Red Sox manage just 5 hits in 9-1 defeat to Yankees, marking third straight series loss

For the third straight time dating back to before the All-Star break, the Red Sox won the first game of a series and followed by dropping the next two contests, as they fell to the Yankees by a final score of 9-1 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.

After starting the season with seven wins in seven tries against their division rivals, the Sox have lost their last two to the Bronx Bombers and a scored a total of two runs in those defeats.

Martin Perez made his 19th start of the season for Boston on Sunday, and he ran into some early trouble shortly after tossing a 1-2-3 first inning.

That being the case because Gleyber Torres greeted the veteran left-hander by crushing a leadoff home run off him to begin things in the bottom of the second before back-to-back one-out singles in the third resulted in another New York run crossing the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees added on to their lead in the fifth, which turned out be an inning in which Perez failed to record an out in, as he yielded two straight singles to Rougned Odor and Ryan LaMarre that put runners at second and third with no outs on account of a throwing error from right fielder Hunter Renfroe.

At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled Perez in favor of right-hander Garrett Whitlock, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a Greg Allen sacrifice fly before getting out of the inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 62 (41 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler ended up surrendering three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work. His next start should come against this same Yankees team back at Fenway Park on Saturday.

The Red Sox lineup, which had struggled mightily throughout the night against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, had a golden opportunity to get on the board in their half of the sixth, with one out and runners in scoring position following a hard-hit double from Xander Bogaerts.

That double knocked Taillon out of this contest, and the Yankees brought in Chad Green to face off against Rafael Devers in a prime run-scoring spot, but the slugging third baseman struck out on a controversial check-swing call, while Hunter Renfroe grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.

Whitlock, after recording the final out of the fifth, came back out for the sixth and proceeded to sit down the final three hitters he faced in order to keep his side within the three runs they trailed by.

From there, however, the Red Sox bullpen let this one get away from them, as Darwinzon Hernanez entered in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before serving up a two-run blast to Rougned Odor to put Boston in a 5-0 hole.

The left-hander then walked LaMarre and Allen back-to-back, prompting Brandon Workman to take over for him to only issue three consecutive free passes — two of which came with the bases loaded — with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, allowing New York to jump out to a 7-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the eighth, after plating their only run of the evening on a Renfroe RBI single in the top half of the frame, the Red Sox fell victim to more walk issues, as Yacksel Rios walked the first batter who came to the plate against him in Odor before giving up a two-run homer to LaMarre, who spent part of the 2016 season in the Boston outfield.

That put the Yankees up by a commanding eight runs at 9-1, which would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. They left nine men on base as a team.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 56-38 on the season as they have now dropped six of their last eight games despite clinging on to a half-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Arroyo suffers hamstring injury

Christian Arroyo was originally starting Sunday’s contest at first base for the first time in his professional career, but his debut at the position did not go according to plan.

The 26-year-old suffered a left hamstring strain after attempting to stretch out for a ball in order to complete a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the third inning.

After doing a split and rising to his feet, Arroyo was in visible discomfort and had to exit immediately. He was replaced by Bobby Dalbec at first base and seems likely to land on the injured list.

Next up: Blue Jays in Buffalo

The Red Sox will make the trek from the Bronx to Buffalo to take on a surging Blue Jays club in the first of a three-game series at Sahlen Field on Monday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Ross Stripling is lined up to do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Lifeless Red Sox drop third straight to Astros, 2-1; Nick Pivetta hit with first loss of season despite striking out 9 over 6 innings

A stagnant Red Sox offense was once again held in check by the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night.

Houston starter Framber Valdez gave Boston a chance to get something going immediately in the first inning. The left-hander loaded the bases with two outs and walked in a run by issuing a free pass to Hunter Renfroe.

Bobby Dalbec was presented with the opportunity to do some more damage in his first at-bat of the night, but he grounded out sharply to shortstop to extinguish the threat.

