Red Sox muster just 3 hits off Alek Manoah in 1-0 loss to Blue Jays

The Red Sox had an opportunity to salvage a series split against the Blue Jays but, much like their lineup, were unable to take advantage of it. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 1-0 at Rogers Centre to lose the four-game series and drop to 8-12 on the season.

Garrett Whitlock, making his second start and sixth overall appearance of the year for the Sox, was not as sharp as he was in his last time out but was still effective nonetheless. The right-hander allowed just one unearned run on four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over three innings of work.

The lone run the Jays scored off Whitlock came as a result of a Christian Arroyo fielding error in the bottom of the third inning. Lourdes Gurriel reached base on Arroyo’s miscue, advanced to second base on a walk drawn by Raimel Tapia, and scored from second on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Alejandro Kirk.

Kirk’s run-scoring base hit gave Toronto an early 1-0 lead and was the precursor to Whitlock’s day ending once he recorded the final out of the third. Of the 61 pitches the 25-year-old hurler threw on Thursday, 41 went for strikes. He threw 37 sinkers, 17 sliders, and seven changeups.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen in the middle of the fourth. The left-hander notched the first two outs of the frame and issued one walk before making way for John Schreiber, who ended things in the fourth while also working his way around a two-out double in an otherwise clean fifth inning.

Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes followed with a scoreless frame each in the sixth and seventh, while Hansel Robles sat down the side in order in the eighth.

To that point in the contest, a Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez-less Red Sox lineup had already squandered multiple scoring chances against Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah.

It took until the fifth inning for a Boston batter to get into scoring position when Arroyo reached base via a one-out single and immediately stole second. He was, however, stranded there after Bobby Dalbec and Travis Shaw both struck out swinging to extinguish the threat.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Enrique Hernandez led the inning off with his eighth double of the season. With Manoah seemingly on the ropes, Bradley Jr. advanced Hernandez to third on a softly-hit groundout, but neither Arroyo nor Dalbec could drive him in.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth with Jordan Romano on the mound for Toronto, Alex Verdugo grounded out to second, and Rafael Devers laced a 100.3 mph single back up the middle to put the tying run on base for Hernandez, who hit the ball hard himself but right into Gurriel’s glove in right field. Bradley Jr., on the other hand, struck out on four pitches to seal the 1-0 defeat for Boston.

All told, Red Sox hitters went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base as a team en route to losing three out of four to the Blue Jays north of the border.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will now conclude their lengthy road trip with a three-game weekend series in Baltimore that begins on Friday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston in the opener and will be piggybacked by Tanner Houck. The Orioles have yet to announce who will be starting for them opposite Hill.

Regardless, first pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alek Manoah: Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts leads the way with 4 hits as Red Sox snap skid with 7-1 win over Blue Jays

With Alex Cora back in the dugout, the Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak on Wednesday with a much-needed win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Boston defeated Toronto by a final score of 7-1 to snap their skid and improve to 8-11 on the season by doing so.

Matched up against Jays starter Ross Stripling to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox got right to work when Xander Bogaerts reached base via a two-out double in the top of the first inning. Rafael Devers followed with a sharply-hit double of his own that scored Bogaerts and made it a 1-0 game in favor of the visitors.

That sequence provided Michael Wacha with an early one-run cushion and he took advantage of it while making his fourth start of the year for the Sox. Over six quality innings of work, the veteran right-hander allowed just one run on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The lone run the Blue Jays got off Wacha came in the third inning following a pair of back-to-back leadoff singles from Tyler Heineman and George Springer. Bo Bichette advanced Heineman to third on a fielder’s choice and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove the catcher in on a fielder’s choice that was nearly an inning-ending double play.

Instead, Wacha gave up the tying run at the time. But the righty rebounded by getting through the rest of the third unscathed, stranding a runner in scoring position in the fourth, and retiring each of the final six batters he faced from the fifth through the end of the sixth to end his outing on a high note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), Wacha ultimately improved to 2-0 while lowering his ERA on the season to 1.77. The 30-year-old hurler threw 42 four-seam fastballs, 26 changeups, 11 curveballs, nine cutters, and four sinkers. He induced eight swings and misses with his changeup and averaged 93.6 mph with his heater.

Shortly before his night came to a close, the Red Sox put Wacha in position to earn the win by pushing across two more runs in their half of the sixth. Greeting new Blue Jays reliever Trent Thornton, Bogaerts led of with a single, moved up to third on a Bogaerts single, and scored on an RBI single off the bat of J.D. Martinez. Devers, meanwhile, scored on an Enrique Hernandez sacrifice fly that gave Boston a 3-1 lead.

