Red Sox release Hirokazu Sawamura

The Red Sox have released veteran reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Sawamura was designated for assignment in late August, but the right-hander cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester. After appearing in just one game for the WooSox last week, however, he asked for and was granted his release to pursue other opportunities, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Boston originally signed Sawamura to a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston last February that included a dual club/player option for 2023 and a $1 million buyout.

After spending the first 10 seasons of his pro career with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, Sawamura made his major-league debut for the Red Sox last April. The Japanese-born righty posted a 3.06 ERA and 5.00 FIP with 61 strikeouts to 32 walks over 55 relief appearances spanning 53 innings of work. He also got into three games during the American League Championship Series against the Astros.

This season, Sawamura produced a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks across 49 relief outings (50 2/3 innings). While those numbers are certainly respectable, the 34-year-old hurler had struggled to a 6.46 ERA in 15 appearances since the All-Star break and a 5.83 ERA at Fenway Park.

When he was outrighted to Worcester on Aug. 31, it appeared as though Sawamura would provide the Red Sox with experienced bullpen depth while still potentially being in the club’s plans next season on account of that dual option.

Instead, Sawawmura will now look to latch on with another organization or perhaps even return to Japan. Either way, he will head to free agency after collecting his $1 million buyout from the Red Sox.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Hirokazu Sawamura to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers

The Red Sox have outrighted reliever Hirokazu Sawamura to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Sawamura, like Austin Davis, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could shake up their bullpen and call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester. While Davis has since been claimed by the Twins, Sawamura has cleared waivers and will remain in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

The 34-year-old righty out of Japan originally signed a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston last February after spending the previous 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball. The contract also included a dual player/club option for 2023.

In 49 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, Sawamura posted a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks over 50 2/3 innings of work. That includes a 6.46 ERA in 15 outings since the All-Star break and a 5.83 ERA in 26 outings at Fenway Park. The 6-foot, 212-pound hurler currently ranks in the ninth percentile in hard-hit rate (44.8%) and the seventh percentile in walk rate (12.2%), per Baseball Savant.

Since making his major-league debut last spring, Sawamura has pitched to a 3.39 ERA (4.59 FIP) across 104 appearances (103 2/3 innings) with Boston. He will now provide the club with experienced bullpen depth in Worcester through the end of the season.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Sawamura’s dual option for next season is still intact. The club option is worth $3.7 million, meaning the Red Sox can bring him back for that price in 2023. If they decline, Sawamura can then exercise a $1.9 million player option to return or decline it and be paid $1 million in the form of a buyout. If Sawamura is back with the Sox in some capacity next spring, he will still not count towards the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester; Austin Davis, Hirokazu Sawamura designated for assignment

UPDATE: This is now official. The Red Sox have called up Kelly and Ort from Triple-A Worcester and have designated Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the club announced before Monday’s series opener against the Twins.

Kelly will wear the No. 76, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to do so and the first since Hector Velazquez donned the number from 2017-2019.

After designating Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment on Sunday, the Red Sox are expected to call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, according to multiple reports.

Kelly and Ort will join the Red Sox and their new-look bullpen in Minnesota ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Twins at Target Field. The former will need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster while the latter is already on it.

When Kelly gets into a game, it will mark his major-league debut. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons in the Red Sox organization after originally signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. Prior to that, Kelly had gone undrafted out of Division II Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.) and signed with the Athletics for just $500 in January 2017.

After splitting time between the Athletics and Angels organizations, Kelly suffered an elbow injury in the spring of 2020 that would ultimately require surgery. He was released by Los Angeles that May in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Since then, however, Kelly has only seen his stock rise. The native Virginian posted a 2.18 ERA over 36 appearances (45 1/3 innings) between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last year and leveraged that performance into his first-ever invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November.

With the WooSox this season, Kelly has pitched to a stellar 2.72 ERA and 2.81 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks over 44 relief appearances spanning 49 2/3 innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s cutter.

Ort, who debuted for Boston last September, has produced a 9.00 ERA and 4.06 FIP with 13 strikeouts and seven walks across 12 outings (15 innings) at the major-league level this season. The Red Sox originally acquired the 30-year-old from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

Frequently pitching behind Kelly in Worcester, Ort owns a 2.88 ERA (2.68 FIP) in 39 appearances for the WooSox this year. He has put up those numbers while converting 16 of a possible 18 save opportunities.

When Davis and Sawamura are officially designated for assignment and Kelly and Ort are officially called up, the Red Sox will have 26 players on their 26-man roster and 39 players on their 40-man roster. At this point in time, it is not yet known how they will use that open spot.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment, per report

In addition to Austin Davis, the Red Sox are also designating right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Sawamura, like Davis, pitched in relief of Nick Pivetta in Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park. The 34-year-old hurler was tagged for three runs on four hits, two walks, and one strikeout on 37 pitches (22 strikeouts) in a rough sixth inning.

On the 2022 season as a whole, Sawamura has posted a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks over 49 appearances spanning 50 2/3 innings of work for Boston. That includes an underwhelming 6.46 ERA since the All-Star break.

