Hansel Robles blows save as Red Sox lose late lead and fall to White Sox, 3-1, in 10 innings to drop to 10-18 on season

The Red Sox lost their sixth consecutive series on Saturday following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the White Sox in 10 innings at Fenway Park. By dropping their third straight game, Boston has fallen to 10-18 on the season as they remain in the basement of the American League East.

Nick Pivetta impressed for the Sox in his sixth start of the year. The right-hander kept the White Sox off the scoreboard while scattering five hits, no walks, and one hit batsman to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts over six innings of work.

After giving up a leadoff single to Tim Anderson to begin his day in the first, Pivetta stranded the dangerous shortstop on three separate occasions. He got through the first inning unscathed, retired the side in order in the second, left two runners on — including Anderson — in the third and fifth innings, then sat down three of the final four batters he faced in the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (62 strikes), Pivetta turned to his four-seam fastball 58% of the time he was on the mound Saturday and induced seven swings-and-misses with the pitch while topping out at 94.3 mph with it. The 29-year-old hurler also lowered his ERA on the season to 6.08.

Shortly before his night ended, the Red Sox put Pivetta in a position to pick up the win by finally getting to White Sox starter Dylan Cease in their half of the fifth. Franchy Cordero reached base via a one-out single, advanced to second base on a Trevor Story walk, and scored from second on an RBI double off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Story moved up to third on the play, but could not score from there as Xander Bogaerts grounded out and J.D. Martinez struck out to kill any shot of an extended rally.

In relief of Pivetta, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the seventh inning and worked his way around a two-out single and stolen base from Leury Garcia. John Schreiber recorded the first two outs of the eighth before allowing two straight White Sox to reach base on a single and fielding error committed by Story. Matt Strahm came on and got the final out of the inning.

Protecting a one-run lead heading into the ninth, Hansel Robles was called upon for the save. Instead of closing things out, though, Robles issued a leadoff walk to Jake Burger that was immediately followed by a line-drive double from Adam Engel. Garcia knocked in the tying run on a sacrifice fly as Robles was charged with his second blown save of the season.

Now trying to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez created some one-out magic with a single and double that put the potential winning run at third base. Bobby Dalbec failed to come through as he fanned on four pitches. Story then swung at the first pitch he saw from Reynaldo Lopez and popped out to shallow right field to leave Bradley Jr. where he was standing.

With this one headed into extras, Matt Barnes was responsible for the top of the 10th with the automatic runner (A.J. Pollock) already at second base. Barnes was promptly greeted by Jose Abreu, who drove in Pollock by drilling a 107.7 mph RBI double to center field. Luis Robert followed with a hard-hit single of his own that plated Abreu and made it a 3-1 game in favor of the White Sox. Barnes through the rest of the 10th, but the damage had already been done.

Down to their final three outs and matched up against White Sox closer Liam Hendriks yet again, Devers, Bogaerts, and Martinez all grounded out to seal a 3-1 defeat for the Red Sox.

Frustrations boiling over

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected for the first time this season in the third inning of Saturday’s loss. He was thrown out by home plate umpire Carlos Torres for arguing a called strike three against Story.

The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left 10 runners on base as a team. On the other side of things, the Boston bullpen staff blew their ninth save in 14 opportunities so far this season.

All told, the Red Sox are now 0-6 in extra-inning games this season.

Next up: Keuchel vs. Wacha

The Red Sox will look to avoid the three-game sweep against the White Sox on Sunday morning. Boston will roll with right-hander Michael Wacha in the finale while Chicago will turn to left-hander Dallas Keuchel.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Sunday is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. eastern time on NBC and Peacock.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo homers, Rich Hill takes perfect game into fifth inning as Red Sox hold on for 3-1 win over Orioles

The Red Sox kicked off the final leg of their road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night. With the win, Boston improved to 9-12 on the season.

Matched up against Kyle Bradish, who was making the first start of his big-league career for the O’s, to begin things on Friday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the second inning.

Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the second with a single to shallow center field. After Franchy Cordero flew out, Christian Arroyo followed by clubbing a 408-foot two-run homer into Baltimore’s bullpen.

Arroyo’s first home run of the season gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. It was also the first home run hit by a Red Sox batter since Rafael Devers went deep off Corey Kluber in St. Petersburg last Friday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. kept the rally going by reaching base on an infield single. He then scored all the way from first when Christian Vazquez ripped a single to right field that got past Trey Mancini and rolled all the way to the wall. Vazquez was easily thrown out at third, but the damage had already been done.

Rich Hill, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, took full advantage of the three-run cushion he was given. The veteran left-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with four strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.

After retiring each of the first 12 batters he faced, Hill took a perfect game bid into the fifth inning but yielded a leadoff single to Austin Hays, which is how his night would come to an end. Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (35 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 24 curveballs, 20 four-seamers, four sliders, and two changeups while lowering his ERA on the season to 3.71.

In relief of Hill, Tanner Houck got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen. Houck, fresh off being activated from the injured list, stranded the lone base runner he inherited in the fifth despite allowing one hit and one walk in the inning. The right-hander sat down the side in order in the sixth but ran into additional trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with two outs.

Houck did not falter, though, as he punched out the pinch-hitting Rougned on three straight strikes to escape the jam and hand things over to Jake Diekman in the eighth. Diekman, in turn, needed 17 pitches to toss a scoreless frame.

Hansel Robles was dispatched for the ninth and immediately served up a solo home run to Ryan Mountcastle that was followed by a line-drive single off the bat of Hays.

With the tying run at the plate, Robles issued a balk that allowed Hays to advance to second. He then got Ramon Urias to fly out and Tyler Nevin to line out to right for the first two outs.

Cora went back into the bullpen and gave Robles the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who walked Anthony Santander on five pitches to put the tying run on base with runners at first and second. The lefty, however, did not give in as he fanned the pinch-hitting Chris Owings to slam the door on Baltimore and earn the first save of his major-league career.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Watkins

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Orioles by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Saturday night. Fellow righty Spenser Watkins will get the ball for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/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)

Trevor Story makes game-saving play as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox kicked off one of their longest road trips of the season with a series-opening win over the Rays in St. Petersburg on Friday night. Boston barely defeated Tampa Bay by a final score 4-3 at Tropicana Field to improve to 7-7.

Matched up against a familiar foe in Corey Kluber to begin things, the Sox wasted no time in attacking the Rays starter. A pair of first-inning singles from leadoff man Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts put runners at the corners for Alex Verdugo, who drove in Story on an RBI single back up the middle. Bogaerts himself scored on an RBI groundout from Jackie Bradley Jr.

Given an early 2-0 lead to work with out of the gate, Michael Wacha was rudely greeted to begin his third start of the season. With one out in the bottom of the first, the right-hander served up his first of two solo shots to Rays phenom Wander Franco. This one left Franco’s bat at 109.7 mph and traveled 389 feet into the right field seats to make it a 2-1 game.

The Sox were able to respond, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers led off the third inning with his third home run of the season. On a 1-0, 84 mph cutter from Kluber, Devers clubbed a 380-foot solo shot down the right field line to give his side a 3-1 edge. Bogaerts tacked on another by lacing a 107 mph double and scoring on a one-out RBI single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Travis Shaw nearly extended the inning with a three-run home run down the right field line like Devers’, but it was instead deemed a foul ball and Shaw struck out.

With a three-run cushion to operate with now, Wacha received some help from his infield in the bottom of the third. After putting runners on first and second with two outs, Bogaerts robbed Yandy Diaz of an extra-base hit by snatching a 110.7 mph line drive in mid-air to extinguish the threat.