In relief of Wacha, Jake Diekman got the first call from Cora for the bottom of the seventh and sandwiched a six-pitch walk of Santiago Espinal in between the first two outs of the inning. Hirokazu Sawamura then came on to face George Springer, who ripped a single to center field to put runners on the corners. To his credit, Sawamura escaped the jam by fanning Bichette on a 96.5 mph four-seamer.

Moments after that happened, Martinez led off the top of the eighth with a blistering 106.2 mph double off Julian Merryweather. Hernandez laced a 105.2 mph double of his own to plate Martinez. A well-executed sacrifice bunt from Jackie Bradley Jr. allowed Hernandez to move up to third and Bobby Dalbec brought him in on a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Red Sox up 5-1.

John Schreiber took over for Sawamura in the bottom half of the eighth and impressed in his 2022 debut by sitting down the side in order on 14 pitches.

The ninth inning was all about insurance for the Sox. Bogaerts drove in Trevor Story with his fourth hit of the night and Rob Refsnyder, who was pinch-hitting for Martinez, drove in Alex Verdugo on his first. That made it a 7-1 game going into the bottom of the ninth for Tyler Danish.

Danish, in turn, wrapped things up with a 1-2-3 frame to lock down the commanding, six-run victory.

Some notes from this win:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

Next up: Whitlock vs. Manoah in series finale

The Red Sox will go for a series split with the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon when they send right-hander Garrett Whitlock to the mound for his second career big-league start. Whitlock will be opposed by fellow second-year righty for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to start for Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against Blue Jays

Garrett Whitlock will start for the Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the team announced earlier Monday evening.

The Sox are without one of their starters for this four-game set in Toronto after placing Tanner Houck on the restricted list due to his unvaccinated status. Houck was in line to start on Thursday, but is not eligible to travel to Canada on account of the country’s rules for entry.

Because of this, a spot in Boston’s rotation opened up and it unsurprisingly goes to Whitlock, who will follow Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Michael Wacha by taking the mound on Thursday.

Whitlock was absolutely dominant in the first start of his big-league career against the Rays on Saturday. Working on three days rest, the right-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts across four scoreless innings at Tropicana Field. 33 of the 48 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Although the Red Sox have primarily used Whitlock as a reliever since acquiring him from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, it is quite apparent that the club views the 25-year-old hurler as a starter in the long-term.

The four-year, $18.75 million contract extension Whitlock signed with Boston earlier this month includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches in the future. It can also max out at $44.5 million over six years beginning in 2023.

Including Saturday’s start, Whitlock has posted a miniscule 0.66 ERA and 1.84 FIP with 18 strikeouts to two walks through his first five appearances (13 2/3 innings pitched) of the season. Last year, the righty made one appearance in Toronto on August 7 and struck out three over two scoreless frames of relief.

Considering that he will be pitching on a conventional four days rest come Thursday afternoon, it should be interesting to see how deep the Red Sox allow Whitlock to pitch into the game if he is as effective as he was over the weekend.

On the other side of things, Alek Manoah — who also made his major-league debut last season — is slated to oppose Whitlock and make his fourth start of 2022 for the Blue Jays.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox break up no-hitter in 10th inning, then get walked off on by Kevin Kiermaier in wild 3-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox delivered a late birthday present to Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on Saturday night. Kiermaier, who turned 32 on Friday, crushed a two-run walk-off home run off Hansel Robles in the 10th inning to lift Tampa Bay to a stunning 3-2 win over Boston at Tropicana Field.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 7-8 on the season. They have not won consecutive ballgames since April 16-17.

Garrett Whitlock, making his first start and fifth overall appearance of the year, absolutely dominated the Rays’ lineup. In what was his first career big-league start, the right-hander yielded just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over four scoreless, near-perfect innings of work.

After taking a perfect game into the fourth inning, Whitlock gave up a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe. He then stranded Lowe at second base by retiring the final three batters he faced in order. The 25-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 48 (33 strikes) and turned to his sinker 58% of the time he was on the mound.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable. The left-hander maneuvered his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean frame before making way for Kutter Crawford, who twirled three scoreless innings of his own while striking out five.

Tyler Danish walked the first batter he faced in the ninth to put the potential winning run on base, but left him there to send this 0-0 game into extra innings.

