Red Sox place Triston Casas, Connor Seabold on Triple-A Worcester’s injured list

The Triple-A Worcester Red Sox have placed first baseman Triston Casas and right-hander Connor Seabold on the 7-day injured list. Casas was placed on the IL because of a sprained right ankle while Seabold was placed on the IL because of a pectoral strain.

Since both Casas and Seabold’s stints on the injured list are retroactive to Sunday, the two will be eligible to return to action as soon as this weekend when the WooSox wrap up their series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Allentown, Pa.

Casas sustained his ankle injury at Polar Park on May 17 and has been sidelined since then. According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the 22-year-old “is making progress but the Red Sox do not want to rush him back.” He did, however, travel with the WooSox to Lehigh Valley.

In 36 games with the WooSox this season, Casas is slashing .248/.359/.457 with nine doubles, six home runs, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 35 strikeouts across 156 trips to the plate. The left-handed hitter is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system behind only Marcelo Mayer.

Seabold, on the other hand, was diagnosed with a pectoral strain after being scratched from his start with the WooSox last Friday. The 26-year-old righty has not pitched competitively since May 15, striking out 11 and allowing just one hit and one walk over six scoreless innings against the Rochester Red Wings.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Seabold has posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.89 FIP to go along with 37 strikeouts to 10 walk over seven starts (36 2/3 innings pitched) for Worcester. He has been shut down for the time being and will miss at least one more start while resting his injury, per Speier.

Seabold, who is on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization. He made his major-league debut last September and, when healthy, is one of the club’s top depth starters alongside Kutter Crawford and Josh Winckowski.

(Picture of Triston Casas: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold scratched from start with Triple-A Worcester due to pectoral strain

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold was slated to make his eighth start of the season for Triple-A Worcester at Polar Park on Friday night. The right-hander has instead been scratched from his outing due to a pectoral strain, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) earlier Friday evening.

Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the 10th-ranked pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system and has impressed early on with the WooSox this season. Over seven starts, the 26-year-old has posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.86 FIP with 37 strikeouts to 10 walks over 36 2/3 innings of work.

Among qualified International League pitchers, Seabold ranks 12th in strikeout rate (25.2%), 11th in walk rate (6.8%), 11th in swinging strike rate (12.5%), fourth in batting average against (.179), third in WHIP (0.93), sixth in ERA, third in FIP, and 22nd in xFIP (4.38), per FanGraphs.

Given that he made his major-league debut last September and is already on the Sox’ 40-man roster, Seabold — as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith — is one of Boston’s top depth starters at the Triple-A level alongside Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, and Brayan Bello.

Cora relayed that the Red Sox do not believe Seabold’s injury to be serious, but it is unclear how long the righty will be sidelined for. In the meantime, left-hander Thomas Pannone will start in place of Seabold for the WooSox on Friday.

Should Boston need a starting pitcher to come up from the minors in the coming days or weeks, that responsibility will likely fall to Crawford or maybe even Winckowski.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

On a day Red Sox could have used him, pitching prospect Connor Seabold dominates in latest start for Triple-A Worcester

While the Red Sox dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, pitching prospect Connor Seabold put together another impressive performance on the mound about 1,700 miles away in Worcester, Mass.

Making his seventh start of the season — and second straight against the Rochester Red Wings — for Triple-A Worcester, Seabold allowed just one hit and one walk to go along with a season-high 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work at Polar Park.

It was a bounce back effort for Seabold, who got rocked for six runs (five earned) across just three innings in his last time out against Rochester on May 4.

Of the 92 pitches Seabold threw on Sunday, 66 went for strikes. The right-hander now owns an ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 0.93 with 37 strikeouts to 10 walks through his first seven starts (36 2/3 innings) of the 2022 campaign for the WooSox. He is also holding opposing hitters to a .179/.252/.246 slash line against.

Seabold, 26, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization. He made his major-league debut for the Red Sox against the White Sox last September.