An inning later, Story made a sprawling grab up the middle to rob Manuel Margot of a one-out single. Wacha continued to roll on through the fourth and was one out way from getting through a scoreless fifth. Franco prevented that from happening, though, as he took the righty deep once more to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to two. Randy Arozarena struck out to end the fifth, which would wind up being Wacha’s final inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (50 strikes), Wacha surrendered just two runs on three hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts in his five innings. The 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball and changeup a combined 69% of the time he was on the mound Friday.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen in the sixth inning. With some help from Verdugo, who recorded his second outfield assist of the year by gunning down Yandy Diaz at second base, the left-hander faced the minimum on 17 pitches — 10 of which went for strikes. Fellow southpaw Matt Strahm was next up for the eighth and immediately gave up a leadoff single to Margot.

Kevin Kiermaier effectively traded places with Margot while grounding into the first out of the inning. Kiermaier then went from first to third on a Mike Zunino single that was accompanied by a Bogaerts throwing error and scored from third on a Brandon Lowe groundout.

With two outs in the seventh inning of a 4-3 game, Venable went back to the bullpen and brought in Hansel Robles to face off against Franco. Forcing the switch-hitter to hit from the left side of the plate, Robles got Franco to fly out to Verdugo in left to strand the potential tying run at second base.

Robles’ job was not yet done, however, as the hard-throwing right-hander came back out for the eighth. He struck out one and induced a pair of groundouts to send things along to the ninth inning.

Jake Diekman was unable to lock things down in the ninth. The left-hander instead walked the bases loaded while recording the first two outs of the frame to leave things in the hands of Matt Barnes.

Branes was brought in to face Franco and had nowhere to put him. Looking to reclaim his role as Boston’s closer, Barnes got Franco to ground out to Story, though it was no easy play.

After sliding to his left to field the 101 mph grounder, Story quickly got back to his feet and made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec at first base to record the final out. Barnes was credited with his first save of the year as he closes out the 4-3 victory.

Next up: Whitlock set to make first career start

As the Red Sox go for their second straight win over the Rays on Saturday, right-hander Garrett Whitlock will be making his first career big-league start for Boston. Tampa Bay has yet to announce who will be starting for them.

Regardless, first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez and Trevor Story: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Red Sox close out road trip by holding on to defeat Tigers, 9-7

The Red Sox improved to 3-3 on the young season with a series-clinching 9-7 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Battling rainy conditions, Nathan Eovaldi made his second start of the year for Boston. The veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered on Wednesday came by way of the home run ball, as Jonathan Schoop got the scoring started with a two-out solo shot in the bottom of the first.

Two innings later, the Sox lineup responded. After going down quietly the first time through the order, Enrique Hernandez took old friend Eduardo Rodriguez deep on a solo homer of his own in the top half of the third to tie things back up at 1-1.

Rodriguez, making his first start against his former team after signing a five-year deal with the Tigers over the winter, ran into more trouble in the fourth. Following a leadoff walk from J.D. Martinez and groundball single from Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo advanced both runners into scoring position on a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Alex Verdugo plated Martinez on a sacrifice fly to left field.

With two outs in the frame, Christian Vazquez grounded into what should have been the final out of the inning. Instead, Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario committed a throwing error that allowed Vazquez to reach base safely and keep the inning going.

The Boston bats took full advantage of that Detroit miscue, as Jackie Bradley Jr., Hernandez, and Rafael Devers drove in a total of four runs on back-to-back-to-back hard-hit doubles, which ultimately knocked Rodriguez out of the game. Following a Tigers pitching change, Trevor Story came through with his first RBI in a Red Sox uniform as he plated Devers on a single to cap off a six-run inning.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, worked his way around a one-out single in the fourth before yielding another solo blast to Akil Baddoo in the fifth that cut the Sox’ lead down to five runs at 7-2. He then punched out the final two batters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (72 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday and averaged 96 mph with the pitch. He also induced five swings-and-misses with his curveball, a pitch he threw 24 times.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the sixth inning. The righty needed just 14 pitches to retire the side in order and he did so while hovering around 93-95 mph with his heater.