To that point in the contest, the Red Sox lineup had been no-hit by six different Rays pitchers in J.P. Feyereisen, Javy Guerra, Jeffrey Springs, Jason Adam, Ryan Thompson, and Andrew Kittredge. They reached base six times over that stretch via five walks and a fielding error, but were unable to do anything with those base runners.

In the top of the 10th, Matt Wisler took over for Kittredge and Jackie Bradley Jr. became the automatic runner at second base. On the third pitch he saw from Wisler, an 0-2 slider, Bobby Dalbec came through in the clutch by lacing an RBI triple down the right field line.

Dalbec’s 322-foot foot triple left his bat at 97.1 mph. It also provided the Sox with their first hit of the night and drove in Bradley Jr. to give them a late 1-0 lead. Dalbec then scored on a Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly to double that advantage to 2-0.

That sequence led to Venable going with Robles in the bottom half of the 10th. With Randy Arozarena at second base and the potential tying run at the plate, Robles fanned Ji-Man Choi and Josh Lowe for the first two outs of the inning.

A balk from Robles allowed Arozarena to advance to third. With the Rays down to their final out, Taylor Walls reached base on a throwing error committed by Trevor Story and Arozarena scored to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to one.

Robles then fell behind in the count against Kiermaier and served up the game-winning, two-run homer on a 96 mph four-seamer down the heart of the plate. Kiermaier deposited it 372 feet into the right field seats to send the Rays home with a come-from-behind victory.

Next up: Hill vs. McClanahan in rubber match

Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion, the Red Sox still have a chance to win this three-game series against the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston will turn to left-hander Rich Hill as he makes his return from the bereavement list in the series finale. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, will roll with fellow southpaw Shane McClanahan.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles and Kevin Kiermaier: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock dazzles in first career start for Red Sox

Garrett Whitlock was absolutely sensational in his first career major-league start for the Red Sox on Saturday night.

Working on three days rest and in front of his family against the Rays at Tropicana Field, the right-hander yielded just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over four scoreless innings.

After retiring each of the first nine batters he faced, Whitlock took a perfect game into the fourth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe. He then stranded Lowe at second base by sitting down the likes of Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and Ji-Man Choi in order to get through four shutout frames.

Of the 48 pitches Whitlock threw on Saturday, 33 went for strikes. The 25-year-old threw 28 sinkers, 12 changeups, and eight sliders. He induced a total of seven swings-and-misses while topping out at 97.8 mph with his sinking fastball.

The Red Sox elected to have Whitlock start on Saturday in order to fill in for Rich Hill, who had his start pushed back to Sunday after spending time away from the team while on the bereavement list.

Since his last outing came on April 19, Whitlock was stretched out to throw three to four innings and he certainly did his job in an efficient manner there by averaging 12 pitches per inning.

While Boston has mainly used Whitlock as a reliever since acquiring him from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, the club undoubtedly views the righty as a starting pitcher in the long-term.

When the Sox signed Whitlock to a four-year, $18.75 million contract extension earlier this month, they did so while including escalators based on the number of innings he pitches in the future.

As far as when Whitlock’s next start will come, that much remains unclear. The Red Sox could very well have the hard-throwing hurler start against the Blue Jays in Toronto next week, or perhaps they will move him back to the bullpen for the remainder of their three-city road trip.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to make first career start for Red Sox on Saturday

Garrett Whitlock will make his first career start for the Red Sox when they go up against the Rays on Saturday, acting manager Will Venable told reporters at Tropicana Field on Friday evening.

Rich Hill, who has been on the bereavement list since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, was originally slated to start Saturday’s contest. The Red Sox, however, opted to move Hill’s start to Sunday so that the left-hander could get an extra day of rest after being away from the team to attend his father’s services over the last few days.

With Hill’s spot in the rotation becoming vacant, Boston decided it would be best to have Whitlock fill in for the veteran southpaw on Saturday night.

Since coming over from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Whitlock has only been used by the Sox as a reliever. So far this season, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.93 ERA and 2.74 FIP to go along with 11 strikeouts to two walks across four appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.

On Saturday, the plan will be for Whitlock to throw three or four innings, as he will only be working on three days rest. Though it will be his first time doing it at the big-league level, starting games is nothing new for the 25-year-old, who made a total of 38 starts over three seasons (2017-2019) in the Yankees organization.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox view Whitlock as a starter in the long-term. They made that much clear when they signed the righty to a four-year extension earlier this month that includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Connor Wong comes through with game-winning sacrifice fly as Red Sox hold on for 2-1 victory over Blue Jays

Three hits was all the Red Sox needed to take care of business against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. In their first home game under the lights, Boston squeaked out a 2-1 victory over Toronto to improve to 6-5 on the year.

