Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez undergoes surgery to repair torn right meniscus

Red Sox left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, manager Alex Cora announced before Thursday’s series opener against the Mariners at Fenway Park.

“I don’t know about the timetable and all that,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Thursday afternoon, “but hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

Hernandez, who had been with Triple-A Worcester to start the season, tweaked his knee while throwing a bullpen session at Polar Park over the weekend. He was placed on the minor-league injured list this past Tuesday but is now likely headed for the 60-day injured list.

The Red Sox elected to option Hernandez to Worcester towards the end of spring training so that he could improve upon his command and mechanics while working on a starter’s schedule. Put another way, the Venezuelan-born southpaw would make his 2-3-inning start, and then use the days in between outings to work with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott in order to become more consistent with his delivery.

In eight appearances (seven starts) for the WooSox, Hernandez posted a 5.95 ERA and 4.42 FIP to go along with 30 strikeouts to 16 walks over 19 2/3 innings of work. Last time out against the Rochester Red Wings on May 13, the 25-year-old allowed just one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across three innings pitched. He retired nine of the 13 batters he faced and 33 of the 43 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Abbott told Cora it was Hernandez’s best start of the season in regards to repeating his delivery.

“Forget the results,” said Cora. “Just repeating his delivery and getting him to where we wanted him to get. The fastball the last two or three, it was on point. He was taking the work that he was doing on the side in between starts to the game. And it sucks for the kid. But we know he’s going to bounce back and he’s going to be OK.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez suffers right knee strain with Triple-A Worcester

The Worcester Red Sox are placing Darwinzon Hernandez on the seven-day injured list with a right knee strain, according to Joe McDonald of The Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Per McDonald, Hernandez tweaked his right knee while throwing a bullpen session at Polar Park on Sunday. It is currently unclear how much time the left-hander will miss.

In eight appearances (seven starts) for the WooSox this season, Hernandez has posted a 5.95 ERA and 4.42 FIP to go along with 30 strikeouts to 16 walks over 19 2/3 innings of work.

Last time out against the Rochester Red Wings on May 13, the 25-year-old southpaw impressed by allowing just one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across three innings pitched. He retired nine of the 13 batters he faced and 33 of the 43 pitches he threw went for strikes.

The Red Sox surprisingly optioned Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester at the end of spring training so that he could improve his mechanics while working on a starter’s schedule (i.e. every five or six days). The goal was for him to make his start, then use the days in between outings to work with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott in order to become more consistent with his delivery and such.

Now that Hernandez has been sidelined because of a knee strain, the Sox have lost yet another left-handed pitcher to injury for the time being. Of the nine lefties on Boston’s 40-man roster, three (James Paxton, Chris Sale, and Josh Taylor) on the 60-day injured list and one (Hernandez) is on the minor-league injured list.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez strikes out 3 over 2 2/3 innings in first start of season for Triple-A Worcester

Darwinzon Hernandez made his first start of the season for Triple-A Worcester in their Opening Day bout against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins affiliate) at 121 Financial Ballpark on Tuesday night.

The left-hander allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on zero hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings of work.

Both runs Hernandez gave up were scored after the 25-year-old had already left the contest. After retiring the side in order in the first and plunking J.J. Bleday in an otherwise clean second, Hernandez ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom half of the third.

Under the assumption that he was growing tired on the mound, Hernandez punched out the first two batters he faced before issuing a seven-pitch walk to Brian Miller and a five-pitch walk to Peyton Burdick to put runners at first and second base.

That sequence prompted new WooSox manager to turn to his bullpen and pull Hernandez in favor of fellow lefty Kyle Hart, who allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run double off the bat of Lewin Diaz that gave the Jumbo Shrimp an early 2-1 lead.

All told, Hernandez ended his outing having thrown 43 pitches (24 strikes) and retiring eight (4 via groundout, 3 via strikeout, and 1 via groundout) of the 11 hitters he faced. He will not factor into Tuesday’s decision.

The Red Sox surprisingly optioned Hernandez to Worcester this past Saturday, citing that they want to see more consistency and an improved delivery from the Venezuelan-born southpaw.

