down the left field line to make it a 3-0 game.

Another leadoff single in the second, this one courtesy of Hunter Renfroe, resulted in Boston tacking on another three runs against the Oakland starter with Bobby Dalbec clobbering a two-run shot to dead center field and Bogaerts picking up his third RBI on a two-out, run-scoring base hit.

The bottom of the Red Sox lineup caused more trouble for the A’s in the third when Christian Vazquez, Renfroe, and Dalbec loaded the bases with no outs and Jonathan Arauz pushed across another run by grounding into a double play.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Chavis’ hustle proved to beneficial to the Sox once more when he reached base on a one-out double and came into score on a Matt Chapman throwing error later in the inning.

That gave the Red Sox an 8-0 lead, which is all they would need to pick up the victory and snap a three-game skid to improve to 23-16 on the season.

Richards solid over six innings

On the other side of things, Garrett Richards made his eighth start of the season for Boston on Thursday and continued the impressive run he has been on as of late.

Over six strong innings, the veteran right-hander kept the A’s off the scoreboard while scattering five hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Richards did not face more than four batters in a single frame until the top of the fifth. At that point, he had to dance his way around some traffic on the base paths — and some drama with Mark Canha — in order to keep the shutout intact.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (52 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball 42% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing two swings-and-misses and topping out at 96.5 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 3-2 on the season while lowering his ERA down to 3.89, Richards’ next start should come against the Blue Jays down in Dunedin on Wednesday.

Whitlock picks up first career save

In relief of Richards, Garrett Whitlock was the only other hurler the Red Sox needed to turn to on Thursday.

The Rule 5 pick wrapped things up by yielding one run over three innings of work to preserve the 8-1 win for his side and pick up his first career big-league save while doing so.

Renfroe starts relay, notches another outfield assist

While Whitlock was in the process of recording his first save of the season on Thursday, he received some defensive help from Renfroe and Arauz in the top half of the seventh.

With two outs in the inning and A’s catcher on first base after getting plunked by a pitch, Canha laced a line-drive to right field that rolled all the way to the bullpen wall before being fielded by Renfroe.

Renfroe hit his cutoff man in Arauz, who fired a laser to Vazquez in order to nab Murphy at home to retire the side.

Next up: Welcoming in the Angels

The Red Sox will open up the second leg of this six-game homestand with the first of three against the 16-20 Angels on Friday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the start for Boston in the series opener after he was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list on Thursday, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Griffin Canning.

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

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec breaks out of slump with 3-run home run as Red Sox open series against Orioles with 6-2 win

Bobby Dalbec came into Friday’s game against the Orioles in the midst of an 0-for-27 slump at the plate having not recorded a hit since April 27.

In his first at-bat of the night, Dalbec ripped a one-out single to left field in the top half of the third inning.

An inning later, the 26-year-old then clubbed a 399-foot three-run home run in that same direction off Orioles starter Matt Harvey to give his side a 4-0 lead.

The Red Sox ultimately topped the O’s by a final score of 6-2 at Camden Yards on Friday to improve to 20-13 on the season and become the first team this year to reach the 20-win mark.

Rodriguez goes five innings

Eduardo Rodriguez made his sixth start of the season — and second against Baltimore — for Boston in this one. The left-hander surrendered just one run, though he did scatter seven hits and three walks to go along with a season-low two strikeouts over five innings of work.

The one run Rodriguez gave up in his final frame of work, when he allowed three straight hitters to reach base on a double, walk, and RBI single from Trey Mancini. He did manage to retire the last two Orioles he faced to hold them at one run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his changeup 31% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 19 times.

Able to improve to a perfect 5-0 on the season while lowering his ERA to 3.82, Rodriguez’s next start should come against the Athletics back at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

Sawamura’s homer troubles continue

In relief of Rodriguez, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the sixth inning.

The right-hander served up a leadoff home run to Ryan Mountcastle to cut Boston’s lead to two runs at 4-2 before sitting down the next three hitters he faced in order.

Sawamura has now allowed at least one homer in two of his last four appearances and has seen his ERA on the season inflate up to 3.77 as a result.

Whitlock bounces back with two scoreless frames

On the flip side of Sawamura’s struggles, Rule 5 pick Garrett Whitlock bounced back from back-to-back poor outings against the Rangers and Tigers by tossing two scoreless innings of relief against the Orioles on Friday.

Renroe takes advantage of O’s sloppy defense, gets Sox on the board in the fourth

Before Dalbec went deep in the fourth, Hunter Renfroe provided Boston with an early 1-0 lead by driving in Rafael Devers from third on an RBI single off Harvey.