It was a grind for Nathan Eovaldi, who made his third start of the season for the Sox on Tuesday. The veteran right-hander allowed just one run on seven hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

The lone run Eovaldi surrendered once again came by way of the home run ball. To lead off the top of the second, the righty served up a solo shot to Zack Collins that gave the Jays an early 1-0 lead. That is already the fifth homer Eovaldi has surrendered in 2022.

The Red Sox, however, did not take long to respond. While still matched up against Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi, Enrique Hernandez reached base via a one-out double in the third and immediately came into score on a game-tying, RBI double off the bat of Trevor Story.

With things knotted up at one run apiece, Eovaldi maneuvered his way around a pair of hits in the fourth inning and retired two of the first three batters he faced in the fifth. With the potential go-ahead run at first and Collins due to hit for Toronto, Boston manager Alex Cora gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Matt Strahm.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (61 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound on Tuesday. The 32-year-old hurler hovered around 96.4 mph with the pitch while also inducing a game-high four swings-and-misses with his curveball.

In relief of Eovaldi, Strahm stranded the lone runner he inherited by punching out Collins on four pitches. The lefty then sat down the side in order in the sixth before making way for Hansel Robles, who did the very same in the top of the seventh.

Following a Blue Jays pitching change that saw Yimi Garcia take over for David Phelps, Bobby Dalbec — representing the go-ahead run led off the bottom of the seventh by reaching first and advancing to second on a Bo Bichette throwing error. Jackie Bradley Jr., who was pinch-hitting for Arroyo, advanced Dalbec another 90 feet by grounding out to short.

With a crucial run just 90 feet away from scoring, Connor Wong stepped up to the plate for a third time. One day removed from being called up from Triple-A Worcester for the first time this season, Wong came through when it mattered most by driving in Dalbec on a 298-foot sacrifice fly to right field.

Wong’s first RBI of 2022 — and just the second of his big-league career — gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-1. Robles then picked up where he left off by notching the first two outs of the eighth on a pair of strikeouts. Jake Diekman got the final out of the inning.

Looking to secure a hard-fought win, Cora deployed Garrett Whitlock for the ninth inning. Working on two days rest, Whitlock needed all of 12 pitches to retire Alejandro Kirk, Raimel Tapia, and Santiago Espinal in order to close things out and pick up the save. The right-hander came up gimpy after going into a slide to get Tapia at first base for the second out, but appears to be fine.

Some notes from this win:

From The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

The Red Sox won on Tuesday despite going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving five men on base as a team.

Four different Red Sox relievers (Strahm, Robles, Diekman, and Whitlock) combined to toss 4 1/3 scoreless, one-hit innings in Tuesday’s win. Here is what Cora had to say about using Whitlock in the ninth, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up: Berrios vs. Pivetta

The Red Sox will go for their second consecutive victory over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Nick Pivetta is expected to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Jose Berrios is in line to do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network. The Sox will also honor the late Jerry Remy in a pre-game ceremony.

(Picture of Connor Wong: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts both homer, Tanner Houck twirls 5 2/3 scoreless innings as Red Sox blank Twins, 4-0

The Red Sox used the power of the long ball to defeat the Twins at Fenway Park on Saturday evening. Wearing their marathon-inspired City Connect uniforms for the first time in 2022, Boston bested Minnesota by a final score of 4-0 to improve to 4-4 on the year.

Matched up against Twins starter Sonny Gray to begin things in the second of this four-game series, Alex Verdugo kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the second inning.

Moments after J.D. Martinez drew a leadoff walk, Verdugo swung at a 2-2, 92 mph sinker from Gray and deposited it 437 feet over the Sox’ bullpen and into the right field bleachers for his third home run of the season.

Verdugo’s two-run blast, which left his bat at a blistering 108.6 mph, gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. An inning later, with Josh Winder now pitching for Minnesota, Enrique Hernandez reached base via a one-out double down the left field line. After Rafael Devers grounded out to advance Hernandez to third base, Xander Bogaerts came through with a two-run shot of his own.

Coming into play Saturday in the midst of a 2-for-18 rut at the plate, Bogaerts broke out of his slump by unloading on an 0-1, 94 mph fastball from Winder and sent it exactly 400 feet over the Green Monster for his first big fly of 2022.

