Red Sox release schedule for 2022 season

The Red Sox, in accordance with Major League Baseball, released their schedule for the 2022 regular season on Wednesday afternoon.

Similar to this year, the Sox will kick off the 2022 campaign with a six-game homestand against the Rays and Orioles at Fenway Park. Opening Day will take place on Thursday, March 31 with a built-in off day scheduled for that Friday in the event that the home opener is rained out.

Following that six-game homestand, Boston will hit the road for the first time for a six-game road trip that includes stops in the Bronx and Detroit. The Sox will partake in the Yankees’ home opener at Yankee Stadium, which takes place on Thursday, April 7.

After a planned off day on April 14, the Sox will head back to Fenway Park for a seven-game homestand that consists of four-game weekend series against Rocco Baldelli’s Minnesota Twins on Patriots’ Day weekend followed by a three-game set that will give the club their first look at the Toronto Blue Jays from April 19-21.

Boston will close out the month of April and begin the month of May on the road, as they will be facing off against three of their four American League East rivals in the Rays, Jays, Orioles nine times in a nine-day span (April 22-May 1).

A brief six-game homestand against the Angels and White Sox in early May will be followed by another road trip that consists of a two-game interleague series against the Braves in Atlanta as well as a three-game weekend set against the Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

The Sox will return home on May 16 for the start of a three-game series against the Astros that takes place before a four-game weekend series with the Mariners.

A quick flight to Chicago for a three-game set against the White Sox from May 24-26 sees the Red Sox return to Fenway Park for another six-game homestand that features a four-game series against the Orioles and a two-game interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds.

That takes us into June, and as soon as the Sox are done playing the Reds on June 1, they will board a flight to the West Coast for the start of their longest road trip of the season — a three-city, 10-game venture that includes stops in Oakland, Anaheim, and Seattle.

The Athletics will greet the Sox once they return from their lengthy road trip on June 14 for the start of a three-game series at Fenway Park. That will be followed by a three-game weekend set against the St. Louis Cardinals and three more against the Tigers.

From there, the club will head out for a Great Lakes-centered road trips for series against the newly-minted Cleveland Guardians (June 24-26), the Blue Jays (June 27-29), and the Cubs (July 1-3), which will mark the Red Sox’ first visit to Wrigley Field since 2012.

The Red Sox will then celebrate Independence Day back at Fenway Park as they open up a three-game series against the Rays that will be followed by a four-game weekend series against the Yankees to close out the unofficial first half of the season.

That takes us into the All-Star break, as MLB’s 92nd Midsummer Classic will take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 19.

When the Red Sox re-convene for the second half of the season, they will get to enjoy their longest homestand of the year against the Blue Jays, Guardians, and Milwaukee Brewers from July 22 through July 31.

The three-game weekend series against the Brewers should take us into the trade deadline, and it will be followed by a seven-game road trip with stops in Houston and Kansas City out of the gate in early August.

The remainder of August includes five games against the Braves and Yankees at Fenway Park, a two-city six-game road trip against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Orioles, six more games against the Jays and Rays back at Fenway, and a three-game set against the Twins at Target Field to close out the month.

September, meanwhile, begins with a four-game set with the Rangers at Fenway that will be proceeded by a six-game roadie featuring three against the Rays and three against the Orioles.

The Sox will welcome the Yankees into town for a final time in a brief two-game series from August 13-14, which will be followed by their penultimate home series of the year against the Royals.

Boston’s final mult-city road trip of the 2022 campaign will consist of six games in six days against the Reds at Great American Ballpark and the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

A three-game series against the Orioles at Fenway Park will mark the Red Sox’ final home series of 2022, while the club will close out the year with another three-game set against the Jays at Rogers Centre that begins on Friday, September 30 and ends on Sunday, October 2.

Per a team release, “game times for the 2022 season, as well as the 2022 Spring Training schedule, will be finalized and announced at a later date. All dates included in the attached schedule are subject to change.”