Given the fact that he has been dominating in Worcester and has already gotten a taste of the big-leagues, it was somewhat surprising to see the Red Sox not call up Seabold to start against the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Sunday.

Instead, after pushing Garrett Whitlock back one day so he could start against the Astros in Boston on Monday, Alex Cora and Co. elected to go in the direction of a bullpen game, which did not go well since it ultimately resulted in a loss.

When speaking with reporters following Sunday’s 7-1 defeat, Cora explained why the Sox decided against calling up Seabold and kept things in-house with Austin Davis, Tanner Houck, Ryan Brasier, and Tyler Danish.

“I think roster-wise it was going to get complicated,” Cora said. “We got the guys that we have here and then we actually, we got what we wanted, you know? Five innings and we had it set up for the rest of the day. We didn’t make pitches in that sixth inning and we weren’t able to get to the next level, to the last part of the game.”

It’s an interesting statement from Cora. As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield on Twitter, the Red Sox could have optioned Brasier, Danish, or Hirokazau Sawamura to Worcester in order to call up Seabold, who is already on the 40-man roster. They also could have had Seabold start on short rest on Saturday and then activated Rich Hill from the COVID-19 related injured list so he could start on Sunday.

These sorts of things usually receive more attention in losses than they do wins. The Red Sox may not have used Seabold on Sunday for roster-related purposes, but they soon might have no other choice but to promote the righty in some capacity (as a starter or reliever) if he continues to shine for the WooSox.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Josh Winckowski goes just 2 innings in latest start for Triple-A Worcester in case Red Sox need additional pitching in coming days

Red Sox pitching prospect Josh Winckowski went just two innings in his fifth start of the season for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday afternoon.

Taking on the Rochester Red Wings at Polar Park, the right-hander allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out a pair over two scoreless innings of work. 19 of the 32 pitches he went for strikes.

Given his rather low pitch count, it was somewhat surprising to see Taylor Cole take the mound in the third inning as opposed to Winckowski. However, several members of the media — including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo — that the plan all along was for Winckowski to pitch just two innings.

Shortly after the WooSox fell to the Red Wings by a final score of 3-2, manager Chad Tracy told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison) that Winckowski’s outing was shorter than usual just in case the Red Sox need to call up a pitcher in the coming days.

“Just potential stuff that could happen up top that they don’t know yet,” explained Tracy. “So we wanted to make sure between [Connor] Seabold, who threw yesterday, and Winc that there’s options available. I’ll leave it at that. I don’t know what’ll happen, but those things happen sometimes. And we’ll see where all that falls.”

Winckowski, who is on Boston’s 40-man roster, has now posted a 2.75 ERA and .181/.234/.264 slash line against to go along with 19 strikeouts to five walks over 19 2/3 innings of work for Worcester this season.

The 23-year-old is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks third among pitchers in the organization. The Red Sox, of course, acquired Winckowski from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals last February.

While Winckowski, a former 15th-round draft pick of the Blue Jays, has mostly been used as a starter throughout his professional career, the Florida-born righty does have past experience as a reliever. In the Arizona Fall League last year, for instance, he made six relief appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Pitching in shorter bursts allows Winckowski to add more velocity to his fastball that typically sits at 94-96 mph, and he put that on fill display on Wednesday.

“I tried to keep it the same,” Winckowski said when going over his performance. “I kind of came out a little bit hotter than normal, I guess you could say, obviously when you only have two it’s a little bit shorter, but relatively, it was all the same for me.”

The Red Sox, at present, have two starters and one reliever on the 10- and 15-day injured lists in Rich Hill (COVID-19), Michael Wacha (left intercostal irritation), and Josh Taylor (low back strain).

Following their series finale against the Braves in Atlanta on Wednesday night, the Sox will head to Texas for a three-game series with the Rangers that begins on Friday.

Per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, Nick Pivetta will get the start for Friday’s series opener. The hope is that Hill will start on Saturday or Sunday and whichever one he does not start will be a bullpen game that could fall to Seabold or Wincowski.