After Vazquez and Bradley Jr. provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance on a sacrifice fly and RBI single, the Tigers began to mount a rally in their half of the seventh.

With Austin Davis in the game for Boston, Harold Castro led off with a single that was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Spencer Torkelson. The first home run of Torkelson’s career cut Detroit’s deficit down to five runs at 9-4.

Davis and Kutter Crawford were able to get through the rest of the seventh unscathed, but Crawford encountered some difficulties in the eighth as he issued an RBI single to Eric Haase before loading the bases with no outs.

Jake Diekman was then called upon to take over for Crawford and recorded the first two outs of the inning. But the lefty gave up a two-out, run-scoring single to Victor Reyes before plunking Austin Meadows with the bases loaded as the Tigers made things even more interesting at 9-7.

Hansel Robles was next to get the call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and he proceeded to get Schoop to pop out to Story for the final out before coming back out for the ninth and tossing a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save.

Some notes from this win:

Nathan Eovaldi has given up four home runs through his first two starts of the season. It took until June 26 to reach that point last season.

After dealing with food poisoning the last few days, Trevor Story went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Tuesday.

Enrique Hernandez began his season 0-for-17 at the plate. Over the last two days, he has gone 4-for-9 with three doubles, one homer, three RBIs, four runs scored, and two walks.

Next up: Home opener at Fenway

The Red Sox are off Thursday and head back to Boston having won three of their last four games. They will open up a four-game series against the Twins at Fenway Park to kick off Patriots’ Day weekend festivities on Friday, which is also Jackie Robinson Day.

For Friday’s home opener, it will be right-hander Nick Pivetta getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Joe Ryan doing the same for Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Tanner Houck fans 7 in final start of spring as Red Sox are shut out by Twins in 2-0 defeat

The Red Sox fell to 10-8 in Grapefruit League play on Monday afternoon following a 2-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Tanner Houck made his fourth and final start of the spring for the Sox and was solid, allowing only two earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts over six innings of work.

Both runs Houck surrendered on Monday came by way of the home run ball. The right-hander served up a solo shot to Miguel Sano with one out in the fourth before doing the very same to Max Kepler to lead off the sixth.

After Kepler went deep, Houck was able to retire three of the final four batters he faced. The 25-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 82 (55 strikes), induced nine total swings-and-misses, and hovered around 94.7 mph with his four-seam fastball.

In relief of Houck, Hansel Robles received the first call out of the Boston bullpen to begin things in the seventh inning. Making his 2022 debut after signing a minor-league deal with the Sox last month, Robles maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk and one-out single by recording back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side. He threw 23 pitches (14 strikes) and averaged 95.3 mph with his heater.

From there, Jake Diekman recorded the first two outs of the eighth before Hirokazu Sawamura came on to end the inning.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox lineup that featured the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Enrique Hernandez, J.D. Martinez, Trevor Story, Bobby Dalbec, Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Arroyo, and Kevin Plawecki was held in check by four different Twins pitchers.

It took until the fourth inning for Boston to record their first hit on a leadoff double off the bat of Bogaerts, but he was stranded at third after Minnesota starter Bailey Ober got Martinez to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The only other two hits the Sox had were singles from Bobby Dalbec and Yolmer Sanchez, though nothing came of either as Boston went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and left just two runners on base as a team on Monday.

Next up: Chairman’s Cup finale

The Red Sox wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule by taking on the Twins once again back at JetBlue park on Tuesday afternoon. With the head-to-head series now tied at three games apiece, Tuesday’s contest will determine the winner of the 2022 Chairman’s Cup.

Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston and fellow right-hander Josh Winder is in line to do the same for Minnesota. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Hansel Robles set to join Red Sox on Thursday; veteran reliever could make Boston’s Opening Day roster, Alex Cora says

Nearly two weeks after signing a minor-league deal to return to the Red Sox, Hansel Robles could finally be joining the team in Fort Myers as soon as Thursday night.