When speaking with reporters from JetBlue Park on Sunday, Sox manager Alex Cora acknowledged that Hernandez clearly has the stuff to be a big-leaguer, but the club needs more out of him when it comes to his mechanics and approach on the mound.

“To be the big leaguer we envision, we need to find consistency and that’s what he is missing right now,” Cora said. “We can’t go with the up and down. He dominates in Texas and he struggles for a few weeks. We don’t want that. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready. We know he’s going to contribute.”

Although Hernandez will presumably not start again until Sunday if he is on a normal schedule, the Red Sox still want the 6-foot-2, 225 pound hurler to get plenty of side work in. They believe a starter’s routine will help facilitate this.

“The goal is for him to work in between starts or in between outings,” said Cora. “He hasn’t been able to do that in years. It wasn’t a comfortable conversation because we know what he can do. But the goal is for him to work with (Worcester pitching Paul Abbott) in between starts and try to be consistent.”

Cora emphasized the importance of a repeatable delivery for Hernandez and also indicated that the Sox would like him to throw fastballs up and breaking balls down on a consistent basis. By employing these strategies with Worcester, Hernandez could be back in Boston sooner rather than later.

“it’s just a matter of him being consistent, repeat his delivery over and over and over again,” Cora said. “And we do believe he’s going to contribute at one point this season. He’s going to be a big part of this team.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weis/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox plan to have Darwinzon Hernandez make 2-3 inning starts for Triple-A Worcester to begin season, Alex Cora says

The Red Sox made a surprising decision on Saturday when they elected to option left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester.

Hernandez, 25, has been a key figure in Boston’s bullpen since debuting for the Sox in 2019. Over the last three seasons, his 83 relief appearances rank sixth on the team behind only Matt Barnes (154), Josh Taylor (120), Ryan Brasier (99), Brandon Workman (99), and Marcus Walden (85).

While Hernandez has primarily been used as a reliever throughout his big-league career, the Red Sox sent the Venezuelan-born southpaw down to Triple-A with a plan in place to start games for the WooSox.

When speaking with reporters at JetBlue Park on Sunday, Sox manager Alex Cora revealed that Hernandez will likely start for the WooSox this coming Tuesday in their Opening Day bout against the Jumbo Shrimp in Jacksonville. Though labeled as a starter, Hernandez is only expected to work two to three innings per start and will use the days in between his starts to work on the side.

“I think the plan for him is actually he’s going to start probably Opening Day in Jacksonville, but he’ll go two or three innings,” explained Cora. “The goal is for him to work in between starts or in between outings. He hasn’t been able to do that in years. It wasn’t a comfortable conversation because we know what he can do. But the goal is for him to work with (Worcester pitching Paul Abbott) in between starts and try to be consistent.”

After making his first career Opening Day roster last year, Hernandez appeared in 48 games for the Red Sox and posted a 3.38 ERA (4.80 FIP) to go along with 54 strikeouts to 31 walks over 40 innings of work.

Among the 54 left-handed relievers who accrued at least 40 innings in 2021, Hernandez ranked seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (12.2) and 11th in strikeout rate (29.7%). But he also ranked 53rd in walks per nine innings (7.0) and 53rd in walk rate (17%), per FanGraphs.

That Hernandez was erratic at times last year is nothing new. He has proven more than capable of getting hitters out at the big-league level, but he has done so on an inconsistent basis.

“Yeah, you’re a big leaguer, we know that,” Cora said of Hernandez. “But to be the big leaguer we envision, we need to find consistency and that’s what he is missing right now. We can’t go with the up and down. He dominates in Texas and he struggles for a few weeks. We don’t want that. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready. We know he’s going to contribute. There’s a few decisions based on that. There’s a few decisions as far as who we are facing this month. Do we need more righties? All of a sudden, we’ve got a lot of lefties on our staff. And they’re really, really good. But we’re still getting there.”

While Hernandez will start the season in Worcester instead of in Boston, Cora emphasized that the results or numbers Hernandez puts up with the WooSox are not as important as the work he will put in between his outings.