Assuming everything goes according to plan next year, though, the Red Sox are slated to play 162 games against 20 different clubs in a span of 186 days beginning on March 31 and ending on October 2.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game postponed due to severe weather conditions in the Fenway area

For the second straight week, a Tuesday night game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Last week’s game was postponed on account of thunderstorms in the Buffalo-area, while this week’s game was postponed because of severe weather conditions in the vicinity of Fenway Park.

Tuesday’s rained-out contest will be made up as part of a split, seven-inning doubleheader at Fenway Park on Wednesday, July 28, with the day cap scheduled to begin at 2:10 p.m. eastern time and the night cap taking place at approximately 7:10 p.m. eastern time.

The Red Sox won the first game of their four-game series against the Blue Jays by a final score of 5-4 on Monday night.

Right-hander Garrett Richards was slated to make his 20th start of the season for Boston on Tuesday, while left-hander Robbie Ray was in line to do the same for Toronto.

Instead, those two veteran hurlers will start the first game of Wednesday’s twin bill, with Sox righty Tanner Houck matching up against Jays lefty Steven Matz in the second game.

First pitch of the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader is once again scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez and Hunter Renfroe homer, Kiké Hernández makes jaw-dropping diving catch as Red Sox top Royals, 6-2, on rain-filled night at Fenway Park

It took more than five hours to complete on account of two lengthy rain delays, but the Red Sox were able to come away with a 6-2 win over the Royals on a stormy Wednesday night/early Thursday morning at Fenway Park.

With the victory, Boston reaches the halfway point of their season having improved to 50-31 on the year. They also extended their winning streak to six consecutive games while increasing their lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East to three full games.

Martin Perez made his 16th start of the season for the Sox on Wednesday (at 7:40 p.m. as opposed to 7:10 p.m. thanks to a 30-minute delay), facing off against Kansas City for the second time in as many weeks.

The left-hander stumbled out of the gate a bit by serving up a solo home run to Salvador Perez in the second inning, but then managed to settle in nicely from there.

Over 5 1/3 innings of work, Perez wound up surrendering just two runs — both of which were earned — on seven hits and zero walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

In the top of the fifth, Perez received some help from his center fielder, as Enrique Hernandez made a fantastic sprawling catch on a Hanser Alberto fly ball to both prevent the Royals from scoring and end the inning since it came with two outs.

The only other run Perez gave up came in the top half of the sixth, when he yielded an RBI groundout to Carlos Santana, and his outing came to a close shortly after that.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler was ultimately hit with the no-decision in this one, though he did lower his ERA on the year to 4.04. His next start should come against the Angels in Anaheim next Monday.

In relief of Perez, Brandon Workman came on and escaped the sixth by inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Hunter Dozier.

At that point, the skies opened up in the Fenway-area, the tarp came on the field, and another rain delay commenced, with this one lasting nearly two hours.

By the time the game resumed and a Red Sox pitcher took the mound again, it was nearly midnight. That long layoff did not seem to affect the Boston bullpen, though, as Darwinzon Hernandez tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, Josh Taylor extended his consecutive scoreless appearance streak to 24 games with a perfect eighth inning, and Matt Barnes shut the door on the Royals in the ninth to preserve a 6-2 win for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Royals left-hander Mike Minor, who they also saw last week in Kansas City.

Despite falling behind early on Wednesday, J.D. Martinez did not mess around in taking that lead back, as he belted a 420-foot three-run home run to deep center field off Minor to get his side on the board in the third inning.

Martinez’s 16th homer of the year had an exit velocity of more than 108 mph, and it also gave the Sox a 3-1 lead.

Fast forward to the fifth, and a leadoff single from Alex Verdugo proved to be the catalyst for another multi-run inning, with Xander Bogaerts plating him on an RBI base hit off the Green Monster and Hunter Renfroe driving in another run (Martinez) on a force out.