Robles, 31, inked a minors pact with Boston that included an invite to major-league spring training on March 19. Due to visa issues, however, the right-handed reliever has yet to report to camp and has instead been stuck in the Dominican Republic.

When speaking with reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) at JetBlue Park on Wednesday, Sox manager Alex Cora indicated that Robles could make the club’s Opening Day roster by saying he “wouldn’t assume anything.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Robles from the Twins in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Scherff before last year’s trade deadline. After a shaky start, the Dominican-born righty settled in and became one of Cora’s most trusted options out of the bullpen.

From the time he made his Red Sox debut on August 1 through the end of the regular season, Robles led the team in relief appearances (27) while posting a 3.60 ERA and 3.37 FIP to go along with 33 strikeouts to 13 walks over 25 innings of work. He also produced a 5.06 ERA (6.73 FIP) in the postseason, though four of his six outings were scoreless.

Since he gained Cora’s trust so quickly last year, it would be interesting to see if Robles could earn a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster. If Robles does indeed arrive at the Fenway South complex on Thursday night, he would have less than a full week to prepare for the Sox’ season opener against the Yankees in the Bronx on April 7.

That being said, Cora seems to be confident in Robles’ abilities. On top of that, the Red Sox — as noted by Browne — are lacking in right-handed bullpen depth as things stand now.

“We’ll see where he’s at,” Cora said of Robles. “One thing about him, he’s a workaholic. He gets here hopefully Thursday, and maybe you’ll see him [throw live] on Saturday. He’ll let us know where he’s at physically and stuff-wise.”

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox bring back Hansel Robles on minor-league deal

The Red Sox are bringing back reliever Hansel Robles on a minor-league deal for the 2022 season that includes an invite to major-league spring training, as was first reported by Univision’s Mike Rodriguez. According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Robles will earn $2.5 million if he is added to the major-league roster.

Robles, 31, was first acquired by the Sox from the Twins last July in a deal that sent pitching prospect Alex Scherff to Minnesota. The veteran right-hander made his team debut on August 1 and, after a shaky start, proved to be one of Alex Cora’s most reliable bullpen arms.

In 27 relief appearances for Boston, Robles posted a 3.60 ERA and 3.37 FIP to go along with 33 strikeouts to 13 walks over 25 innings of work. In the postseason, four of his six outings were scoreless.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Robles remains on his home island as he is currently dealing with visa issued. The Red Sox are hopeful he can join the team in Fort Myers within the next few days.

“We’ve got the agreement. He’s still in the Dominican,” Cora said Saturday. “They’re going through that whole process. Hopefully, we can speed it up and he can be here sooner rather than later.”

Update: The deal is now official, per the team’s transaction log.

Robles, who turns 32 in August becomes the latest reliever the Red Sox have added in some capacity in the past week. Boston signed left-handed relievers Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm to major-league deals last weekend and have since signed fellow southpaw Derek Holland to a minors pact.

All told, the addition of Robles means the Red Sox currently have 26 non-roster invitees on their spring training roster. It seems as though the 6-foot, 220 pounder has a good shot at making Boston’s Opening Day roster, though he will have to earn his spot on it.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Late rally lifts Red Sox to 5-3 victory over Nationals after Tanner Houck tosses 5 scoreless innings

It took nearly four hours to complete, but the Red Sox managed to hold off the Nationals on Saturday afternoon to ensure that their season will extend beyond Sunday one way or the other.

Powered by a four-run outburst in the ninth inning, Boston outlasted Washington by a final score of 5-3 at Nationals Park, marking their second straight win that tightens their grip on one of the two American League Wild Card spots.

The Sox did not announce a starter for Saturday’s contest until a few hours before first pitch, but who they ultimately rolled with — Tanner Houck — turned in quite the outing to put the finishing touches on his rookie season.

