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)

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)

Rafael Devers homers, collects 3 RBI as Red Sox come back to top Braves, 9-5, in rain-filled night at Fenway Park; Nick Pivetta records season-high 9 strikeouts

It took until the wee hours of Thursday morning on account of a 2 hour and 53 minute rain delay, but the Red Sox were able to salvage a series split against the Braves with a 9-5 win at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

With the victory, which took nearly six hours to see through to the end, the Red Sox snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 30-20 (14-13 at home) on the season. They remain a half-game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Shoutout to Dave Mellor and the rest of the Red Sox grounds crew for their efforts in this one.

Pivetta strikes out nine over six innings

Nick Pivetta made his 10th start of the season for Boston in Wednesday’s series finale, and despite getting hit relatively hard, he did keep his team in the game.

Over six innings of work, the right-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits and two walks to go along with a season-high six strikeouts on the night.

The first two of those four Atlanta runs came right away in the top of the first, as Pivetta walked Freedie Freeman on five pitches which was promptly followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Ozzie Albies.

Albies came into score on a two-out, run-scoring double from Dansby Swanson, and Boston found themselves down 2-0 just like that.

A Guillermo Heredia leadoff double an inning later would result in another Braves run crossing the plate when William Contreras picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly. 3-0 Atlanta.

Pivetta would settle in for a bit from there, with the only hiccup coming when he served up a solo home run to Austin Riley in the top half of the fifth.

Wednesday’s outing marks the second straight start in which Pivetta has allowed four or more runs, but he wrapped things up on a much more positive note by punching out four of the final five hitters he faced — which included striking out the side in his sixth and final frame of work.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (68 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing seven swings and misses while topping out at 97 mph with the pitch. He also induced eight swings-and-misses with his slider, a pitch he threw 20 times.

Able to improve to a perfect 6-0 on the season despite raising his ERA to 3.86 in what technically goes down as a complete game (the second of his career), Pivetta’s next start should come against the Astros in Houston next Tuesday.

Renfroe homers to get scoring started for Sox

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander Drew Smyly for the Braves, who came into play Wednesday sporting a 5.11 ERA through his first seven starts of the season.

After finding themselves in an early two-run hole, Hunter Renfroe got things started for the Sox in the second inning when unloaded on a hanging curveball from Smyly and deposited it 377 feet on a line over the Green Monster.

Renfroe’s sixth home run of the season, which made it a 2-1 game in favor of Atlanta, had an exit velocity of 102.4 mph.

Devers’ big fly to dead center ties it

Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth, and the long ball again proved to be Boston’s best friend, as a two-out walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts brought Rafael Devers to the plate, representing the tying run in a 3-1 contest.

On the third pitch he saw from Smyly — yet another hanging curveball — the dangerous left-handed slugger crushed a booming, game-tying two-run shot 434 feet (107. 1 mph off the bat) to deep center field for his team-leading 14th home run of the year.

Four-run rally in sixth proves to be pivotal

The Braves went up by a run on the heels of Devers’ two-run blast to re-take the lead at 4-3, but the Boston bats would not be silenced.

With one out in the bottom half of the sixth, the Sox had Smyly on the ropes with Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez each lacing a sharply-hit single to put runners at first and second.

A wild pitch with Bogaerts at the plate allowed Verdugo to advance to third. That miscue would prove to be costly for Atlanta when Bogaerts plated Verdugo on a softly-hit fielder’s choice to third base moments later.

Verdugo — aggressive as ever — was going on contact, and on a headfirst slide he managed to slip under Contreras’ tag at home plate to score and knot things up at four runs apiece.

Devers took responsibility for the go-ahead run by driving in Martinez on an RBI double down the left field line, while Christian Vazquez provided some much-needed insurance by greeting new Braves reliever Luke Jackson with a bases-loaded, opposite field two-run single that scored both Boagaerts and Devers and gave the Red Sox a commanding 7-4 advantage.

Inclement weather results in long delay

As the sixth inning came to a close, the rate at which the rain was falling from the Boston skies picked up. That led to the Red Sox grounds crew rolling out the tarp on the field at a Fenway.

A rain delay began at approximately 9:08 p.m. eastern time. And after a 173-minute standstill, the game resumed shortly after midnight.

Red Sox bullpen closes it out

When the tarp came off the field, it was Josh Taylor who got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the start of the seventh inning.

The left-handed reliever plunked the first hitter he faced in Ronald Acuna before recording the first two outs. Adam Ottavino was deployed to face the right-handed hitting Riley and got him to pop out to retire the side.