Renfroe’s productive night at the plate would not end there, however, as the right-handed hitting slugger came out of the in-game delay and cranked a 427-foot solo shot over everything in left field with one out in the eighth inning.

Capping off his month of June with a bang, Renfroe’s 12th big fly of the season (and fifth of the month) left his bat at 106.9 mph on a hanging slider from Royals reliever Anthony Swarzak.

The towering blast also gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead over the Royals, and that would go on to be Wednesday’s final score, though the final out was technically recorded on Thursday morning.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Next up: Bubic vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox will wrap up their four-game series against the Royals while simultaneously opening up the second half of their season (Game No. 82) on Thursday afternoon.

Left-hander Kris Bubic is slated to get the ball for Kansas City, while Nathan Eovaldi will be doing the same for Boston. Also expect Connor Wong to get the start behind the plate.

First pitch Thursday (weather permitting) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Final game of the homestand in which the Red Sox are a perfect 6-0.

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

Garrett Whitlock on 2021 Red Sox: ‘We’re here to win’

It’s fair to say that Garrett Whitlock has quickly immersed himself into the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

As a former Yankees prospect who came over to the Sox by way of the Rule 5 Draft over the winter, that was probably to be expected. Still, Whitlock has seemingly exceeded expectations while serving a key role out of the Boston bullpen in his rookie season, especially when going up against his former club.

Sunday afternoon’s outing at Fenway Park proved to be the latest instance of that, as the right-hander was dispatched in the seventh inning of a 6-2 game in favor of the Sox.

Inheriting a situation in which the Yankees had put runners at first and second while only recording one out, Whitlock walked the first man he faced in Gary Sanchez, which brought the tying run to the plate in the form of one of, if not New York’s most dangerous hitter: D.J. LeMahieu.

On just four pitches, Whitlock struck out LeMahieu, getting the two-time batting champ to go down looking on a 96 mph sinker on the outer half of the plate.

Having cleared one hurdle, the next challenge for the young reliever was to retire the vaunted Aaron Judge, who had already gone deep off Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez the inning prior.

This time needing three pitches, Whitlock got Judge to pop out to first baseman Danny Santana in foul territory, thus putting out the flames by leaving the bases loaded going into the bottom half of the seventh.

When asked about what his approach was while going up against a hitter who has the ability to drive one out of the ballpark at any moment such as Judge, Whitlock credited his catcher, Christian Vazquez, for the preparation that went into that anticipated matchup.

“I was trusting Vazqy,” he said. “During our meetings, we knew exactly how we were going to attack him. So I trusted Vazqy and we just stuck to the approach and got some executed pitches and, luckily, he got out.”

The pitch Whitlock got Judge to pop out on was a well-executed, 84 mph slider on the outer half of the plate that the Yankees slugger got under with no real force.

The slider is a pitch Whitlock has been implementing more and more into his repertoire — especially against right-handed hitters — as of late to complement his fastball and changeup as well as add another dimension to his effectiveness. It has proven to be a useful asset thus far.

“It’s something we needed to implement against righties,” said the Georgia native. “Because, as you all saw, once the quote-unquote book got out on me, they were just taking the fastball to the opposite field, and that would make them on-time for the changeup.

“So with the slider, it adds a third speed and a different direction that the ball moves,” he added. “So it’s just something that to try so that the hitters can’t just sit fastball the other way and be on time for changeups. Now we’re just trying to be able to have a three-pitch mix rather than just two.”

After the Red Sox added to their lead in the seventh, Whitlock came back out for the eighth, worked his way around a leadoff single by inducing an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Gio Urshela to face the minimum, and later earned his sixth hold of the season in what would go down as a 9-2 win for Boston.

On the 2021 campaign as a whole, Whitlock has been more than impressive, as the 25-year-old rookie now owns an ERA of 1.42 and batting average against of .234 over 22 relief appearances spanning 38 total innings of work.

Against the Yankees specifically, Whitlock has essentially been lights out. Sunday’s performance marked the righty’s third appearance of the year against the team he began his professional career with, and he has yet to give up a run to them while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings pitched in those appearances.