As it would later turn out, that lone run is all the Sox could get off of Valdez, as the southpaw settled in after a rough first inning and strung together six straight scoreless frames to get through seven strong when all was said and done.

The Boston bats did not fare much better against the Astros’ bullpen, with all three of Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts lining out to center field against reliever Ryne Stanek in the top half of the eighth.

In the top half of the ninth, a one-out single from Renfroe and two-out single from Vazquez off Astros closer Ryan Pressly provided the Red Sox with some late life and the chance to at least tie things up at two runs apiece.

Alas, Christian Arroyo hit a broken-bat pop-up to the infield, and 2-1 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

By dropping their third consecutive contest to the Astros, the Red Sox fall to 32-23 on the season (16-10 on the road), yet still remain two games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Pivetta grinds through first two innings, winds up turning in solid performance

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta needed 57 pitches to get through the first two innings of his 11th start of the season on Wednesday. Like Valdez, he also put himself in a bases-loaded jam right away in the first, but got out of it having allowed just one run.

From that point, though, the right-hander locked in and put together one of his best outings of the year to this point all things considered.

Over six innings in total, Pivetta yielded two runs — both earned — on three hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (72 strikes) to set a new season-high, the 28-year-old was ultimately hit with his first loss of the year — and his first since coming over to the Red Sox from the Phillies last August. His next start should come against the Marlins back at Fenway Park on Monday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez tossed a perfect seventh inning while Hirokazu Sawamura and Josh Taylor combined to toss a scoreless bottom of the eighth with the help of Christian Vazquez snuffing out Alex Bregman at second base.

Next up: Perez vs. Odorizzi

The Red Sox will send left-hander Martin Perez to the hill on Thursday afternoon as they look to halt this three-game losing streak, avoid a sweep and in turn end an otherwise forgettable series against the Astros on a positive note.

Perez will be opposed by veteran right-hander and his former Twins rotation mate Jake Odorizzi for Houston.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Red Sox ride bullpen to 3-1 victory over Marlins in Will Venable’s managerial debut

With Alex Cora in Puerto Rico for his daughter’s graduation from high school and a paid attendance of over 25,000 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were able to hold on and secure a series victory over the Marlins with a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Nathan Eovaldi made his 11th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set and provided the Sox with 5 1/3 quality innings of work.

Over those 5 1/3 innings, the veteran right-hander kept Miami off the scoreboard while scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the evening.

While he did retire 16 of the 22 hitters he faced on Saturday, Eovaldi also dealt with his fair share of foul balls — 26 to be exact — which ultimately led to an uneconomical outing, if that makes sense.

By the time he issued a one-out single to Garrett Cooper in the top half of the sixth, Eovaldi’s pitch count was already over 100, and that resulted in his day coming to a close right then there.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (71 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 46% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six swings-and-misses while topping out at 98.2 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 6-2 on the season while lowering his ERA to 4.01, Eovaldi’s next start should come against his hometown Astros in Houston next Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he stranded the runner he inherited by retiring the side in the sixth before allowing two of the three batters he faced in the seventh to reach base.

Of the three hits Taylor gave up (a single, a ground-rule double, and an infield single, the average exit velocity on those balls put into play was 58.4 mph, so it goes without saying that the lefty was the recipient of some tough luck.

Adam Ottavino came on to face the right-handed hitting Starling Marte, who he walked on five pitches to fill the bases for the meat of the Marlins’ order.

A lengthy battle with Jesus Aguilar wound up going Ottavino’s way, as he got the Miami slugger to whiff on a 3-2 slider. He followed that by fanning Cooper on four pitches, with the fourth and final pitch being an 82 mph slider that got a fiery reaction out of the usually-tepid righty as he made his way back to the Red Sox dugout.

From there, Darwnizon Hernandez got the first two outs of the eighth before handing things over to Hirokazu Sawamura, who, like Ottavino, induced a dramatic, inning-ending strikeout that got him to emphatically pound his chest as he took his leave.