Ottavino also worked a 1-2-3 top of the eighth. The Sox tacked on two more insurance runs on a Danny Santana RBI and Vazquez sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning to give Matt Andriese a five-run lead to operate with.

Andriese, making his first appearance since May 23, got the first out, gave up a towering solo home run to Contreras, and a single to Acuna, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to turn to his closer, Matt Barnes, to finish things up in a non-save situation.

Barnes, making his first relief appearance since May 22, induced a game-ending double play from Freeman to secure the 9-5 win for his side.

Next up: An off day on Thursday, then a weekend series against the Marlins

The Red Sox will enjoy their second off day of the week on Thursday before welcoming the Miami Marlins into town for a three-game weekend series that begins Friday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to get the ball for Boston in the series opener, while rookie right-hander Cody Poteet is lined up to do the same for Miami.

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

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: 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)

Red Sox muster just 5 hits as offensive struggles continue in 4-1 loss to Athletics

The Red Sox have been mired in offensive struggles as of late, and those struggles continued in a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Athletics at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Facing off against rookie right-hander James Kaprielian, who was making his first career start, the Sox had a chance to pile on some runs right away in their half of the first.

With Marwin Gonzalez and Alex Verdugo reaching base on a double and walk, J.D. Martinez proceeded to rip a line drive to right-center field that appeared well hit enough to drive in Gonzalez from second.

Boston instead decided to play things conservatively, as Gonzalez was held up at third, which would prove to be costly considering the fact the only run they brought across in the inning came on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Christian Vazquez.

In the fifth, the Red Sox again had Kapreielian on the ropes, this time with Gonzalez and Verdugo at first and third with no outs.

Martinez proceeded to ground into a fielder’s choice in which Gonzalez was caught in a rundown between third and home before both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers struck out to end the inning.

Fast forward to the eighth, the Sox found themselves in another position where they were threatening to score runs in a game they were trailing by three at 4-1.

There, Bogaerts drew a one-out walk off A’s reliever Lou Trivino and advanced all the way to third on a sharply-hit double off the bat of Devers.

With the tying run at the plate, Vazquez grounded out sharply to second base and upon receiving the throw from old friend Jed Lowrie, Athletics first baseman gunned down Bogaerts as he was trying to score from third for an inning-ending double play.

All in all, the Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base as a team.

Rodriguez fans 9 over 6 innings, suffers first loss of season

While the Red Sox lineup was struggling to push anything across the A’s on Wednesday, Eduardo Rodriguez made his eighth start of the season for Boston in this one.

The left-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits and one walk to go along with a season-high nine strikeouts over six innings of work.

After allowing back-to-back two-out hits in the top of the second to give up his first run of the night, Rodriguez settled down for a bit before running into more trouble in the fifth.

A leadoff single from Mitch Moreland followed by a double from Elvis Andrus put the Sox starter in a tough spot, and one that allowed Lowrie to pick up an RBI and advance a runner to third on an run-scoring groundout.

With one more out to get, Rodriguez made a costly mistake in that he balked and by doing so allowed Andrus to score from third and make it a 3-1 game. He then served up a leadoff solo shot to Olson in the sixth before retiring the final three hitters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (63 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 94 mph with the pitch.

Later hit with his first loss of the season, Rodriguez’s next start should come against the Blue Jays in Dunedin next Tuesday.

Hunter Renfroe picks up jaw-dropping outfield assist

Rodriguez very well could have surrendered more than four runs on Wednesday were it not for the efforts for his right fielder Hunter Renfroe.

On a scalding line drive to dead center off the bat of Matt Chapman in the top of the second, Renfroe — while backing up Alex Verdugo — fielded the ball off the wall and made a blistering, 92 mph throw from right-center field to nab Chapman at third after he attempted to turn a one-out double into a triple.

Renfroe’s one-hop throw reached third baseman Rafael Devers in a matter of seconds, and it was good for the second out of the inning.

Red Sox bullpen combines to toss three scoreless frames

In relief of Rodriguez, the recently called-up Eduard Bazardo came on for what was his Fenway Park debut.

Just recalled from Triple-A Worcester in place of Nick Pivetta, who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list earlier Wednesday, Bazardo sat down six of the seven Athletics he faced.

The righty reliever needed 28 pitches to get through the seventh and eighth innings while picking up a pair of strikeouts.

From there, Austin Brice put together a nice bounce back performance by working a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

Next up: Manaea vs. Richards

After dropping their third straight to fall to 22-16 on the season, the Red Sox will look to salvage this three-game series against the A’s during Thursday night’s finale.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will toe the rubber for Boston, and he will be opposed by left-hander Sean Manaea for Oakland.

