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)