Wacha, on the other hand, is out until May 20 at the earliest since his stint on the injured list was backdated to May 5. Garrett Whitlock will make his next start against the Astros back in Boston on Monday so he is not available.

With that, Alex Cora and Co. will likely shake up their pitching staff this weekend since Hill will either be activated or Seabold/Winckowski will be recalled from Worcester.

Because of this, corresponding moves will need to be made in the not so distant future. Kutter Crawford, for instance, has not pitched since last Thursday and is a candidate to be optioned to Worcester. Hirokazu Sawamura is another reliever who has minor-league options, so there is some flexibility there.

All that being said, Seabold and Winckowski represent internal options for the Red Sox when they find themselves in need of reinforcements on Saturday and/or Sunday.

Seabold made his big-league debut against the White Sox last September. Winckowski would be getting called up for the first time if it were to happen.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Recapping how contingent of 8 Red Sox prospects performed in Arizona Fall League

The 2021 Arizona Fall League season came to a close on Saturday night, with the Mesa Solar Sox besting the Surprise Saguaros by a final score of 6-0 in the championship game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

With the Arizona Fall League making a triumphant return and closing out another exciting season in the desert, now is the time to reflect on how the contingent of prospects the Red Sox sent out west did in what is regarded by many as Major League Baseball’s “finishing school.”

Back in October, it was revealed that the Sox would be sending eight prospects to Arizona to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions alongside Guardians, Twins, Giants, and Rays minor-leaguers.

That initial list included catching prospect Connor Wong, but the backstop was ultimately replaced on Scottsdale’s roster by Christian Koss since he was a member of Boston’s taxi squad for the majority of their postseason run.

That said, the eight prospects who wound up representing the Red Sox were right-handers A.J. Politi, Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski, left-hander Brendan Cellucci, catcher Kole Cottam, first baseman Triston Casas, and infielders Jeter Downs and Koss.

So, without further ado, here is how each of those players fared during their time with the Scorpions, who finished the 2021 AFL campaign with a record of 12-18.

A.J. Politi, RHP

Politi began the minor-league season in Double-A Portland’s starting rotation, but ultimately transitioned back to the bullpen towards the end of the summer and remained there upon reporting to Scottsdale.

In 11 relief appearances this fall, the 25-year-old posted a 5.84 ERA and 1.86 WHIP to go along with 10 strikeouts to eight walks over 12 1/3 innings of work.

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the 15th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Seton Hall University, Politi is eligible for this winter’s Rule 5 Draft since he was left unprotected and not added to Boston’s 40-man roster on Friday.

Connor Seabold, RHP

Seabold had quite the eventful first full season in the Red Sox organization after coming over from the Phillies alongside fellow righty Nick Pivetta in the same trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia last August.

The 25-year-old hurler was already a member of Boston’s 40-man roster coming into 2021, but missed the first several weeks of the minor-league season due to right elbow inflammation and did not make his first start for Triple-A Worcester until July 23.

On September 11, Seabold made his major-league debut against the White Sox and allowed two earned runs in three innings before being optioned back to Worcester the following day and closing out the year with the WooSox.

With the Scorpions, Seabold led the team in innings pitched (20 1/3) while putting up a 4.87 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in addition to 32 strikeouts and 12 walks over six starts.

Josh Winckowski, RHP

One of five players the Red Sox acquired in the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February, Winckowski emerged as one of the organization’s more intriguing pitching prospects in 2021 and was just protected from the Rule 5 Draft as a result of doing so.

Now a member of the Sox’ 40-man roster, Winckowski split the minor-league season between Portland and Worcester while mainly being used as a starter, but was strictly utilized as a reliever in the fall league.

Over six appearances out of Scottsdale’s bullpen, the 23-year-old produced a 6.55 ERA and 1.73 ERA while recording three strikeouts and four walks in his 11 innings of relief. He was also involved in a benches-clearing brawl with Pirates prospect Canaan Smith-Njigba earlier this month that resulted in both players getting ejected.