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

(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers steals base, scores from first as part of win over Orioles; Alex Cora joked that J.D. Martinez was faster than Red Sox third baseman; ‘He took it personally’

Rafael Devers put his speed on full display during the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Orioles on Friday night.

As part of a 1-for-3 day at the plate in which he reached base four times and scored a pair of runs, the third baseman picked up his second stolen base of the season while also doing some things that don’t go down in the box score.

For instance, after reaching first and advancing to second base on a missed catch error committed by O’s starter Matt Harvey in the fourth inning, Devers swiped third base, which would allow him to easily score on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Hunter Renfroe.

Later on in the eighth, Devers again reached base via a fielder’s choice and would come around to score all the way from first on a Christian Vazquez run-scoring double.

Per Baseball Savant, the 24-year-old’s top running speed this season is 27.3 feet per second, which ranks in the 62nd percentile among qualified major-leaguers.

By no means is Devers a speed merchant, but the young infielder has clearly been more aggressive on the base paths so far this year. Why is that the case? Red Sox manager Alex Cora gave his reasoning Friday night.

“I told him the other day that on one of the websites, they had J.D. [Martinez] ranked ahead of him speed-wise, and he took it personally,” Cora said with a chuckle. “He’s a good base runner. He’s a good athlete. He’s fact, actually. Just got to be careful with him, right? He scores from first. He takes his chances as far as stealing bases. He’s in better shape than last year, we know that. He’s a smart base runner. He’ll take his chances.”

Devers was not alone in the stolen base department for Boston on Friday, as Alex Verdugo picked up his third of the year and Vazquez notched his team-leading fourth of the year.

“They see stuff from pitchers and catchers and everything, and they take advantage of that,” Cora said of Devers and Vazquez’s ability to move on the base paths. “We’re very happy with the way we ran the bases today. We were very aggressive. We took advantage of certain situations, and it helped us to win the game.”

Following Friday’s victory over Baltimore, Boston improved to 20-13 on the season to become the first team this year to reach the 20-win mark.

While they do lead the majors in wins at this point in time, the Sox rank 10th among American League clubs in regards to stolen bases, as they have stolen just 15 and have been caught four times in 33 games.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Patrick Smith/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)

Franchy Cordero leads the way with 3 hits as Red Sox battle back to take series from Tigers with wild 12-9 win

It took all of four hours and 13 minutes, but after trading punches back and forth for 8 1/2 innings the Red Sox were able to come away with a series-clinching, 12-9 win over the Tigers at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Winning Thursday’s game was no easy task, as the two sides scored a total of 21 runs, notched a total of 30 hits, and committed a total of six errors while exchanging leads on six separate occasions.

Boston was ultimately able to come away with a drama-filled victory over Detroit, though, and they improved to 19-13 on the season because of it.

Hernandez injured injured in first inning

After leading the bottom of the first off with a hard-hit double off Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull, Enrique Hernandez would have to leave the game due to right hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Franchy Cordero.

Cordero would prove to play a pivotal role in a contest he did not even start. The outfielder came into the day in the midst of an 0-for-25 rut and wound up reaching base four times on an RBI double, a pair of singles, and a fielding error.

Early lead does not suffice

Cordero took over for Hernandez after the utilityman had advanced to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout in the first. J.D. Martinez then drove him in on an RBI single to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Inserted into the leadoff spot, Cordero collected an RBI of his own in the second by plating Kevin Plawecki on an opposite field double to make it a 2-0 contest.

Rafael Devers and Plawecki doubled their side’s run total in the third on a pair of RBI singles, putting the Red Sox up 4-1.

At that point, Nathan Eovaldi — Thursday’s starter — had been rolling, allowing just one run to cross the plate over his first three innings of work.

The top half of the fourth, however, was a different story for the right-hander, as he gave up five hits in an inning that saw the Tigers bring across three runs of their own to knot things up at four runs apiece.

Back-and-forth in the middle innings

Eovaldi’s struggles continued in the fifth, as he yielded back-to-back leadoff singles before getting the hook in favor of Josh Taylor with one out in the inning.

Taylor allowed the lead runner he inherited to score on a wild pitch before allowing the second inherited runner to score on a run-scoring single off the bat of Niko Goodrum.

That gave the Tigers a 6-5 edge, and it closed the book on Eovaldi’s day. The 31-year-old hurler ended up getting tagged for six earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just 4 1/3 innings pitched. His ERA on the season now sits at 4.62.