Bogaerts’ two-run homer put the Sox up, 4-0. While the Boston lineup was busy establishing that lead, Tanner Houck was putting together a solid outing on the mound.

Houck, making his second start of the season, kept Minnesota off the board while scattering just two hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 impressive innings of work.

The right-hander struggled with his command early on, but — with the help of some double plays — was able to settle into a groove and retire nine of the final 11 batters he faced. With two outs in the top half of the sixth, Houck issued a four-pitch walk to Luis Arraez, which is how his day came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (50 strikes), Houck relied on his four-seam fastball 34% of the time he was on the mound Saturday and averaged 94.5 mph with the pitch. The 25-year-old also earned his first winning decision of the season.

Matt Strahm got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora and stranded the lone runner he inherited by getting Jorge Polanco to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field. The lefty also recorded the first two outs of the seventh before yielding a hard-hit double to Trevor Larnach.

At that point, Cora opted to turn things over to Garrett Whitlock, as he did in Detroit this past Tuesday. This time around, Whitlock was once again efficient. The righty reliever ended the seventh by fanning Gio Urshela on three pitches, struck out the side while stranding two runners in the eighth, and worked his way around a two-out hit in the ninth to close out a 4-0 shutout victory.

Some notes from this win:

Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story went 1-for-3 on Saturday. His lone hit, a fourth-inning single, came off Josh Winder and had an exit velocity of over 103 mph.

The Red Sox recorded three double plays on Saturday: Tanner Houck struck out Carlos Correa for the second out of the first inning, then Christian Vazquez gunned down Jorge Polanco at second base for the third and final out. In the third inning, Ryan Jeffers grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. And in the fifth, Gio Urshela grounded into a 6-4-3 twin killing.

Garrett Whitlock working on three days rest on Saturday: 2 1/3 innings pitched, 2 hits, 0 runs, one walk, and five strikeouts on 30 pitches (23 strikes). He topped out at 97.3 mph with his four-seam fastball.

Next up: Ober vs. Wacha

The Red Sox will rock their City Connect uniforms once again and go for their second straight win over the Twins on Sunday afternoon. Michael Wacha will get the ball for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Bailey Ober for Minnesota.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

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

Red Sox offer first glimpse of how effective Rich Hill-Garrett Whitlock pairing can be

Towards the end of spring training, Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed that Rich Hill would begin the year as the team’s fifth starter.

As a result of that decision, Garrett Whitlock, who had been competing with Hill throughout camp for the final spot in Boston’s starting rotation, would remain in the bullpen as he did over the course of the 2021 season.

At the time he named Hill the No. 5 starter, Cora indicated that the Sox were going to have Whitlock stretched out and were planning on having the two hurlers paired together on days Hill started.

The main idea behind the two piggybacking off one another is that Hill, a left-hander, does not possess the same sort of overpowering velocity that Whitlock, a right-hander does.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox were able to put this plan into action against the Tigers at Comerica Park. Hill allowed three earned runs on five hits, one walk, and four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work. That is good for an ERA of 6.23, though his 1.95 FIP is much more indicative of how he actually pitched.

Of the 70 pitches Hill threw on Tuesday afternoon, 54 went for strikes. The 42-year-old southpaw’s slowest pitch (a curveball) registered at 66.2 mph while his fastest pitch (a four-seam fastball) registered at 89.8 mph, per Baseball Savant.

After Hill had already recorded the first out of the fifth inning, Cora turned to his bullpen and Hirokazu Sawamura, who stranded the lone runner he inherited to turn things over to Whitlock beginning in the sixth.

Whitlock entered a 3-3 game, fresh off signing a four-year contract extension with Boston over the weekend. Making his first relief appearance since last Friday, the hard-throwing righty was nearly perfect as he struck out two and retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced.

In the process of dominating the Tigers’ lineup, Whitlock was the benefactor of a late eighth-inning rally that lifted the Red Sox to a 5-3 victory on Tuesday. Picking up his first win of the year as a result, the 25-year-old needed just 39 pitches (28 strikes) to toss four scoreless, no-hit frames.

Of those 39 pitches, the slowest Whitlock threw (a slider) registered at 79.6 mph and the fastest (a sinking fastball) clocked in at 96.8 mph. Quite the difference from what Hill was offering earlier in the contest.