Brendan Cellucci, LHP

The lone southpaw representing the Red Sox in the AFL, Cellucci spent the entirety of the 2021 season at High-A Greenville and was one of six lefties on Scottsdale’s roster this fall.

In 10 outings out of the Scorpions bullpen, Cellucci yielded an ERA of 6.94 and WHIP of 1.89 while striking out 11 batters and walking seven over 11 2/3 innings pitched.

A native of Philadelphia who the Red Sox took out of Tulane University in the the 12th round of the 2019 draft, Cellucci does not turn 24 until next June and can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter.

Kole Cottam, C

Cottam began the year in Greenville and later earned himself a midseason promotion to Portland on July 29 while being regarded by Baseball America as the top defensive catcher in the Red Sox farm system.

A 2021 Arizona Fall League Fall Star, the 24-year-old backstop out of the University of Kentucky batted a solid .275/.356/.510 with three doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs, seven runs scored, five walks, and 13 strikeouts over 15 games (59 plate appearances) for Scottsdale.

Like Politi, Cottam could have been added to Boston’s 40-man roster last week in order to receive protection from next month’s Rule 5 Draft. But the club elected not to do so, thus leaving him exposed if other teams are interested.

Triston Casas, 1B

The top prospect the Red Sox sent to Arizona, Casas put the finishing touches on an impressive year by putting his talent and skills on full display with the Scorpions.

Among qualified hitters in the AFL this year, Casas ranked fifth in batting average (.372), first in on-base percentage (.495), 26th in slugging percentage (.487), and 12th in OPS (.982) in the process of joining Cottam in the Fall Stars Game.

A former first-round pick out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.) in 2018, the left-handed hitting Casas — who turns 22 in January — figures to make his big-league debut for Boston at some point during the 2022 season.

Jeter Downs, 2B/SS

There was always going to be pressure on Downs since he was the top prospect acquired from the Dodgers in the infamous Mookie Betts/David Price trade last February, but the 23-year-old infielder got his first taste of the Triple-A level this year and it did not go all that swimmingly.

Still, the Red Sox sent Downs to play in the fall league despite the struggles he endured over the summer and it now appears as though that decision paid off.

Across 16 games (72 plate appearances) for the Scorpions, Downs slashed .228/.389/.491 with five homers, 14 RBIs, nine runs scored, four stolen bases, 14 walks, and 18 strikeouts while playing both middle infield positions.

Like Winckowski, Downs was added to Boston’s 40-man roster on Friday, which came as no surprise.

Christian Koss, INF

Acquired from the Rockies in exchange for pitching prospect Yoan Aybar last December, Koss enjoyed a solid 2021 season with Greenville and later received an invite to play in the Arizona Fall League in order to replace the aforementioned Wong.

In 14 games with Scottsdale, the versatile infielder batted .229/.275/.250 to go along with one double, six RBIs, four runs scored, two stolen bases, three walks, and eight strikeouts across 51 total trips to the plate.

A product of University of California, Irvine who played on the Cape in 2017 and 2018, Koss has proven he is capable of playing second base, third base, and shortstop in the minors.

The right-handed hitter turns 23 in January and can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career next winter.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Connor Seabold scratched from start for Triple-A Worcester in event Red Sox need length in coming days

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold was slated to make his 10th start of the season for Triple-A Worcester at Polar Park on Saturday afternoon, but was scratched shortly before the start of the WooSox’ game against the Rochester Red Wings.

While not injury-related, Seabold was replaced on the mound by left-hander Kyle Hart, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora explained why that was the case before Saturday’s contest against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

“Obviously, we used some guys yesterday,” Cora said. “Just in case something happens today, he can give us length [in the coming days]. So, just thinking ahead just in case something happens.”

In Friday night’s 8-3 loss to New York, Boston got just 2 2/3 innings from Nathan Eovaldi, who allowed seven runs (all earned) on seven hits, two walks, and zero strikeouts in what was undoubtedly his worst start of the season to date.