An inning later, Matt Barnes was deployed with a three-run lead to protect, and despite surrendering a run, the Sox closer did just that when he got Cooper to ground into a game-sealing 4-6-3 double play to preserve the win and pick up his 12th save of the year.

All in all, bench coach Will Venable — filling in for Cora — and the rest of the Red Sox coaching staff pieced together a pitching performance in which five relievers were used, only one run was given up, and the final 11 outs were recorded by the Boston bullpen. Not too shabby.

Because of the impressive showing from the Sox’ pitching staff, the Red Sox lineup did not need to do much in terms of offensive firepower on Saturday.

Matched up against Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers, Bobby Dalbec got the scoring started for Boston with an RBI single in the bottom half of the second.

In the fourth, Kevin Plawecki doubled his side’s lead with another run-scoring that plated Hunter Renfroe from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Renfroe himself delivered with an RBI base hit later on in the bottom of the eighth off Miami reliever Adam Cimber, this time driving in Rafael Devers on his third knock of the day.

That put the Red Sox up 3-0, and 3-1 would go on to be Saturday’s final score from Fenway.

Next up: Alcantara vs. Rodriguez

Sunday’s starting pitching matchup between the 24-28 Marlins and 32-20 Red Sox will feature right-hander Sandy Alcantara getting the ball for Miami and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez doing the same for Boston.

First pitch Sunday (weather permitting) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time at Fenway Park. Red Sox will be looking to complete the sweep.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

Dalbec, Cordero collect two doubles each

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

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

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

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

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

Bogaerts, Devers homer

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

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

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

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

Perez picks up first win of season

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

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

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

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

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

Red Sox bullpen preserves the shutout

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

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

Next up: Going for the sweep

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

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

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

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

Red Sox held in check once again in 3-2 series-opening loss to Athletics

For the second straight night, the Red Sox were held to just four hits in a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

Despite the offensive struggles, the Sox still found themselves in a position where they could steal a win from the first-place A’s in the bottom of the ninth inning.

There, Oakland reliever Jake Diekman walked two of the first three hitters he faced to put the tying and winning runs on base in Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts.

Both Verdugo and Bogaerts advanced into scoring position when Rafael Devers grounded into a force out for the second out of the frame, leaving the potential tying run just 90 feet away from scoring.

With the game in his hands, Christian Vazquez undramatically popped out to A’s first baseman Matt Olson in foul territory to strand Verdugo and Verdugo where they were and end things at 3-2.

With the loss (their second straight), the Sox fall to 22-15 on the season.

Sox bats held in check by Bassitt

The primary reason the Red Sox offense really could not get anything going on Tuesday was because of Athletics starter Chris Bassitt.

Coming into the day with a 3.70 ERA on the season, the veteran right-hander recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts while limiting Boston to just two runs on three hits in seven innings.

Interestingly enough, the Sox drew first blood in this one when after reaching base on a one-out single in the bottom of the first, Verdugo advanced to second and again to third on a pair of Bassitt wild pitches, which allowed the outfielder to easily score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.D. Martinez.

Eovaldi bounces back with solid outing

Given an early one-run lead to work with, Nathan Eovaldi rebounded nicely in his eighth start of the season for the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Over six innings of work, the right-hander allowed just one run on two hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The lone run he gave up came in the fourth when Olson got his side on the board with a one-out RBI single.

Besides that, though, Eovaldi did manage to retire seven of the final eight hitters he faced to lower his ERA on the season to 4.20.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (65 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing just one swing-and-miss while topping out at 99.3 mph with the pitch.

Later hit with the no-decision, Eovaldi’s next start should come against the Angels on Sunday.

Hernandez’s struggles at Fenway continue

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the seventh inning of a 1-1 game.