Houck, making his first start since September 17, twirled five perfect innings in which he kept the Nationals off the scoreboard while striking out eight and walking none in the process of retiring each of the first 15 batters he faced in order.

The right-hander got through those five flawless frames on just 53 pitches (39 strikes), but given the fact he had just thrown 41 pitches this past Tuesday, the 25-year-old’s day came to an end as soon as he recorded the final out of the fifth.

In the process of witnessing Houck put together a bid at a perfect game, the Red Sox got very little production out of their lineup while matched up against Nationals starter Josiah Gray.

Rafael Devers put Boston on the board by crushing his 36th home run of the season off Gray with two outs in the top of the fourth, but that was all they could push across while Houck was still on the mound.

In relief of Houck, Garrett Richards got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he saw the combined perfect game bid come to a close when he issued a two-out single to the pinch-hitting Gerardo Parra in an otherwise clean sixth inning.

Ryan Brasier, taking over for Richards in the seventh, got himself in and out of trouble, as he loaded the bases with two outs on a pair of singles and a walk before emphatically punching out Jordy Mercer on five pitches to extinguish the threat.

Brasier, who completed his fourth straight scoreless appearance in as many days, celebrated getting out of the jam by pounding his chest, though the Sox lineup found themselves in a similar situation just a half-inning later.

After Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Schwarber, and Xander Bogaerts had each drawn a walk with two outs in the eighth, Devers had an opportunity to put this one way, but instead struck out against Nationals reliever Tanner Rainey.

With the score remaining at 1-0 in favor of Boston, Adam Ottavino appeared well on his way to recording the first two outs of the bottom of the eighth rather quickly. The veteran righty punched out Carter Kieboom on three straight strikes and proceeded to get Ryan Zimmerman to lift a 288-foot fly ball in the direction of center fielder Hunter Renfroe.

Renfroe, however, lost the ball in the sky, which allowed Zimmernan to reach base safely on a double that allowed the Nats to fill the bases when Ottavino yielded back-to-back walks to Lane Thomas and Alcides Escobar.

At that moment, the dangerous, left-handed hitting Juan Soto was looming in the on-deck circle for Washington, which prompted Cora to turn to the left-handed throwing Austin Davis out of the bullpen.

Davis got Soto to hit a 303-foot sacrifice fly to deep center field that brought in Zimmerman from third to tie things up at 1-1, but followed that up by getting Josh Bell to line out to shortstop to retire the side there.

Potentially down to their final three outs in the ninth, J.D. Martinez led the inning off by drawing a 10-pitch walk that put the go-ahead run on base.

Jose Iglesias took over for Martinez as the runner at first, and he came in to score all the way from first when Christian Vazquez unloaded on a first-pitch fastball from Rainey and laced a run-scoring single to deep right field.

Travis Shaw followed by plating Vazquez on an RBI single of his own, and the Red Sox had themselves a 3-1 lead just like that. Hernandez provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance when he greeted new Nationals reliever Mason Thompson by clubbing a 401-foot tow-run shot to left-center field.

Hernandez’s 20th home run of the year gave Boston a commanding 5-1 lead going into the bottom half of the ninth. And although Davis gave two of those runs back on a two-run homer off the bat of Andrew Stevenson, Hansel Robles took over from there.

Robles worked his way around a two-out walk in relief of Davis and ultimately slammed the door on the Nationals to secure the 5-3 victory for the Sox as well as notch his 14th save of the season.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox improve to 91-70 on the season, they also move into a tie with the Yankees, who lost on Saturday, for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Additionally, Boston remains one game ahead of the Blue Jays, who also won on Saturday, while remaining one game up on the Mariners, who defeated the Angels on Saturday.

That being said, the Sox have ensured that they will be playing beyond Sunday’s series finale regardless of who wins and loses elsewhere. Whether their first action after Sunday comes in the form of a tiebreaker on Monday or the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday has yet to be determined.