“We want him to pitch and then we want him to work,” the manager said. “The last one here, three innings and everyone was ecstatic. He did the job. But it’s not about that. He can even struggle for three innings and all of a sudden you will see him here. It’s about the work he will be putting in between outings, which is the most important thing for us.”

One thing in particular Cora would like to see Hernandez work on in Worcester is his delivery. When discussing Hernandez’s approach on the mound, Cora noted that the lefty can be overpowering when he works up in the zone with his fastball. The same can be said about Brewers closer Josh Hader. When Hernandez misses with his fastball, though, that is when he becomes susceptible to walks and other forms of damage.

“But at the end, we want him to throw fastballs up and breaking balls down and be consistent with it,” Cora said. “When he throws the fastball up, there is no damage. You guys can look at it. Fastballs up and breaking balls down.  I hate to compare guys but like (Josh) Hader. It’s very simple. Fastballs up and breaking balls down. And he can do that.

“The characteristics of his fastballs, he gets swings and misses,” added Cora. “He gets foul balls. There’s no loud contact. But when he gets a fastball down, we see the results, too. So it’s just a matter of him being consistent, repeat his delivery over and over and over again. And we do believe he’s going to contribute at one point this season. He’s going to be a big part of this team.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox option Eduard Bazardo, Darwinzon Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester, inform Derek Holland he will not make Opening Day roster

Following Sunday’s 7-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates at JetBlue Park, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves. First off, right-hander Eduard Bazardo and left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez were both optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

Secondly, right-hander Kaleb Ort, left-hander Derek Holland, outfielder Christin Stewart, and infielder Yolmer Sanchez were all reassigned to minor-league camp.

By cutting these six players from their major-league spring training roster, the Sox now have 34 players at big-league camp in Fort Myers. They will need to make six more cuts before Opening Day against the Yankees in the Bronx on Thursday.

It is undoubtedly surprising to see Hernandez not make Boston’s Opening Day roster, especially when considering the fact that fellow left-hander Josh Taylor is sidelined because of a back injury.

Hernandez, 25, is coming off a 2021 season in which he posted a 3.38 ERA and 4.80 FIP to go along with 54 strikeouts to 31 walks over 48 relief appearances spanning 40 innings of work. The Venezuelan-born southpaw had appeared in just two games this spring, with his most-recent outing coming on March 25.

Bazardo, on the other hand, debuted for the Red Sox last year and made just two appearances at the big-league level. With the Triple-A Worcester, the 26-year-old produced an 8.74 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 12:5 across 11 appearances and 11 1/3 innings pitched.

Though they will start the season with the WooSox, both Bazardo and Hernandez should figure into Boston’s bullpen plans at some point this year.

As for the six non-roster invitees who were reassigned to minor-league camp, Holland is the most notable since he has the most major-league experience as well as the ability to opt out of his deal.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora informed Holland, who inked a minors pact with Boston on March 18, on Saturday that he would not be making the Opening Day roster.

Holland, a veteran of 13 seasons, can now test the free agency waters again if he so chooses, though Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) that the 35-year-old lefty has not made a decision yet.

“We talked with Derek,” Cora said. “We were honest with him. He’s not going to make the team. So we’ll see where he’s at during the weekend. Obviously a lefty. Lefties with a heartbeat, they always have a chance. But no, no. Great impression. Good stuff yesterday. It’s just a matter of where we’re at roster-wise. Being selfish, hopefully he’s there Tuesday in Jacksonville, pitching for Worcester.”

The WooSox, as noted by Smith, open their season against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday, April 5.

With this round of roster moves completed, the Sox currently have 28 40-man roster players and six non-roster invitees (Franchy Cordero, Tyler Danish, Rob Refsnyder, Hansel Robles, John Schreiber, and Travis Shaw) at camp.