Phillips Valdez allowed Detroit to double their lead in the sixth, but Boston answered back right away with Martinez ripping an RBI single and Devers lacing a two-run single up the middle to make it an 8-7 game.

Again, the Tigers responded by scoring two more runs over the seventh and eighth innings to go up 9-8.

Vazquez comes off the bench and delivers

Down to their final six outs, Devers — representing the tying run — led off the bottom half of the eighth by reaching on a fielding error. He would advance to second with two outs due to a wild pitch.

Plawecki then drew a six-pitch walk to put runners at first and second and was replaced by Christian Arroyo.

With the No. 9 hitter due up next, Christian Vazquez emerged from the Red Sox dugout to pinch-hit for the slumping Bobby Dalbec.

Fresh into the game, Vazquez came through with one of the biggest hits of the day by hitting a game-tying single off Tigers reliever Alex Lange to score Devers and make it a 9-9 contest.

Cordero followed suit by reaching on a fielding error committed by Jeimer Candelario that allowed Arroyo to score from third.

Now with a one-run lead in hand, Alex Verdugo provided some much-needed insurance with a two-run single off Gregory Soto to put the Sox up 12-9.

Ottavino picks up first save of the season

With Matt Barnes unavailable, fellow righty Adam Ottavino got the call for the ninth inning, worked his way around a leadoff walk, and retired the next three hitters he faced in order to preserve the 12-9 win and record his first save of the year.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will travel to Baltimore for a four-game weekend series at Camden Yards that commences on Friday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by veteran right-hander Matt Harvey.

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

(Picture of Franchy Cordero and Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Hunter Renfroe homers, but Red Sox squander scoring chances while Eduardo Rodriguez allows 4 runs over 5 innings in 8-6 loss to Rangers

The Red Sox lost a game they very well could have won against the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Saturday night.

In the fifth inning of what at the time was a 3-3 game, the first five Red Sox hitters to come to the plate reached base, resulting in two more runs crossing the plate on back-to-back RBI singles from J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts.

Now up 5-3, Boston had the chance to really blow this one open as Rafael Devers drew a five-pitch walk to re-load the bases for the bottom of the lineup.

Matched up against hard-throwing left-hander Taylor Hearn for Texas, Christian Vazquez grounded into a 5-2 force out at home plate while both Bobby Dalbec and Hunter Renfroe struck out on foul tips to retire the side.

Even while adding two runs in their half of the fifth, the Red Sox could have done more to put this game out of reach. They later paid for their inability to do much with runners in scoring position when the Rangers came back to secure an 8-6 win for themselves.

Rodriguez allows four runs in five innings

Eduardo Rodriguez made his fifth start of the season for the Sox on Saturday, but was unable to improve to 5-0.

Over five innings of work, the left-hander yielded a season-high four earned runs on eight hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The Rangers first got to Rodriguez for three runs in the third inning on a run-scoring base hit from Nick Solak and a two-run knock from Nate Lowe.

They got to him once more in the fifth inning when Isiah Kiner-Falefa led things off by belting a booming solo shot to left field, which at the time broke a 4-4 deadlock.

Rodriguez then sat down the final three hitters he faced in order, but his outing came to an end relatively quickly when considering the fact he only threw 67 pitches — 46 of which were strikes.

Of those 67 pitches, the 28-year-old hurler mixed in a healthy diet of 19 cutters, 14 sinkers, 14 changeups, 12 four-seam fastballs, and eight sliders. He topped out at 93.4 mph with his four-seamer.

Andriese, Sawamura struggle out of bullpen

In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Andriese got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Facing off against the bottom half of the Rangers’ lineup, the veteran right-hander allowed Jose Trevino to reach base on a one-out single before serving up a two-run blast to Willie Calhoun that put Texas ahead by one run at 6-5.

Andriese walked the next man he faced in Charlie Culberson, who came around to score on a two-out RBI triple off the bat of Kiner-Falefa moments later.

Josh Taylor managed to stop the bleeding by working a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, but Hirokazu Sawamura’s struggles in the Lone Star State continued as he allowed the Rangers to score what would prove to be an important insurance run on an RBI double from Culberson in the eighth.

Renfroe homers to give Red Sox early lead

Before any of Saturday’s mid-inning drama took place, Hunter Renfroe gave the Sox an early 2-0 lead when he crushed his second home run of the season: a towering 417-foot two-run blast to deep left field off Rangers starter Jordan Lyles in the top of the second.

There was a moment in the sixth inning where Renfroe had the opportunity to perhaps prevent Kiner-Falefa’s RBI triple from ever happening, but he could not come up with the hard-hit groundball that wound up rolling all the way to the right-center field wall.