Next up: Sale vs. Adon in regular season finale

While their plans could change, the Red Sox — at the moment — are slated to give the ball to ace left-hander Chris Sale in Sunday’s finale against the Nationals.

The Nationals in turn, will have right-handed pitching prospect Joan Adon make his major-league debut and close out their season.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

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

J.D. Martinez homers, drives in 3 runs as Red Sox bounce back with 6-0 victory over Orioles

The Red Sox put their four-game losing streak in the rearview mirror and bounced back with a 6-0 shutout victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday.

J.D. Martinez came into play Wednesday having gone 4-for-20 (.200) at the plate over his last six games, but quickly made up for that while going up against Baltimore starter Zac Lowther.

In his first plate appearance of the night with one out in the top half of the second inning, Martinez took a 2-1, 85 mph changeup down the heart of the plate from Lowther and deposited it a whopping 444 feet off the batter’s eye in deep center field.

Martinez’s 28th home run of the season — a solo shot that left his bat at a scorching 109.6 mph — gave Boston an early 1-0 lead, though the slugger was not done there.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, with reliever Eric Hanhold now in the game for the O’s, and Martinez took advantage of one crucial mistake from the opposition.

After Rafael Devers led off the inning off Lowther with a broken-bat single, Xander Bogaerts proceeded to greet Hanhold by ripping a groundball in the direction of third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez.

It looked as though the Sox were about to ground into yet another double play, but Bogaerts’ grounder deflected off Gutierrez’s glove and rolled into foul territory, thus allowing both runners to reach base safely.

Rather than coming to the plate with two outs and nobody on, Martinez had no outs and two runners on, and he capitalized on that by plating both Devers and Bogaerts on a two-run double down the left field line.

That sequence put Boston up 3-0 over Baltimore at a point in which Nathan Eovaldi had been dominating.

Eovaldi, making his 32nd start of the season for the Red Sox, was coming off his worst outing of the year in his last time out against the Yankees, but looked much more in command this time around.

Through his first five innings of work, the veteran right-hander retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced while facing no more than four hitters in a single frame.

After being given a three-run cushion going into the middle of the sixth, Eovaldi did run into a bit of trouble when he issued a leadoff double to Cedric Mullins that was followed by a seven-pitch walk of Ryan Mountcastle.

Despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate with no outs, Eovaldi managed to escape the jam he created by getting Austin Hays to fly out, Trey Mancini to punch out, and Pedro Severino to fly out for the third and final out of the inning that ended his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (62 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler wound up stringing together six scoreless innings while scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the night. He also lowered his ERA on the season down to 3.75 while picking up his 11th win of the year.

In relief of Eovaldi, Ryan Brasier got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he promptly worked his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise perfect bottom half of the seventh.

In the eighth, while matched up against former Boston minor-leaguer Konner Wade, back-to-back one-out singles from Bogaerts and Martinez — followed by a two-out walk drawn by the pinch-hitting Travis Shaw — filled the bases for Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo came through in that spot by providing some much-needed insurance, as he slapped a two-run single to the opposite field that brought in Bogaerts and Martinez to make it a 5-0 game in favor of the Sox.

Though Shaw was tagged out between second and third base to end the inning, the Red Sox bullpen took care of things from there.

Hansel Robles tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom half of the eighth, while Hunter Renfroe extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games by clubbing a solo shot off Spenser Watkins with two outs in the top half of the ninth.

Renfroe’s 30th big fly of 2021 gave Boston a commanding six-run advantage, allowing Matt Barnes to preserve a 6-0 shutout victory by slamming the door on Baltimore in the bottom of the ninth.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox snap their four-game skid to improve to 89-69 on the season, they also move back to within a game of the Yankees — who fell to the Blue Jays on Wednesday — for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Wells

The Red Sox will send right-hander Nick Pivetta to the mound as they go for the series victory over the last-place Orioles on Thursday night. The O’s will counter with another left-hander in Alexander Wells.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Rob Carr/Getty Images)