As previously mentioned, Boston still needs to make six more subtractions between now and this coming Thursday. Additional cuts are expected in the coming days.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers lead the way with pair of grand slams as Red Sox even ALCS with 9-5 win over Astros

After squandering multiple scoring opportunities in a Game 1 loss to kick off the American League Championship Series on Friday, the Red Sox bounced back in a tremendous way against the Astros in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon.

Boston mashed their way to a 9-5 win over Houston at Minute Maid Park, meaning this best-of-seven ALCS is now tied at one game each as it heads back to Fenway Park.

Matched up against Astros rookie right-hander Luis Garcia to begin things on Saturday, a hungry Sox lineup kicked off the scoring right away in their half of the first inning.

Kyle Schwarber led off with a double, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo each drew a walk to fill the bases with two outs, then — following a brief mound visit — J.D. Martinez unloaded the bases on a 1-0, 94 mph fastball from Garcia and crushed it 363 feet over the right field wall.

Martinez’s grand slam, which had an exit velocity of 106 mph, gave Boston an early 4-0 lead, but they were not done there.

That being the case because an inning later, the Red Sox threatened once more after Kevin Plawecki began the top half of the second by drawing a leadoff walk off Garcia.

To that point in the contest, Garcia had struggled with his command, with only 14 of his 33 pitches through one-plus innings going for strikes. As a result, he left the game with right knee discomfort and was replaced by Jake Odorizzi.

Odorizzi, a traditional starter, then went through his regular warmup routine on the field, which took quite a bit of time before he was ready to face Christian Arroyo with no outs and a runner on in the second.

Arroyo, coming off that long layoff, promptly ripped a single to right field before a one-out base hit of the bat of Enrique Hernandez filled the bases for Boston yet again.

Devers then followed in Martinez’s footsteps by clubbing the Sox’ second grand slam of the day, making them the first major-league team to ever hit two grand slams in a single postseason game.

While the long layoff caused by Garcia’s injury played into Boston’s favor on the offensive side of things, it also resulted in Nathan Eovaldi having to wait a while in between innings.

Eovaldi, making his third start of the postseason for the Sox, got his day started against his hometown team by retiring six of the first seven Astros batters he faced. From the time he recorded the final out of the second inning, though, he had to wait a grand total of 41 minutes before throwing his first pitch of the third.

The veteran right-hander had a sizable 8-0 cushion to work with at that point, and that lead only increased after he got through another 1-2-3 frame.

In the top of the fourth, with Odorizzi still on the mound for Houston, a sizzling Hernandez stayed hot at the plate by tattooing yet another home run — a 395-foot solo shot into the Crawford Boxes.

By doing so, Hernandez became the first Red Sox player to ever hit five homers in a five-game span during the postseason. He also gave his side a commanding 9-0 lead.

While Eovaldi had been able to keep the Astros at bay in his first three innings on Saturday, he ran into some two-out trouble in the bottom of the fourth after issuing his first walk of the afternoon to Yordan Alvarez before giving up a hard-hit single to Carlos Correa.

Kyle Tucker then plated Houston’s first run of the contest with an opposite field RBI double, while Yuli Gurriel tacked on two more on a two-run single down the right field line.

That sequence cut Boston’s advantage down to six runs at 9-3, but Eovaldi countered by getting out of the fourth before tossing a scoreless fifth inning that included a visit from a team trainer.

An inning later, Eovaldi got the first out of the sixth on an Alex Bregman groundout before giving up a one-out single to Alvarez — at which point his afternoon came to a close as he got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of Adam Ottavino.

Ottavino proceeded to officially close the book on Eovaldi’s outing by stranding the lone runner he inherited while also maneuvering his way around a bit of a jam.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 81 (53 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler (Eovaldi) wound up allowing three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

Garrett Whitlock took over for Ottavino in a 9-3 game in the seventh, and he worked his way around a one-out walk of Jason Castro with some defensive help from Arroyo, who made a fine play while in the shift to get Michael Brantley at first base for the final out of the inning.

From there, Whitlock rolled on by sitting down the side in order in the eighth, thus paving the way for Darwinzon Hernandez in the ninth.

Hernandez, making his first appearance of the postseason, served up a pair of solo solo home runs to Gurriel and Castro, which trimmed Houston’s deficit down to four runs.