This weekend also marked the first time Whitlock had the opportunity to pitch against the Yankees at Fenway Park, as his only outing against them earlier this month had come in the Bronx.

While taking the mound at either venue has proven to be nothing out of the ordinary for Whitlock performance-wise, he certainly appreciates having the support of the home fans when working at Fenway as opposed to Yankee Stadium.

“I would say it was a lot more fun today because this time the crowd was behind me, rather than cheering on me to not do good,” Whitlock said when asked about the atmosphere the fans created on Sunday. “Got to love the Red Sox faithful. That’s for sure.”

With a 9-2 win over New York, Boston improved to 6-0 on the season against their archrivals, having swept them twice this month alone. From 2019-2020, the Sox went a combined 6-23 when going up against the Yankees.

“Any time we get a win against anybody, it’s great,” Whitlock said. “But obviously, with the history between the Red Sox and Yankees, you love to beat the Yankees any chance you get. To take six of them so far this year, hopefully we take a lot more than just six.”

For someone who is just three months into his major-league career with the Red Sox, Whitlock is certainly establishing himself as a driving force for why the team has been so successful this year.

After being given just a 39% chance to make the postseason by FanGraphs prior to Opening Day, the Sox are nearly halfway into their 2021 campaign and are currently in possession of first place in the American League East with a record of 47-31.

As is the case with Whitlock, this year’s Red Sox — led by Alex Cora — have unquestionably exceeded preseason expectations, but don’t tell that to anyone inside the Boston clubhouse.

“We’re here to win. This isn’t just another year for the Red Sox,” said Whitlock. “We’ve got a competitive team and we’re trying to go out there every single day. We believe we can win every single day.”

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández thrives in return to leadoff spot as Red Sox clobber Gerrit Cole, finish off sweep of Yankees with 9-2 win

Kiké Hernández was back in the leadoff spot the first time in nearly two weeks at Fenway Park on Sunday, and he did not waste any time in getting the Red Sox on the board.

Matched up against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, Hernandez greeted the right-hander in the first inning by depositing the first pitch he saw — a 96.3 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate — 379 feet over the Green Monster for his seventh home run of the season and his second of the leadoff variety.

A hard-hit double from Alex Verdugo followed by a seven-pitch walk drawn by J.D. Martinez kept the pressure on for Cole, and Rafael Devers took full advantage of that by crushing a 100 mph fastball down the heart of the plate 451 feet over everything in right field.

Devers’ 19th big fly of the year had an exit velocity of 113. 7 mph, and it gave the Red Sox an early 4-0 lead.

In the third inning, Cole fell victim to the long ball once more, this time with Martinez leading things off with his 15th homer of the season — a 421-foot blast to dead center that increased his side’s advantage to five runs.

Christian Vazquez added on to that with a sacrifice fly later in the frame that brought in Bogaerts from third, and the Sox were off to a 6-0 start against one of the best pitchers in the American League.

Given all that run support to work with, Eduardo Rodriguez was able to settle in and put together his second straight quality outing when going up against a divisional foe.

Making his 15th start of the season on Sunday, Rodriguez twirled six solid innings, allowing just two earned runs on five hits and zero walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the afternoon.

For the first time this year, the left-hander got through five innings without yielding a run, as the only two he gave up came on a two-run shot off the bat of Aaron Judge in the top half of the sixth.

After getting taken deep, however, Rodriguez rallied and retired the last three hitters he faced in order to end his day on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 96 (62 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler mixed in a healthy diet of fastballs, cutters, changeups, sinkers, and sliders en route to inducing 11 total swings-and-misses while topping out at 95 mph with his heater.

Ultimately improving to 6-4 on the season in addition to lowering his ERA to 5.83, Rodriguez’s next start should come against the Athletics in Oakland on Friday, the first day of July.