Matched up against Oakland’s 4-5-6 hitters, Hernandez surrendered a leadoff walk to Olson before serving up a go-ahead, run-scoring single to Matt Chapman.

Adam Ottavino would have to come in to finish the seventh, but he allowed an inherited runner to score on an RBI single of his own to make it a 3-1 contest.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura wrapped things up by tossing two scoreless frames of relief to hold the Athletics at three runs.

Devers hits ninth homer

After falling behind by two runs in the top of the seventh, Devers brought the Sox back to within one by crushing his ninth home run of the season — a 353-foot solo shot off Bassitt — to cut Boston’s deficit to 3-2, which would ultimately go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Next up: Kaprielian vs. Rodriguez

The Red Sox will look to snap their two-game skid against the Athletics on Wednesday night back at Fenway.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making the start for Boston, and he will be opposed by rookie right-hander James Kaprielian for Oakland.

Kaprielian, 27, will be making his first career major-league start after debuting out of the bullpen with the A’s last season. The former Yankees prospect is probably best known for being part of the 2017 trade that sent right-hander Sonny Gray to New York.

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

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez has struck out 6 of the last 7 hitters he has faced: ‘The fastball up in the zone is hard to hit,’ Alex Cora says

There was a stretch between April 16-28 where Darwinzon Hernandez appeared in a grand total of one game for the Red Sox.

In that one game, which came against the Mariners on April 22, the left-handed reliever gave up four runs (three earned) on two hits, two walks, and one strikeout in the 10th inning of what would go down as a 7-3 loss for Boston. Three of those runs came on a three-run home run off the bat of Mitch Haniger.

“That home run he gave up against Seattle, I don’t want to say it was a wake-up call,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday. “But it was kind of like, ‘I need to attack hitters differently.'”

For a full week after that implosion, which raised his ERA on the year to an unsightly 5.14, Hernandez was not used for the remainder of the Sox’ series against the Mariners, nor was he used in their two-game set against the Mets in New York.

It was not until this past Thursday night that the 24-year-old was called upon again, as he took responsibility for the eighth inning in a game the Red Sox were trailing by three runs to the Rangers.

Matched up against Texas’ 3,4, and 5 hitters — Joey Gallo, Adolis Garcia, and Nate Lowe — Hernandez needed just 13 pitches (nine strikes) to punch out the side in order. He induced seven swings-and-misses in the process of getting all three of Gallo, Garcia, and Lowe to strike out swinging.

On Friday, Hernandez was once again deployed in the eighth inning against the Rangers, though this time his side had a five-run lead to work with.

Even with that lofty cushion, the Venezuelan hurler stayed on the aggressive side of things by thoroughly attacking the strike zone in the process of punching out three more batters.

He very well could have struck out the side in yet another perfect inning of relief, but an 0-2 fastball to Lowe with two outs that was very clearly a strike was ruled a ball by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. Lowe wound up reaching base on an infield single moments later.

So although he could not notch the 1-2-3 inning, Hernandez punched out the very next hitter he faced in Garcia on three straight strikes to retire the side.

“We talk about his fastball up in the zone,” Cora said. “Yesterday, he did it. He did it again today. He made a great pitch to the lefty that got a hit at the end (Lowe). It was a good pitch in the zone. It was called a ball. But, he’s slowing down now. The slider is playing. The fastball up in the zone is hard to hit.”

Following Friday’s showing, Hernandez lowered his ERA on the season to 4.00 through his first 10 outings and nine innings pitches of 2021.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 244 pound southpaw currently ranks in the 99th percentile in whiff rate (44.8%). And as noted by Red Sox Stats, he is getting hitters to swing-and-miss at his fastball a major-league-best 50% of the time.