Ryan Brasier was forced to come on for the second straight day in relief of Hernandez. He was able to slam the door on the Astros in order to secure a series-evening 9-5 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox even up this series at one game apiece while guaranteeing it will go at least five games. They have also taken homefield advantage away from the Astros for the time being.

Next up: Back to Boston for Games 3, 4, and 5

The Red Sox will board a flight to Boston and enjoy a well-deserved off day on Sunday before resuming the ALCS against the Astros at Fenway Park on Monday night.

Boston has yet to officially name a starter for Monday’s contest, while Houston will go with right-hander Jose Urquidy for Game 3.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Monday is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

(Picture of: J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Josh Taylor to have MRI on back; X-rays on Kevin Plawecki’s foot come back negative

In the process of blowing a late one-run lead and dropping a heartbreaker to the Yankees by a final score of 5-3 at Fenway Park on Saturday, the Red Sox were also dealt two blows on the injury front, though one may be considered more significant than the other.

For starters, Josh Taylor was not available out of the bullpen because of a back issue, Sox manager Alex Cora relayed following Saturday night’s defeat at the hands of the Yankees.

“Taylor is down,” Cora said. “He’s actually going to have an MRI tomorrow. His back has been bothering him, so we’ll see where we’re at with that, but he was down.”

With Taylor unavailable, Boston was left without an additional left-handed relief option in its bullpen, leaving Austin Davis and Darwinzon Hernandez as the two primary lefties who could be called upon.

After Tanner Houck issued a pair of two-out walks to New York’s No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the top of the eighth inning, Cora was put into a spot where his side had a 2-1 lead to protect with a left-handed hitter in Anthony Rizzo due to hit next for the opposition.

That led Cora to turn to Hernandez for the left-on-left matchup with one out to get in the eighth. Hernandez, however, plunked Rizzo on a 3-1, 96 mph fastball to load the bases as the ever-dangerous, right-handed hitting Giancarlo Stanton loomed in the on-deck circle.

While Cora could not make another pitching change since Hernandez had yet to face the minimum of three batters, he did pay the 24-year-old a visit on the pitcher’s mound to have a brief conversation with him — as well as the rest of the Red Sox infield.

Cora’s pep talk did not pay off, though, as Hernandez proceeded to groove a first-pitch fastball down the heart of the plate to Stanton that the Yankees slugger crushed 452 feet over the Green Monster for what would turn out to be the game-winning grand slam.

In choosing Hernandez over Davis to face Rizzo, Cora was left to defend his decision during his postgame media availability, and he did just that.

“I mean, the fact that his stuff plays, right? He’s been throwing the ball well, and you always have to be prepared for the next hitter, right?” Cora said in regards to having Hernandez pitch in that spot. “It’s not that you’re thinking something negative is going to happen with the lefty (Rizzo), but we do believe that he can get the righty out, too, in that spot so we went with him.”

Coming into play on Saturday, Hernandez had actually fared better against right-handed hitters (.615 OPS) than left-handed hitters (.736 OPS against).

Davis, on the other hand, has given up just four hits to the 31 left-handed hitters he faced since joining the Red Sox as a trade deadline acquisition.

On the flip side of that, however, Davis has struggled against right-handed hitters (.886 OPS against) dating back to July 31, so Cora truly did have a difficult decision to make when taking the three-batter minimum rule into consideration.

“There’s two outs. We’ve got to get him (Rizzo) out there,” said Cora. “That’s why we went with Darwinzon. Because we do believe he can get the lefty and the righty out. It just didn’t happen. But the rules are the rules. We’ve been playing with them all season. It’s not the first time we had a situation like this. Just like he wasn’t able to pound the strike zone with the lefty.”

Regardless of which reliever was tasked with getting out of the eighth inning, Boston’s late-game collapse stems from Houck’s inability to throw strikes consistently.

The right-hander was dispatched in the seventh inning and walked the first two batters he faced on eight straight balls before escaping the jam on a double play off the bat of Gleyber Torres and a three-pitch strikeout of Gary Sanchez.