Eovaldi’s short outing resulted in Cora turning to his bullpen earlier than expected, though he was able to squeeze 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball out of Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Barnes, and Martin Perez.

Still, in the event that either Nick Pivetta (Saturday’s starter) or Eduardo Rodriguez (Sunday’s starter) are unable to provide the Sox with length in their respective starts this weekend, that could force the club to look Seabold’s way.

The 25-year-old right-hander is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

Earlier this month, the Red Sox scratched both Seabold and fellow righty Kutter Crawford from their starts with Worcester while navigating through a COVID-19 outbreak at the big-league level.

Crawford wound up making his first career major-league start for Boston in place of Pivetta on September 5, and Seabold did the very same in Chicago six days later.

Over exactly three innings of work against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sept. 11, Seabold allowed two earned runs on three hits, two walks, and zero strikeouts on 43 pitches (27 strikes) in what would turn out to be a 9-8 victory for the Red Sox in extra innings.

Per Baseball Savant, the California native threw 27 four-seam fastballs, nine sliders, five changeups, and two curveballs in his big-league debut. He induced two swings-and-misses — one with his fastball and one with his slider.

With Pivetta coming off the COVID-19 related injured list the following day, Seabold was promptly optioned back down to Worcester. He has made one start for the WooSox since then, tossing five scoreless frames to go along with five strikeouts to just one walk against the Syracuse Mets last Saturday.

Taking that point into consideration, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound hurler should be plenty well rested for when his name is called upon next. Whether that comes with Worcester or Boston has yet to be determined.

On that note, though, the WooSox have six games remaining on their schedule while the Red Sox have seven games remaining on their schedule before their respective regular seasons come to a close on Oct. 3.

Seabold, who was originally added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November, would be eligible for the postseason, so there is that to consider as well.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Nick Pivetta from COVID-19 related injured list, option Connor Seabold to Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up a three-game weekend series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday, the Red Sox activated right-hander Nick Pivetta from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Connor Seabold was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Pivetta will get the start in Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox (first pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time), as he had been held out of action since last week after testing positive for COVID-19 and being placed on the COVID-related injured list as a result.

Despite the positive test, the 28-year-old is vaccinated against the virus, meaning he did not have to quarantine for the typical 10 days so long as he did not exhibit any symptoms, which turns out to be the case.

Ace left-hander Chris Sale was originally slated to go up against his former team on Sunday, but was scratched from that outing earlier this weekend on account of testing positive for COVID-19 himself.

The Red Sox, in turn, will roll with Pivetta, who will be working on 11 days rest since making his last start against the Rays on August 30.

Through 26 starts in his first full season with Boston, the Canadian-born righty has posted a 4.67 ERA and 4.44 FIP to go along with 151 strikeouts to 62 walks over 135 total innings of work. Sunday will mark his first-ever outing at Guaranteed Rate Field.

With Pivetta getting activated, the Sox optioned Seabold back down to Worcester just hours after he made his major-league debut on Saturday night.

The 25-year-old hurler allowed two earned runs on three hits, two walks, and zero strikeouts in three innings pitched. 43 of the 27 pitches Seabold threw went for strikes, and he also averaged 90.5 mph with his four-seam fastball.

In regards to what the immediate future holds for Seabold, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) that the righty is “going to go back to Worcester and he’s going to start down there.”

Seabold, who turns 26 in January, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Travis Shaw delivers with 3-run homer, game-winning hit as Red Sox battle back to defeat White Sox, 9-8, in extras

The Red Sox have seemingly made a habit of blowing sizable leads as of late and nearly let that trend continue against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday.

After grabbing an early five-run lead, Boston later fell behind by a run in the middle stages of the game, but battled back for a 9-8 win over Chicago in 10 innings.

Connor Seabold, making his major-league debut and first career start for the Sox on Saturday, was the beneficiary of some significant run support.

In just three innings of work, Seabold allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on three hits and two walks to go along with zero strikeouts on the night.