“If that guy throws the ball the way he did,” said Cora, “it’s going to put us in a great place with the bullpen.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta takes no-hitter into sixth inning, but Red Sox still fall to Mariners, 7-3, in extras

Despite giving up just three hits over 10 innings, the Red Sox’ struggles at Fenway Park continued on Thursday with a 7-3 loss at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

The Sox are now 12-8 on the season, 6-7 at home, and 3-5 in their last eight games coming off that nine-game winning streak earlier this month.

Nick Pivetta is not to blame for Boston’s second consecutive defeat. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and retired 16 of the first 17 hitters he faced Thursday before issuing a pair of two-out walks to J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger in the top half of the sixth.

Moments after walking Haniger, Pivetta surrendered his first hit — a two-run double off the bat of Ty France that appeared catchable for left fielder Franchy Cordero — and saw the Mariners take a 2-0 lead before France was tagged out between second and third base.

That would turn out to be Pivetta’s final inning. So over six frames of work in total, the 28-year-old yielded two runs on one hit, three walks, and four strikeouts. 55 of the 86 pitches he threw went for strikes.

His next start should come against the Mets in Queens on Wednesday.

Ottavino charged with blown save

After Matt Andriese tossed a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Pivetta, Adam Ottavino got the call for the top half of the eighth with a 3-2 lead to protect.

The veteran righty put the first two Mariners he faced in Luis Torrens and a pinch-hitting Jose Marmolejos on base via a pair of free passes.

Crawford, Seattle’s No. 9 hitter, followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt towards the left side of the infield. Ottavino fielded the ball rather quickly and attempted to make the throw to the third to get the lead runner out.

The throw instead got away from Ottavino, which allowed Sam Haggerty (pinch-running for Torrens) to score from third base and knot things up at three runs a piece.

Hernandez gives up three-run bomb in extras

Matt Barnes managed to hold the M’s at three runs and needed all of 12 pitches to toss a 1-2-3 top half of the ninth. But even after getting through that portion of the game rather effortlessly, Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Darwinzon Hernandez rather than Barnes for the 10th.

Hernandez, in turn, allowed the runner who starts each extra inning at second base to score on a sac bunt and an RBI double from Haggerty, then proceeded to walk Crawford with two outs as the Mariners lineup flipped back over.

As the adage goes, “walks will haunt.” And the walk to Crawford did indeed haunt Hernandez when he served up a three-run home run to Haniger moments later.

That three-run blast from Haniger put the Mariners up 7-3 and would prove to be the final dagger in this one.

Devers homers, but team’s offensive struggles continue

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn, who pitched at Boston College from 2014-2016 before getting drafted by the Mets.

Rafael Devers greeted Dunn by crushing a 427-foot solo home run to lead off the second inning to give the Sox a 1-0 advantage. His sixth homer of the season left his bat at 108.2 mph.

In the fourth, Devers would again prove to be the catalyst for more offensive production, as he led things off with a single and would later come in to score on an RBI knock off the bat of Hunter Renfroe.

Enrique Hernandez tacked on his side’s third run of the night when he led off the bottom of the seventh with a hard-hit triple off the Green Monster and scored from third on a wild pitch from Mariners reliever Casey Sadler.

At the time, Seattle’s blunder put the Sox up 3-2, but the Boston bats were unable to do anything from that point forward and wound up recording nine consecutive outs from the eighth inning on.

All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position Thursday.

Next up: Kikuchi vs. Perez

Friday’s pitching matchup between the Mariners and Red Sox will feature a pair of foreign-born southpaws.

Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be getting the ball for Seattle, and he will be opposed by Venezuelan left-hander Martin Perez for Boston.

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

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo comes up with game-saving catch as Red Sox top Twins, 3-2, for eighth straight win in Game 1 of doubleheader

In the first game of a straight doubleheader at Target Field Wednesday afternoon, the Twins had Red Sox closer Matt Barnes on the ropes.

With a 3-2 lead to protect, Barnes had recorded the first two outs of the bottom half of the ninth, but only after putting the tying run on base in the form of a leadoff walk to Cave.

