The Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Blue Jays on Friday night. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 8-0 at Rogers Centre to drop to 75-82 on the season.
With Friday’s loss, their 14th in 17 attempts against the Jays, the Sox ensured that they would finish this season with a losing record. So this will be the first time Boston has finished with a sub-.500 record under manager Alex Cora.
Nick Pivetta’s season-long struggles against the American League East continued on Friday. In his penultimate start of the year, the Canadian-born right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts over five innings of work.
All four of those runs were scored within the first three innings. Pivetta gave up back-to-back singles to George Springer and Bo Bichette to lead off the bottom of the first. Springer then moved up to third base on a passed ball before scoring his side’s first run on an Alejandro Kirk groundout.
An inning later, Raimel Tapia reached on a fielder’s choice and Danny Jansen drew a six-pitch walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Pivetta then uncorked a wild pitch past Reese McGuire, allowing both runners to advance an additional 90 feet. Whit Merrifield took advantage of that blunder by plating Tapia on a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 contest.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled Toronto’s lead in the third. After Bichette drew a leadoff walk, Guerrero Jr. unloaded on a hanging changeup from Pivetta and deposited it 447 feet to left field for his 31st home run of the year.
Pivetta, for his part, was able to settle down from there by retiring nine of the last 12 batters he faced after giving up the 117.5 mph blast to Guerrero Jr. The 29-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 100 (62 strikes) and induced 15 swings-and-misses. He was charged with his 12th loss of the season while his ERA rose to 4.51. That includes an ERA of 6.72 against divisional opponents.
Tyler Danish received the first call out of the Boston bullpen in relief of Pivetta and did not fare well. The righty promptly served up a leadoff homer to Tapia to begin things in the sixth before putting two more on base and yielding a 431-foot three-run shot to Springer that gave Toronto a commanding 8-0 lead.
Danish got through the rest of the inning unscathed and also put up a zero in the seventh. Franklin German, on the other hand, surrendered one run on two hits in the eighth. The 25-year-old rookie now owns an ERA of 24.00 in four appearances to begin his big-league career.
Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was completely held in check by the likes of Alek Manoah and Yusei Kikuchi. The Blue Jays starter took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before giving up a one-out infield single to Abraham Almonte. Jarren Duran led off the sixth with a single of his own, but that was immediately snuffed out when Rafael Devers grounded into a 4-5-3 double play.
While Manoah was dominant, so, too, was Kikuchi. The hard-throwing reliever punched out five of the 11 batters he faced en route to tossing three scoreless innings and picking up his first major-league save.
All told, the Red Sox tallied just three hits while going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and leaving five runners on base as a team.
Next up: Bello vs. Stripling
The Red Sox will send rookie right-hander Brayan Bello to the mound as they look to bounce back on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays will counter with fellow righty Ross Stripling.
First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)