Both runs the right-hander gave up came on one swing of the bat in the bottom of the second, as he yielded a one-out single to Yasmani Grandal before serving up a monstrous two-run shot to Leury Garcia.

The Red Sox fell behind, 2-0, on Seabold’s miscue, but they quickly responded in their half of the third while still matched up against White Sox starter Dylan Cease.

Enrique Hernandez proved to be the catalyst for the rally by ripping a one-out single to center field, then Cease issued two straight walks to Kyle Schwarber and Xander Bogaerts to fill the bases for Rafael Devers, who drew a free pass himself to bring in Hernandez from third for his side’s first run of the evening.

Alex Verdugo kept the train moving by lacing a two-run single to left-center field that brought in Schwarber and Bogaerts, while Bobby Dalbec plated Devers from second on an RBI single of his own.

Travis Shaw, who wasn’t even in Boston’s original starting lineup, promptly ended Cease’s outing by driving in both Verdugo and Dalbec on a towering, 372-foot three-run blast to right field.

Shaw’s ninth home run of the season gave the Sox a commanding 7-2 lead while also knocking Cease out of this game, but the Boston bats were unable to score again in the third despite getting two hits off White Sox reliever Ryan Burr.

Seabold, meanwhile, escaped one final jam in his third and final inning by getting the dangerous Jose Abreu to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, thus ending his night with a final pitch count of 43 (27 strikes). The 25-year-old did not factor into Saturday’s decision.

In relief of Seabold got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen to begin the fourth, and he ran into some trouble when he issued a one-out walk to Grandal.

Richards nearly got Garcia to ground into another inning-ending twin killing, but Devers committed a fielding error by misplaying Garcia’s grounder before failing to field a chopper off the bat of Romy Gonzalez cleanly.

That sequence loaded the bases for the White Sox, and Richards followed suit by walking Brian Goodwin on five pitches to bring in one run before surrendering a bases-clearing, three-run double to Luis Robert with two outs in the inning.

Ryan Brasier took over for Richards after Chicago had trimmed their deficit down to one run at 7-6, but former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada knotted things up at seven runs apiece by lacing a game-tying, run-scoring double to left field.

Brasier’s woes rolled on in the fifth, as he got taken deep to right field by Grandal, who gave the White Sox their first lead since the second inning with his 20th big fly of the season.

Fast forward to the eighth, when the Sox were down to their final six outs, former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was unable to keep his old team off the scoreboard as he had done the night before.

Christian Vazquez drilled a one-out double to center field off Kimbrel to put the potential tying run in scoring position. The recently called-up Jack Lopez pinch-ran for Vazquez at second base and quickly advanced up to third on a wild pitch.

A sacrifice fly from Hernandez was hit deep enough (357 feet) to center field to allow Lopez to coast in from third, and that tied things up once again at 9-9.

After Liam Hendriks and Garrett Whitlock kept things that way for their respective teams in the ninth inning, this one headed into extras.

There, in the 10th, Verdugo assumed his role as the runner at second base after recording the final out of the previous inning.

A groundout off the bat of Dalbec allowed Verdugo to move up to third, and Shaw brought him in on an 85 mph RBI single off White Sox reliever Mike Wright.

Given a one-run lead to protect going into the latter half of the 10th, Josh Taylor was dispatched to get the three most important outs of the night.

Despite giving up a leadoff single to the first man he faced in Grandal which also put the potential tying run (Eloy Jimenez) at third base, Taylor did just that.

The left-hander punched out Garcia on three straight strikes, fanned the pinch-hitting Joey Mendick, and got Goodwin to ground out to second base to slam the door on the White Sox, preserve the 9-8 victory, and notch the first save of his big-league career.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 81-63 on the season to maintain their one-game lead over both the Yankees and Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Lynn

The Red Sox will activate right-hander Nick Pivetta from the COVID-19 related injured list and have him make his return to the mound in Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox, who will counter with fellow righty Lance Lynn.