The Boston bats got one of the two runs Rodriguez gave up back in the seventh, with Devers collecting his fourth RBI on a hard-hit single that plated Devers. They tacked on two more on a Vazquez solo homer and Hernandez RBI double an inning later.

The Red Sox bullpen, meanwhile, preserved Rodriguez’s valiant effort. Darwinzon Hernandez ran into some trouble in the seventh, but Garrett Whitlock was able to bail him out by escaping a bases loaded-jam before tossing a scoreless eighth inning as well.

Yacksel Rios got the call in the ninth, and he saw the Red Sox’ 9-2 victory through to its completion by recording the final three outs of the ballgame.

With the win, the Sox finish off their second three-game sweep of the Yankees this month. Boston is now a perfect 6-0 against New York this season.

Having extended their winning streak to three consecutive games, the Red Sox improved to 47-31 (23-17 at home) on the season while moving a half-game ahead of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up, the Sox will welcome the Kansas City Royals into town for a four-game set that begins at Fenway Park on Monday night.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will be getting the ball for Boston in the series opener, while left-hander Danny Duffy will be doing the same for Kansas City.

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

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

New Podding the Red Sox episode: The Providence Jorunal’s Bill Koch joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Bill Koch, who covers the Red Sox for The Providence Journal.

Among the topics Bill and I discussed were how his New England roots shaped his interest in sports journalism, what led him to covering the Red Sox for The Providence Journal, how he goes about writing and tweeting about the Red Sox, his thoughts on Boston’s season thus far, what Alex Cora will have to deal with in the Bronx this weekend, his prediction for what Chaim Bloom will do before next month’s trade deadline, when Jarren Duran could be making his major-league debut, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thank you to Bill for taking some time out of his busy in-season schedule to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Bill on Twitter (@BillKoch25) by clicking here. You can check out his work for the Providence Journal by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

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

Sunday’s Red Sox-Marlins series finale postponed due to inclement weather

The Red Sox’ series finale against the Marlins at Fenway Park on Sunday has been postponed due to inclement weather, the team announced Sunday afternoon

The game was originally supposed to start at 1:10 p.m. eastern time, but first pitch was delayed at approximately 12:49 p.m. on account of rainy conditions in the Fenway-area.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., the game was called, meaning the Sox and Marlins will need to make up the finale of this three-game set at a later date.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Sunday’s game between Miami and Boston will be made up on Monday June 7, with first pitch scheduled for 5:10 p.m. eastern time.

With Sunday’s contest getting postponed, the Red Sox will board a flight to Houston for the start of a two-city, seven-game road trip that begins on Monday afternoon.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who was slated to pitch against Miami on Sunday, will now get the start in the first of four against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Memorial Day. He will be followed by right-handers Garrett Richards and Nick Pivetta and fellow southpaw Martin Perez.

On what was a rather miserable weekend in Boston in regards to the weather, the Red Sox were able to take the first two games of their series with the Marlins to improve to 32-20 on the season.

They currently sit a half game back of the Tampa Bay Rays (33-20) for first place in the American League East as they prepare to embark upon one of their toughest stretches of the year in which they will be playing the Astros and Yankees 10 times in the next 11 days.

Instead of an off day next Monday, though, the Sox will now be playing the Marlins to make up for Sunday’s rainout.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Omar Rawlings/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 comes through with clutch, go-ahead 3-run home run as Red Sox top Marlins, 5-2, in rain-shortened contest at Fenway Park

Rainy conditions in Boston could not stop the Red Sox from opening their weekend series against the Marlins with a 5-2 victory in 5 1/2 innings at Fenway Park on Friday night.

With the win, Boston improves to 31-20 (15-13 at home) on the season and moves to a half-game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Perez provides five solid innings

Martin Perez made his 10th start of the season for the Sox on Friday, marking his second straight outing of the interleague variety.

Over five innings of work, the veteran left-hander yielded just two earned runs — both of which were earned — on five hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts on the evening.