Cave stole second base to advance into scoring position, which brought Luis Arraez to the plate with the chance to knot things up at three runs a piece.

After falling behind in the count at 3-1, Barnes delivered an 86 mph curveball that Arraez — a right-handed hitter — slapped the other way.

Alex Verdugo, having moved from center to left field in place of Franchy Cordero an inning prior had just seconds to react to the screamer heading in his direction.

The young outfielder sprawled out to his right and wound up making a catch that was eerily similar to the one Andrew Benintendi made at Minute Maid Park in Game 4 of the 2018 ALCS.

Verdugo’s was still awe-inspiring snag secured a 3-2 victory for the Red Sox that extends their winning streak to eight consecutive games.

Arroyo, Renfroe stay hot at the plate

Facing off against a tough opponent in Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda, a three-run second inning is what gave the Sox the edge in this one.

Hunter Renfroe stayed hot and got his side in the board first by scoring Marwin Gonzalez from second on an RBI single.

After advancing to second on another single off the bat of Cordero, Renfroe came into score when upon fielding a softly-hit bunt from Kevin Plawecki, Maeda attempted to get the force out at third and instead air-mailed his throw well over Arraez’s head.

That blunder doubled Boston’s lead, and Christian Arroyo tacked on another run by plating Cordero on an RBI base-hit to left field. Arroyo also doubled in the top of the fourth.

Eovaldi improves to 2-1 on the season

The Red Sox continue to get consistency from their starting rotation, and Nathan Eovaldi provided that consistency in his third start of the season on Wednesday.

Over five solid frames of work, the veteran right-hander held the Twins to two runs on five hits, no walks, and one hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

Both runs Eovaldi gave up came in a rather laborious bottom half of the third, but the fireballer rebounded by retiring six of the final seven hitters he faced through the end of the fifth — with some defensive help mixed in there as well.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (60 strikes), the 31-year-old topped out at 99.1 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 34 times. His next start should come against the White Sox back at Fenway Park on Monday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the sixth. The 24-year-old needed all of seven pitches to retire the side in order before Barnes came on for the seventh.

Next up: Game 2

Next up, the Red Sox will wrap up this twin bill against the Twins later Wednesday evening.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will make his second start of the season for Boston, and he will be opposed by ace right-hander Jose Berrios for Minnesota.

First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for approximately 5:25 p.m. eastern time. Red Sox will be going for their ninth straight win.

(Picture of Matt Barnes and Alex Verdugo: David Berding/Getty Images)

Garrett Richards tosses 5 solid innings after rocky start; Rafael Devers homers again; Matt Andriese picks up save as Red Sox battle back to defeat Orioles, 6-4, in 10 innings for fifth straight win

An off-day on Friday could not halt the Red Sox’ momentum on Saturday, as the club battled back, won its fifth consecutive game, and won its second straight series with a 6-4 victory over the Orioles in 10 innings at Camden Yards.

Richards stumbles out of the gates, but turns in solid performance

After getting rocked for six runs over just two innings against the O’s in his Red Sox debut last Sunday, Garrett Richards did not get off to the best of starts in his second outing of the season on Saturday

Gifted a two-run lead before he even took the mound, the veteran right-hander served up a pair of solo homers to the very second and third hitters he faced in Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander.

At that point, it appeared as though Richards was in for a rather long — or short — evening. To his credit, though, he managed to turn things around for the better by retiring 14 of the next 18 hitters he faced in order to get through five innings.

Over those five solid frames, the 32-year-old hurler surrendered all of two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (47 strikes), Richards relied on his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing eight swings-and-misses while topping out at 95.6 mph with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision despite the decent performance, Richards’ next start should come against the Twins in Minnesota on Thursday.

Ottavino gives up late lead

In relief of Richards, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen. The left-hander danced his way around some trouble in a scoreless bottom half of the sixth and recorded the first out of the seventh before yielding a hard-hit double to the speedy Cedric Mullins.