Late comeback attempt falls short

After the Rangers took a 7-5 lead in the sixth, the Sox attempted to get back into it in the seventh with a leadoff double courtesy of Bogaerts.

The star shortstop moved up an additional 90 feet by swiping third base, then scored on a Vazquez sacrifice fly to make it a 7-6 game.

In the eighth, Bogaerts essentially had the game in his hands when with two outs, the Rangers intentionally walked Martinez to fill the bases for Boston’s No. 4 hitter.

On an 0-1, 89 mph changeup from Joely Rodriguez, Bogaerts laced a sharply-hit ground ball to the left side of the infield, but it was one that could be fielded by Culberson at third base and went down as an inning-ending 5-3 groundout.

Rangers closer Ian Kennedy struck out the side in order in the top of the ninth to pick up the save.

Some notes from this loss:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up: Richards vs. Foltynewicz

The 17-11 Red Sox will look to wrap up their six-game road trip on a positive note in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Rangers.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Mike Foltynewicz for Texas.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez and Co.: Aric Becker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Nick Pivetta works 10-pitch at-bat against Mets ace Jacob deGrom: ‘That probably changed the complexion of the game,’ Alex Cora says

During his weekly call-in appearance on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria on Wednesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora teased that starting pitcher Nick Pivetta was a “sneaky good” hitter.

“He’s facing [Jacob] deGrom, but he has nine hits,” Cora said. “Pivetta. Nine hits. Yeah.”

Pivetta, Boston’s starter for their series finale against the Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday, came into the day with nine career hits in 120 career plate appearances from the 3 1/2 seasons he spent with the Phillies.

He had never faced off against deGrom before the third inning of Wednesday’s contest.

There, the 28-year-old led things off by putting together an at-bat that resulted in a strikeout, but was still impressive considering the fact that against a two-time Cy Young Award winner, he got ahead in the count at 2-1 before fouling off six consecutive pitches — four of which were 99-plus mph fastballs.

On the 10th pitch he saw from deGrom, Pivetta whiffed at a 91 mph slider to go down by way of the K. But by the time that happened, the right-handed hitter had raised deGrom’s pitch count from 32 to 42 with just one out in the top half of the third inning.

deGrom, who was fresh off a complete game shutout in his last time out against the Nationals, was only able to go six innings deep in his start against the Red Sox, and it’s safe to say Pivetta’s lengthy at-bat played a role in that.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Cora said following his team’s 1-0 victory over the Mets. “It’s a team sport, right? And everybody has to do their part. If you are hitting in a National League park, you have to do your job. And he helped himself. That was a great at-bat.”

Before his first at-bat on Wednesday, the last time Pivetta had faced any live pitching came on September 28, 2019 in a game against the Marlins. So for deGrom to be the first pitcher he sees in 19 months, that was surely no simple task.

“I was just trying to compete against him, do the best I could, trying to wear down his pitches as much as I could,” Pivetta said during his postgame media availability. “Luckily, it worked out in my favor. Just trying to compete right there. I know that I’m probably not going to get a hit there, it’s deGrom. But, if I can foul off a couple pitches, make him throw a couple balls here and there, and just wear down his pitch count, that’s probably the biggest thing for me in that start. Just wearing him down, and doing the best I can with the job that I have.”

While Pivetta was in the process of making deGrom grind for the first out of the third, Cora and the rest of the Red Sox dugout enjoyed what they were seeing from the lifetime .083/.107/.092 hitter.

“It was great,” said the Sox skipper. “Everybody knew how important that at-bat was. We kept saying, ‘Just foul off five more. Five more pitches.’ I know he wanted to get a hit, but that at-bat probably changed the complexion of the game… It was fun to watch him compete against [deGrom].”

One of those in Boston’s dugout who cheered on Pivetta was Christian Vazquez, who also caught the right-hander on Wednesday.

“That’s a hit for us,” said Vazquez. “That’s a great at-bat. He took like eight pitches, nine pitches, and it was fun. A lot of foul balls.”

Upon returning to his post for the latter half of the third, though, the veteran backstop was told by deGrom himself that the Mets ace was hoping to do to Pivetta what Pivetta did to him at the plate.

“And deGrom, the first at-bat, he told me, ‘I got to do the same thing to him,'” Vazquez recalled with a chuckle. “So it was fun to see that.”

deGrom, who entered Wednesday having gone 6-for-his-first 11 at the plate to start the season, saw a total of 11 pitches in the process of going 0-for-2 against Pivetta.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)