Houck proceeded to fan the first two Yankees he faced in the eighth as well and appeared to be on the verge of punching out the side when he had leadoff man Brett Gardner in a 1-2 count. He instead walked Gardner on six pitches before getting in another two-strike count against Aaron Judge that ultimately resulted in a six-pitch walk to bring Rizzo to the plate.

“We didn’t throw enough strikes in that inning,” Cora said. “We had two outs, 1-2 count, we weren’t able to put [Gardner] away. Then 2-2 count against Judge, we didn’t put him away. Obviously the walk to Rizzo [by Hernandez], but I think it goes back to the leadoff hitter. We had two outs and we made some good pitches, but not in the strike zone.”

In other injury-related news, Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and a home run in Saturday’s loss, was struck in the right foot by a 98.5 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman during final plate appearance of the night in the ninth inning.

A hobbled Plawecki was removed from the contest and replaced at first base by the pinch-running Christian Vazquez, but Cora later revealed that X-Rays on the veteran backstop’s foot came back negative.

“It’s feeling better now. X-rays are negative, so that’s good,” Plawecki said. “Obviously sore, but we’ll get some treatment on it tomorrow and it shouldn’t be anything for me to really worry about. So, I dodged a bullet, I guess you could say.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Darwinzon Hernandez gives up game-winning grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton as Red Sox squander late lead in 5-3 loss to Yankees

No longer donning their yellow City Connect threads, the Red Sox squandered a late lead and dropped their second straight to the Yankees in dramatic fashion at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Despite a strong performance from Nick Pivetta, Boston fell to New York by a final score of 5-3, marking their second consecutive defeat coming on the heels of a seven-game winning streak.

Pivetta, making his 29th start of the season for the Sox, rebounded from a rather short outing against the Orioles in his last time out by providing more length in Saturday’s contest against another American League East foe.

Over 5 1/3 frames of work, the right-hander surrendered just one run on three hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

One of the three hits Pivetta gave up came on a leadoff single off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to begin things in the top of the second, but he kept Stanton at first base by punching out the next three batters he faced.

Pivetta nearly ran into more leadoff trouble in the third when Rougned Odor lifted a 385-foot fly to ball to the deepest part of right field, but it was one that stayed in the park for Hunter Renfroe, as the right fielder took a potential home run away while up against the wall for the first out of the inning.

While the Yankees had a home run taken away from them in their half of the third, the Red Sox made sure the same did not happen to them in their half of the third.

To that point, Yankees starter Nestor Cortes Jr. had held the Sox hitless by retiring each of the first seven batters he faced, but Kevin Plawecki quickly changed things in that regard.

Plawecki, catching Pivetta in place of Christian Vazquez, took the second pitch he saw from Cortes Jr. — a 1-0, 86 mph cutter on the inner half of the plate — and crushed it 408 feet off the leftmost light tower over the Green Monster.

Plawecki’s third homer of the season left his bat at a sizzling 106.9 mph, and it also gave the Red Sox their first lead of the day at 1-0.

Kyle Schwarber doubled that lead in the bottom of the fifth, as he led off against Cortes by drilling a single to right field. Bobby Dalbec, like Odor, nearly clubbed a two-run homer that was instead robbed by Aaron Judge in right field. Schwarber then advanced up to second on a base hit from Plawecki and an infield single from Jose Iglesias that loaded the bases with one out.

With right-handed reliever Michael King deployed to face off against Enrique Hernandez, Schwarber easily scored from third when a wild pitch from King that eluded Sanchez wound up rolling all the way towards the visitor’s dugout.

Though Schwarber was the only one to score in the inning, Pivetta was now given a 2-0 advantage to operate with. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to get through the sixth inning, as he issued back-to-back one-out hits to Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner that put the tying run in scoring position.

That sequence resulted in Pivetta getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, with the 28-year-old finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (60 strikes). Of those 90 pitches, 55 were four-seam fastballs — seven of which led to swings-and-misses from Yankees batters.