That led to Hernandez getting the hook in favor of Adam Ottavino, who managed to escape the jam by getting two quick outs.

The eighth inning, however, was a different story for Adam Ottavino, as the veteran reliever saw his side’s 3-2 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit after surrendering two runs on three hits in the frame. Josh Taylor had to come on to get the final two outs.

Dalbec, Barnes send things to extras

After falling behind by a run in the eighth, the Sox did not waste any time getting back into things in the top half of the ninth.

One-out singles from Marwin Gonzalez and the pinch-hitting Franchy Cordero off O’s reliever Cesar Valdez put runners at the corners for a struggling Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec was unable to come through with a go-ahead hit or clutch sacrifice fly, but he was able to drive in the tying run from third by doing the next best thing: grounding into a force out at second and beating out a double play.

The fact that a hustling Dalbec beat Freddy Galvis’ throw and reached first base safely meant that Gonzalez scored from third, which tied things up at three runs a piece.

That resulted in Matt Barnes coming on for the bottom half of the ninth, and the flame-throwing right-hander continued his dominating, season-opening run by striking out a pair in yet another perfect inning of relief to send this one to extras.

Chavis, Vazquez, and Andriese seal the come-from-behind victory

Michael Chavis probably did not anticipate playing a key role for the Red Sox in their game against the Orioles when he woke up on Saturday morning, but with J.D. Martinez being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list (cold symptoms), the 25-year-old infielder was called into action from the team’s taxi squad.

Pinch-running in place of Kevin Plawecki and placed at second base to start things out in the 10th, Chavis advanced to third on a sacrifice fly then came into score on a wild pitch from Orioles righty Dillon Tate.

Walks drawn by Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts put runners at first and second for a red-hot Christian Vazquez, who proceeded to greet new Baltimore reliever Wade LeBlanc by ripping an RBI single to left field.

Vazquez’s fifth RBI put the Sox up by two at 6-4 going into the bottom of the 10th, which allowed Matt Andriese — yes, Matt Andriese — to pick up the first save of the season for any Boston reliever by tossing a scoreless inning.

Devers has rollercoaster of a game

Rafael Devers stayed hot on Saturday by mashing another home run as part of a 2-for-5 showing at the plate, but he did not necessarily get his night off on the right foot.

After plating Verdugo on an RBI single off O’s starter Bruce Zimmermann with two outs in the first, the 24-year-old wound up getting caught in a rundown between first and second with Gonzalez at the plate, though Bogaerts was able to score from third as a result of said rundown.

An inning and a half later, Devers had the opportunity to bail out Richards and record the final out of the second when Galvis struck out swinging and Rio Ruiz took off for second base.

On a nice and hard pickoff attempt from Plawecki behind the plate, Devers — playing in the shift — had the chance to tag out Ruiz at second for a strike ’em out-throw ’em out double play, but instead fielded the throw well in front of the bag and started jogging towards the visitor’s dugout.

The reason being, Devers thought there were already two outs in the inning and Galvis striking out marked the end of the frame.

That lapse in judgement did not come back to bite Devers or the Sox, but it was still a bit unusual to see nonetheless.

For as poorly as Devers may have played early on Saturday, he certainly made up for it in the later innings.

As previously mentioned, the left-handed slugger clubbed his second big fly of the season in the sixth to give his side a 3-2 lead.

He also made a clutch defensive play, when with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, Devers fielded a groundball off the bat of Mancini on one hop and got the out at first to preserve a 4-3 lead for his side.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Lopez

Next up, the Red Sox will look to enact their revenge on the Orioles by completing the three-game sweep over their division rivals on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be matched up against fellow righty Jorge Lopez for Baltimore.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.

(Picture of Red Sox: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox Relievers Combine To Toss 6 2/3 Scoreless Innings en Route To 5-3 Victory Over Nationals

The Red Sox bounced back from an ugly 10-2 loss on Friday and were carried by their bullpen en route to a 5-3 victory over the defending World Series champion Nationals on Saturday.