Devers had reached base — and advanced to second — in the first place on a missed catch error committed by the Orioles starter. He then stole third base to make it even easier for Renfroe to pick up his 15th RBI of the season.

Vazquez, Gonzalez provide late-inning insurance

With a 4-2 lead already in hand, the Sox tacked on two additional runs on a pair of run-scoring doubles from the likes of Christian Vazquez and Marwin Gonzalez in the eighth and ninth innings to make it a 6-2 contest.

This in turn, allowed Boston to rest closer Matt Barnes another day and deploy Phillips Valdez for the bottom half of the ninth.

Valdez closes it out

Valdez, making his second relied appearance in as many days after not appearing in a game for nearly two weeks, stranded the one hitter he allowed to reach base in an otherwise perfect inning to secure the 6-2 victory for his side.

Rain delay leads to late start

Friday’s game between the Sox and Orioles did not start until 8:43 p.m. eastern time due to a one-hour and 38 minute rain delay. The final out was not recorded until after midnight.

Next up: Richards vs. Lowther

Next up for the Red Sox, they will send right-hander Garrett Richards to the mound Saturday night to face off against left-hander Zac Lowther for Baltimore.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec and Co.: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Despite having their chances to complete comeback, Red Sox fall to Tigers, 6-5, in 10 innings

The Red Sox were given multiple opportunities to come away with a come-from-behind win over the worst team in the American League on Wednesday, but were unable to do so in what would go down as a 6-5 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings at Fenway Park.

Trailing 3-1 going into their half of the seventh inning after pushing across just one run against Tigers starter Casey Mize, J.D. Martinez got his side back in the swing of things by belting a game-tying, two-run home run to right field off reliever Bryan Garcia.

Down to their final out in the ninth inning, Enrique Hernandez, Rafael Devers, and Martinez all reached base one way or another to fill the bases for Xander Bogaerts, who laced a line drive to left field — but a liner that was catchable for Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman.

Moments later, rookie right-hander Garrett Whitlock came on for the top half of the 10th inning in what was his eight appearance of the season — and his first when working on just two days rest.

With a runner already on second base (extra-inning rule), Whitlock gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan Schoop before serving up a crushing three-run home run to Jeimer Candelario on the outer half of the plate.

Since beginning his major-league career with 13 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, the Rule 5 pick has now surrendered home runs in back-to-back outings going back to Sunday.

Even though they were put in a three-run hole, the Sox did nearly stage an epic comeback in the 10th. Marwin Gonzalez drove in a run on a single and later scored on a fielding error committed by Willi Castro.

Boston cutting things close led Detroit to make an interesting pitching change, as Michael Fulmer — Tuesday’s starter — was inserted into the game to face Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec lined out to third for the second out of the inning and Hernandez went down looking on four pitches to end the game.

All in all, the Sox went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 12 men on base as a team.

Perez’s winless streak at Fenway continues

Martin Perez made his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox in this one. The left-hander yielded three runs — two of which were earned — on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 solid innings of work.

The first run Perez gave up was scored by the Tigers in the fourth inning, when JaCoby Jones ripped a single to left field that Franchy Cordero could not come up with cleanly, which in turn allowed Candelario to score from second base on the play. Cordero was charged with a fielding error.

In the sixth, Perez was just one out away from completing his first six-inning start of the year, but after giving up a pair of singles, he allowed two more Tigers runs to score on a two-run base knock from Jones to make it a 3-1 game.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (57 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.

Ultimately hit with the no decision in this one while lowering his ERA on the season to 4.40, Perez has still yet to win a game at Fenway Park since signing with the Red Sox before the start of the 2020 season.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Perez, Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and recorded the final out of the sixth inning.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura, Adam Ottavino, and Matt Barnes combined to punch out six batters over three scoreless frames before making way for Whitlock in the 10th.

Arroyo removed due to hand contusion

Starting at second base for Boston on Wednesday, Christian Arroyo had to be removed from the game after seven innings after taking a 92 mph sinker off his left hand — the same hand he injured late lost month — in the sixth inning.

Arroyo was later diagnosed with a left hand contusion and X-rays came back negative.

The fact that Arroyo had to be removed after Alex Verdugo had already been scratched from Wednesday’s lineup — meaning the Sox had a short bench — resulted in Christian Vazquez moving from catcher to second base, Gonzalez moving from first base to left field, Dalbec taking over at first after pinch-hitting for Cordero, and Kevin Plawecki taking over behind the plate for Vazquez.

Next up: Series finale

Thursday’s pitching matchup between the 18-13 Red Sox and 9-22 Tigers will feature a pair of right-handers, with Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and Spencer Turnbull doing the same for Detroit.

First pitch for Thursday’s series finale is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)