Both Miami runs Perez surrendered came via the home run ball, as the southpaw gave up a leadoff single to Corey Dickerson to begin things in the top of the second before serving up a 381-foot two-run home run to Jorge Alfaro moments later.

That miscue put the Sox in an early 2-0 hole, but Perez was able to rebound and wound up settling in nicely. That being the case because after giving up the homer to Alfaro, he retired 11 of the final 13 hitters he faced to prevent the Marlins from scoring anything else going into the middle of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (51 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his sinker a game-high 41% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing just one swing-and-miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 93 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw a total of nine times.

Able to improve to 3-2 on the season while maintaining a 3.55 ERA because of his efforts, Perez’s next start should come against the Astros in Houston next Wednesday.

Martinez pulls Sox even in third inning

After falling behind by a pair of runs early on, the bottom of the Red Sox lineup got things started in their half of the third inning.

Matched up against Marlins rookie starter Cody Poteet, a one-out double from Hunter Renfroe put a runner in scoring position as the order flipped back over and Enrique Hernandez drew a five-pitch walk.

An Alex Verdugo flyout put Poteet just one out away from getting out of the jam, but J.D. Martinez had other ideas.

On the fourth pitch he saw in his second at-bat of the night, the Sox slugger laced a 108 mph two-run double to dead center field to drive in both Renfroe and Hernandez and knot things up at two runs apiece.

Verdugo seals it with clutch homer

Fast forward to the fifth inning, and the bottom of the Boston lineup struck again, this time with Marwin Gonzalez drawing a leadoff walk and Hunter Renfroe advancing him up to third on his second double of the night.

With the go-ahead run just 90 feet away and the rate at which the rain was falling from the sky picking up, Alex Verdugo made up for his previous out by all but putting this game away.

On one swing of the bat, Verdugo absolutely crushed a hanging curveball from Poteet and sent it 408 feet over everything in right field with an exit velocity of 108.7 mph.

That three-run blast, Verdugo’s seventh big fly of the season, gave the Red Sox their first lead of the evening at 5-2.

Ottavino closes it out

Because of the worsening conditions in the Fenway-area, the Red Sox were essentially playing this game like it was a six- or seven-inning contest instead of a nine-inning one, and manager Alex Cora’s tactics reflected that.

As the sixth inning was about to begin, Cora deployed right-hander Adam Ottavino, who is usually reserved for the later innings, to face the Marlins’ 2, 3, and 4 hitters.

Ottavino recorded the first two outs of the frame relatively easily, but as the rain continued to pick up, it became clear that the veteran reliever was losing his grip on his breaking pitches.

Three straight walks came as a result of Ottavino’s struggles, meaning Miami was on the verge of tying things up or even re-taking the lead.

While attempts to dry off the baseballs with a towel initially seemed futile, they proved to be effective in the end as Ottavino fanned the last man he faced — Springfield High School product Isan Diaz — on three straight sliders to retire the side.

Rain delay leads to rain-shortened contest

Moments after the final out of the top of the sixth inning was recorded, the Fenway Park grounds crew rolled the tarp out onto the field and a rain delay began at approximately 9:19 p.m. eastern time.

At approximately 10:46 p.m. eastern time, this game was called after an 87-minute standstill. So the Red Sox are credited with the 5-2 win as Adam Ottavino winds up picking up his second save of the year.

Next up: Rogers vs. Eovaldi

Saturday afternoon’s pitching matchup between the Marlins and the Red Sox will feature left-hander Trevor Rogers (6-2, 1.75 ERA) getting the ball for Miami and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (5-2, 4.39 ERA) getting the ball for Boston.

Fenway Park will be back at full capacity on Saturday for the first time since September 2019.

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

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Marwin Gonzalez: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

Pivetta strikes out nine over six innings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Renfroe homers to get scoring started for Sox

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

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

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

Devers’ big fly to dead center ties it

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

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

Four-run rally in sixth proves to be pivotal

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

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

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

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

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

Inclement weather results in long delay

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

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

Red Sox bullpen closes it out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)