Chris Mazza made his second start and third overall appearance of the season for Boston in this one, as he was recalled from Pawtucket on Saturday in a roster move that saw Nathan Eovaldi placed on the injured list.

Working 2 1/3 innings while facing the Nationals for the first time in his career, the right-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Washington tallies came in the top half of the third, when after retiring six of the first nine hitters he faced, Mazza struggled to record a single out and instead allowed three runs to cross the plate on four hits and a walk before fanning Kurt Suzuki on five pitches, which actually marked the end of his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (46 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider and cutter a combined 70% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing 10 swings-and-misses with the two pitches. He also topped out at 94 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.

Hit with the no-decision due to the length of this outing, Mazza could be a candidate to get another start next time through the rotation, which would likely come against the Blue Jays late next week. We will have to wait and see on that.

In relief of Mazza, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was dispatched with runners on first and second and two outs to get in the top of the third, and he got those outs while dancing around a bases-loaded jam in between two swinging strikeouts.

From there, Phillips Valdez stranded two runners and punched out the side in a scoreless fourth inning, and he also put two more runners on and recorded two more outs in the fifth before Austin Brice came on and ended the frame with the help of Alex Verdugo’s seventh outfield assist of the season.

Brice got the call for the start of the sixth as well and kept the Nationals off the board while leaving another two base runners stranded.

Josh Osich, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes followed suit by combining to toss three shutout frames the rest of the way, with Barnes picking up his third save of the year courtesy of a seven-pitch groundout off the bat of Eric Thames to close out the ninth.

All in all, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke used six different relievers on Saturday — Hernandez, Valdez, Brice, Osich, Brasier, and Barnes — and the six combined to twirl 6 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen. Not too shabby.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran right-hander for the Nationals in Anibal Sanchez. This time around, though, the Boston bats had an easier time of getting runs on the board, and it started right from the jump in the bottom of the first.

There, an Alex Verdugo leadoff single and one-out double from J.D. Martinez put runners in scoring position for Xander Bogaerts, who took full advantage of that opportunity by swinging away at the first pitch he saw from Sanchez, an 89 mph four-seamer above the strike zone, and crushing a 440-foot three-run home run to left-center field.

Bogaerts’ seventh big fly of the season, which had an exit velocity of 106.3 mph off the bat, gave his side an early three-run advantage.

An inning later, the bottom of the lineup got it done this time, as Kevin Pillar led the second off with a hard-hit triple and came into score moments later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI groundout. 4-0.

Fast forward to the fourth, after the Nationals had stormed back to make things interesting at 4-3, Pillar struck once more, collecting his second extra-base hit of the night off an 0-1, 89 mph fastball from Sanchez at the top of the zone. It just so happens that this extra-base knock was hit 435 feet over the Monster and was good for Pillar’s fourth big fly of 2020.

That solo blast gave the Red Sox a two-run edge at 5-3, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game weekend series against the Nationals on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Zack Godley will get the starting nod for Boston, while fellow righty Austin Voth will do the same for Washington.

Under normal circumstances, Godley’s rotation spot may be in jeopardy here seeing how the 30-year-old owns an ERA of 11.17 over his last three starts going back to August 12. However, Godley may be safe regardless of how he performs on Sunday since the Red Sox do not have a great deal of starting pitching options at the moment.

In nine career outings (five starts) against the Nationals, the South Carolina native has posted a lifetime 5.53 ERA and .884 OPS against over 40 2/3 total innings pitched.

Voth, meanwhile, is coming off a start in which he surrendered six runs in less than four innings of work at home against the Marlins on August 24.

The 28-year-old has never faced the Red Sox before in his career, but he does own a lifetime 3.52 ERA in six prior interleague outings that span 30 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for the series win to close out the weekend.