Cora, in a tough spot, turned to Hansel Robles, who promptly uncorked a wild pitch past Plawecki that allowed Urshela to score from third while Judge was at the plate.

Gardner also moved up an additional 90 feet on the play, but he was gunned down at home plate by Devers when he attempted to score on a soft grounder from Judge, thus keeping the 2-1 lead intact for Boston.

From there, Tanner Houck took over for Robles in the seventh, walked the first two Yankees he faced on eight straight balls, but escaped the jam by inducing a 4-6-3 double play before getting Sanchez to whiff on an 0-2 slider in emphatic fashion for the final out of the inning.

In the eighth, after recording the first two outs, Houck issued another walk to Gardner, who — while representing the tying run — successfully stole second base. The righty then issued another free pass to Judge to put runners at first and second, and that prompted Cora to roll with Darwinzon Hernandez with the left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo looming for New York.

Hernandez, however, plunked Rizzo to load the bases, meaning he was now tasked with facing the ever-dangerous Stanton, who wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunity in front of him even after Cora took the time to talk things over with the lefty on the mound beforehand.

On a first-pitch, 94 mph fastball that was grooved down the heart of the plate by Hernandez, Stanton absolutely demolished a 452-foot grand slam well over everything in left field.

Stanton’s go-ahead, bases-clearing grand slam, which had an exit velocity of 114.1 mph, put the Yankees up for the first time all day, as it gave them a commanding 5-2 lead.

Luis Severino took that brand-new three-run advantage and ran with it, tossing two scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth before making way for Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

Chapman, New York’s closer, got the first out of the inning before serving up a solo shot to Dalbec (his 24th) and plunking Plawecki on the right foot, which brought the tying run to the plate as Vazquez replaced his fellow backstop as the runner at first base.

Iglesias, representing that ever-important tying run, fanned on three straight strikes, leaving things in the hand of Hernandez.

Having gone 0-for-4 with two strikeouts to that point, Hernandez was unable to come through in the clutch — as he worked a full count before ultimately grounding out to seal the 5-3 defeat for the Sox.

With the loss, their second straight coming off a seven-game winning streak, the Red Sox fall to 88-67 on the season. They are now locked in a tie with the Yankees (also 88-67) for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Montgomery in rubber match

The Red Sox will wrap up the home portion of their regular season schedule by looking to salvage this series against the Yankees on Sunday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston in the finale of this three-game set, and he will be opposed by fellow southpaw Jordan Montgomery for New York.

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

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Xander Bogaerts, Darwinzon Hernandez activated; Kaleb Ort selected from Triple-A Worcester; Chris Sale, Jonathan Araúz placed on COVID-19 related injured list

Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, the Red Sox made an extensive flurry of roster moves.

First off, shortstop Xander Bogaerts was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, while left-handed reliever Darwinzon Hernandez was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Right-handed reliever Kaleb Ort also had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester.

Secondly, ace left-hander Chris Sale and infielder Jonathan Arauz were both placed on the COVID-19 related injured list, while lefty reliever Austin Davis was placed on the paternity leave list.

The Red Sox made all of these transactions official earlier Friday night.

Bogaerts will return from the COVID-19 related injured list after initially testing positive for the virus while the Red Sox were taking on the Rays in St. Petersburg on August 31.

The 28-year-old was forced to exit in the second inning of that contest at Tropicana Field on account of that positive test and was immediately placed into a mandatory 10-day quarantine at the team’s hotel.

Since those 10 days are now up, Bogaerts was eligible to be activated on Friday, which winds up being the case. The three-time All-Star will be starting at shortstop and batting cleanup in the first of three against the American League Central-leading White Sox.

Joining Bogaerts on the active roster will be two relievers in the form of Hernandez and Ort.

Hernandez returns to the Boston bullpen after missing slightly more than six weeks of action due to a right oblique strain he sustained in a relief appearance against the Blue Jays back on July 29.

Placed on the 10-day injured list on July 31, the 24-year-old southpaw was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester this past Tuesday. He appeared in one game for the WooSox later that same day and worked a scoreless eighth inning in which he walked one and struck out another in a 5-4 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park.