“There’s a reason we like them together,” Cora said. “They’re gonna load up with righties against Rich and he can get them out and then we can turn the page to Whitlock and we get a lot of good matchups for us. I think both of them complement each other well. (Hill throwing) 88 with ride, and then (Whitlock throwing) 94, 95 with that stuff. It’s a good plan. It’s just a matter of how long we can do it.”

The Red Sox’ plan to have Whitlock piggyback Hill will work better in the month of April while rosters are expanded. As highlighted by The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Boston is currently carrying 10 relievers on its 28-man roster.

With Whitlock available for multiple innings on days Hill pitches, the Red Sox will have nine other relievers to choose from on days when Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, or Tanner Houck are starting.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock and Kevin Plawecki: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rafael Devers comes through with go-ahead single, Garrett Whitlock dominates in relief as Red Sox battle back to defeat Tigers, 5-3

The Red Sox bounced back from a tough series-opening loss at Comerica Park on Monday by pulling off a come-from-behind victory over the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon.

Boston rallied back from a three-run deficit to defeat Detroit, 5-3, and improve to 2-3 on the young season.

Rich Hill, making his first start of the year for the Sox and first since 2015, allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

The veteran left-hander began his day by retiring the first seven batters he faced before things began to unravel a bit in the bottom half of the third. With one out in the frame, Hill gave up a flyball double to Spencer Torkelson that very easily could have been caught by Christian Arroyo in right field.

Torkelson, regarded by many as one of the top prospects in baseball, advanced to third base on a Dustin Garneau single and scored his side’s first run on an RBI groundout from Robbie Grossman.

Arroyo, making just his second career start in right field, was challenged once more when Jonathan Schoop lifted a softly-hit flyball that had an expected batting average of .070.

Rather than catch Schoop’s blooper, Arroyo took an awkward route and the ball landed a few feet in front of him, allowing Garneau to easily score from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Javier Baez, the hero of Monday’s game, proceeded to tack on an additional run on a blistering, 110.8 mph double to left field that plated Schoop all the way from first to give the Tigers an early 3-0 lead.

After eventually getting through the third, Hill rebounded by stranding Akil Baddoo at third base in a scoreless fourth inning. He then recorded the first out of the fifth before issuing a six-pitch walk to Grossman, which is how his outing would come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (54 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw relied primarily upon his four-seam fastball and curveball on Tuesday. He averaged 88.2 mph with his heater and induced a total of five swings-and-misses.

In relief of Hill, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he was tasked with facing Schoop. The righty got Schoop to fly out to Rafael Devers in foul territory. Devers then caught the Tigers sleeping, as he made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec to nab Grossman at first base and complete the inning-ending, 5-3 double play.

To that point in the contest, the Sox lineup had mustered just two hits off Tigers starter Tyler Alexander. Things started to change for the better in the sixth, though, as Kevin Plawecki led the inning off with a groundball single.

A sacrifice bunt from Jonathan Arauz moved Plawecki up to second base, and Enrique Hernandez drove the backup catcher in from second on his first hit of the season: a one-out RBI double down the right field line to cut Boston’s deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Rafael Devers followed suit by lacing a 99 mph single to right field that scored Hernandez from second to pull the Sox back to within one run of the Tigers.

Following a Detroit pitching change that saw Jacob Barnes take over for Alexander, J.D. Martinez stayed hot against his former team by ripping a game-tying double to the right field corner. The Tigers thought Martinez’s clutch hit may have landed in foul territory and challenged the call on the field.

Martinez’s RBI two-base hit was upheld, though, and the Red Sox and Tigers now found themselves deadlocked in a 3-3 stalemate.

After Garrett Whitlock came on for Sawamura and worked his way around a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh, the Boston bats struck once again in their half of the eighth.

Matched up against Tigers reliever Alex Lange, Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Devers then in Hernandez on a go-ahead single to center field. Arroyo tacked on an insurance run on an RBI single off Will Vest.

Now in possession of a 5-3 lead, Whitlock continued to dominate out of the ‘pen and shut down the Tigers to preserve the win. In his first outing since inking a four-year extension with the Sox on Sunday, the right-hander fanned two and issued just one walk over four scoreless, no-hit innings to earn his first winning decision of the year.

Some notes from this win:

Through five games this season, Rafael Devers is batting .381 (8-for-21) with two doubles, one home run, four RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and five strikeouts.

After going 0-for-19 to start the season, Enrique Hernandez went 2-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI, two runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout out of the leadoff spot on Tuesday.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Rodriguez

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Tigers in the rubber match of this three-game set on Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston and he will be opposed by an old friend in left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez for Detroit.

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

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)