First pitch of Sunday’s rubber match is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Nick Pivetta to make return from COVID-19 related injured list in Sunday’s series finale against White Sox

After a nearly two week-long hiatus, Nick Pivetta will make his return to the mound and start for the Red Sox in Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed that with Connor Seabold making his major-league debut and first career start on Saturday, Pivetta will get the start on Sunday.

Pivetta has been held out of action since the end of August, as he was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on September 5 before it was revealed that he became the ninth Boston player to test positive for coronavirus two days later.

Despite being vaccinated against the virus, the right-hander still tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss his scheduled start against the Indians last Sunday.

Because he is vaccinated and did not exhibit any symptoms, though, Pivetta did not have to quarantine for 10 days upon receiving his positive results, as he traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago and was seen playing catch in the outfield earlier Saturday afternoon.

While the 28-year-old will be making his first start since August 30 on Sunday, he will be doing so in place of Chris Sale.

Sale was initially lined up to square off against his former team in Sunday’s series finale, but instead tested positive for COVID-19 himself on Thursday and did not travel with the Red Sox to Chicago.

The ace left-hander became the 10th Red Sox player to test positive for the virus and the 13th player the club has had to place on the COVID-19 related injured list since their outbreak began on August 27.

At this point, it is not yet known if Sale is vaccinated against COVID-19 considering he had a bout with the virus back in January. What is known, though, is that the Red Sox will be without the 32-year-old for the time being.

Having said that, Pivetta, again, will get the starting nod in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.

The 6-foot-5, 214 pound righty out of British Columbia owns an ERA of 4.67 ERA and FIP of 4.43 to go along with 151 strikeouts to 62 walks through his first 26 starts (135 innings pitched) of the season.

Pivetta has never pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field before over the course of his five-year major-league career, but he has posted a lifetime 2.70 ERA in three previous appearances (one start) against the White Sox.

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

Red Sox call up pitching prospect Connor Seabold for major-league debut Saturday; Brad Peacock returned to Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night, the Red Sox recalled right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Brad Peacock was returned to Worcester to make room for Seabold on the active roster, the club announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Seabold, 25, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

The right-hander will make his major-league debut and first career start in Saturday’s contest against the White Sox, as he was one of four players who traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago as part of the team’s taxi squad.

Nick Pivetta was originally in line to get the start on Saturday, but has since had to be scratched from that outing on account of testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

That being said, Pivetta will be able to make his return to the mound and start in place of Chris Sale, who also recently tested positive for coronavirus, in the finale of this three-game weekend series on Sunday.

While Pivetta will take over for Sale on Sunday, Seabold will essentially take over for Pivetta on Sunday.

The Red Sox originally acquired Seabold and Pivetta from the Phillies in a trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies last August.

The 25-year-old was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft and was also invited to major-league camp earlier this spring, but had the start of his 2021 season pushed back by approximately 2 1/2 months due to right elbow inflammation.

After a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League, Seabold made his debut for Worcester on July 23. He has posted a 3.67 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 44 strikeouts to 13 walks over eight starts spanning 41 2/3 innings of work for the WooSox since then.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, the California-born righty operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a deceptive 80-82 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Considering the fact that his most recent start for the WooSox came on September 4, it’s safe to assume that Seabold — who will be wearing the No. 67 — will be plenty stretched out for his big-league debut later Saturday night.

With the addition of Seabold to the major-league roster, the Red Sox returned a veteran in the form of Peacock to Worcester.

Boston picked up the 32-year-old in exchange for cash considerations in a minor trade made with the Indians late last month.

Peacock appeared in two games for the Sox, making his first start for the club in their bout against the Rays on August 31 and being used out of the bullpen exactly one week later.

As he makes his way to Worcester, Peacock will look to provide the Red Sox with experienced starting rotation and bullpen depth for the final few weeks of the regular season.

Prior to getting traded, Peacock put up a 7.68 ERA and 5.16 xFIP in addition to 38 strikeouts and 14 walks over 11 appearances (10 starts) and 34 innings pitched with Triple-A Columbus after signing a minor-league pact with Cleveland in June.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)