Ort, on the other hand, is called up to a major-league roster for the first time in his professional career, as he will take the place of Sale on Boston’s 40-man roster for the time being.

The Red Sox originally selected Ort from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of last winter’s Rule 5 Draft — shortly after they picked up Garrett Whitlock from New York as well.

A former undrafted free agent who initially signed with the Diamondbacks in 2016 but joined the Yankees organization a year later, the 29-year-old righty has emerged as the bona fide closer for the WooSox this season.

In 40 appearances out of Worcester’s bullpen, Ort has posted a respectable 3.12 ERA and 3.56 FIP to go along with 59 strikeouts to 20 walks over 43 1/3 total innings of work. He also leads the WooSox with 18 saves on the year.

As previously mentioned, the Sox were able to call up Ort, who will wear the No. 85, without having to remove someone from their 40-man roster because of Sale being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

It was revealed earlier Friday that the ace left-hander had tested positive for the virus, and would subsequently be forced to miss his next scheduled start on Sunday as a result.

In testing positive for COVID-19, Sale becomes the 10th Red Sox player to do so since August 27 while also becoming the 12th player the club has had to place on the COVID IL since that date.

Boston’s starting rotation for this weekend’s series with Chicago initially had Tanner Houck starting the opener, Nick Pivetta starting the middle game, and Sale starting the finale.

Pivetta, who has been on the COVID IL since September 5 since he, too, tested positive, could be able to take Sale’s spot and start on Sunday.

Saturday’s contest, meanwhile, will likely fall to right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold, who — like Ort — traveled with the Sox to Chicago as part of the team’s taxi squad.

In addition to Sale, the Red Sox also placed Arauz on the COVID-19 related injured list, meaning the 23-year-old has now become the 13th player Boston has had to place on the COVID IL since their initial outbreak began in Cleveland two weeks ago.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the reason for Arauz being placed on the COVID IL is a precautionary one, as the Panamanian-born infielder has been exhibiting virus-like symptoms, but has tested negative “multiple times.”

Along with Sale and Arauz, the Red Sox will also be without Davis for the time being since he is headed out on paternity leave, though the timing of his absence is in sync with the return of Hernandez.

Put another way, as Boston temporarily loses one left-handed bullpen option, they get another back in the Venezuelan southpaw.

Following Friday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ major-league roster is at full capacity (26 players), while their 40-man roster currently sits at approximately 39 players.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester

Red Sox reliever Darwinzon Hernandez has been sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Hernandez, 24, has not appeared in a game for the Sox since July 29 after being placed on the 10-day injured list on account of a right oblique strain two days later.

At the time Hernandez initially hit the IL, it did not appear as though the left-hander would be out for long, but he wound up undergoing an MRI — which came back clean — in early August.

On August 15, Hernandez resumed playing catch and threw a bullpen session at Fenway Park the following weekend. He completed his second live bullpen session on Sunday, which seemed to be one of the final hurdles he needed to clear.

That being the case because Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey) on Sunday that the team was trying to determine if Hernandez would need to go on a rehab assignment or if he would just be immediately activated from the injured list.

As it turns out, Hernandez will indeed head out to Worcester to join the WooSox ahead of their six-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs that begins Tuesday night at Polar Park.

Before straining his right oblique in late July, the Venezuelan southpaw had posted a 3.44 ERA and .697 OPS against to go along with 46 strikeouts and 26 walks over 41 relief appearances spanning 34 innings of work out of the bullpen.

In the time that Hernandez has been sidelined, the Red Sox have used four additional left-handed relievers in Josh Taylor, Austin Davis, Martin Perez, and Stephen Gonsalves.

Those four lefties have combined to put up a 4.98 ERA, a 3.72 FIP, a 4.08 xFIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 37:16 over 34 1/3 total innings pitched in Hernandez’s absence dating back to July 30.

As noted by Speier, Hernandez’s time away from the team has been ‘significant’ given his ability to induce punchouts at a relatively high rate (29.9% this season).

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)