The Red Sox originally signed Sawamura out of Japan last February. After spending the previous 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, the Tochigi native inked a two-year. $3 million deal with Boston that included a dual player/club option as well as a buyout for the 2023 season.

Since then, Sawamura has pitched to a 3.39 ERA and 1.44 WHIP to go along with 101 strikeouts and 59 walks across 104 relief outings (103 2/3 innings) at the big-league level.

Boston will have the next seven days to either place Sawamura on outright waivers or release waivers. If he goes unclaimed, the Red Sox would remain on the hook for the remainder of Sawamura’s salary this season, plus the buyout for 2023 that is now valued at $1 million.

By designating both Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the Sox have created two vacancies in their bullpen heading into Monday’s series opener against the Twins in Minnesota. They are expected to fill those holes by calling up right-handers Kaleb Ort and Zack Kelly from Triple-A Worcester.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta’s struggles against American League East continue as Red Sox drop series finale to Rays, 12-4

The Red Sox were unable to complete a three-game weekend sweep of the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score 12-4 at Fenway Park to drop to 62-66 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, making his 26th start of the year for the Sox, ended his month of August on a sour note. The right-hander allowed five earned runs on eight hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over five innings of work.

After retiring four of the first five batters he faced, Pivetta served up a solo home run over the Green Monster to Isaac Paredes with one out in the second inning. It was ruled a single on the field, but it was overturned following an umpire review.

An inning later, a two-out walk of Manuel Margot proved to be costly for Pivetta. That being the case because Margot stole second base and then easily scored from second when David Peralta ripped an RBI double down the right field line.

Trailing 2-0 going into their half of the third inning, the Red Sox were able to cut the deficit in half when Franchy Cordero cranked a 403-foot solo shot off Rays starter Corey Kluber into the home bullpen. Cordero’s eighth homer of the season — and fourth in his last six games — left his bat at 112.3 mph.

While Boston got on the board, Tampa Bay quicky responded. Randy Arozarena led off the fourth inning with a hard-hit double. Paredes immediately followed by crushing his second home run of the day off Pivetta to make it a 4-1 game.

To lead off the bottom of the fourth, J.D. Martinez took Kluber 410 feet over the Monster for his first home run since July 10. Martinez’s 10th big fly of the season once again trimmed the Rays’ lead in half at 4-2.

Pivetta, however, continued to struggle in his fifth and final frame. He surrendered hits to the first four batters he faced in the inning, including an RBI double to Peralta that plated Margot, before getting Taylor Wallks to ground into a force out at third base.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 100 (63 strikes), Pivetta induced 14 swings-and-misses while mixing in a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.3 mph, a slider that averaged 86.3 mph, and a knuckle-curveball that averaged 78.6 mph. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 10th loss of the season and his ERA now sits at 4.40. That includes an ERA of 7.24 in 11 starts against divisional opponents.

Moments after Pivetta’s day had come to an end, Tommy Pham brought the Red Sox back to within two runs of the Rays by clubbing another solo blast off Kluber. It left his bat at 104.3 mph and was good for his fourth home run in 22 games with Boston.

Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. As has been the case throughout the season, Sawamura’s struggles at Fenway Park continued. The Japanese-born righty gave up back-to-back one-out singles, including a 181-foot pop-up off the bat of Jose Siri that Cordero could not come up with cleanly in shallow right field.

With runners on the corners, Margot drove in Siri from third on a sacrifice fly. After issuing a five-pitch walk to Peralta, Sawamura yielded back-to-back run-scoring hits to Harold Ramirez and Arozarena, thus giving the Rays a commanding 8-3 advantage.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Ryan Brasier, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec and Pham greeted new Rays reliever Colin Poche with back-to-back hard-hit singles to lead off the bottom half. Xander Bogaerts plated Pham on a sacrifice fly, but that is all the Sox could manage.

The Rays proceeded to pull away from there. A clean-shaven Austin Davis got tagged for four runs (two earned) in the eighth. Following a Rafael Devers fielding error that put runners on the corners with no outs, Arozarena drove in Peralta on a sharply-hit double. Taylor Walls made it an 11-4 game with a two-run single and Siri capped it off with a run-scoring groundout.

Davis retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt made the ninth relief appearance of his career. He gave up a pair of singles to Dalbec and Bogaerts, but still recorded the final three outs of the contest.

With Sunday’s 12-4 loss, the Red Sox remain seven games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Quick trip to Minnesota

The Red Sox will now board a flight to Minneapolis and open a three-game series against the Twins on Monday night. Rookie right-hander is slated to get the start for Boston while fellow righty Dylan Bundy is expected to take the mound for Minnesota.

First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Matt Strahm on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Hirokazu Sawamura from Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up their five-game series against the Orioles at Fenway Park on Monday night, the Red Sox placed left-handed reliever Matt Strahm on the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced.

At this time, it is not yet clear if Strahm has tested positive for COVID-19 or is simply experiencing virus-like symptoms. Through 18 relief appearances this season, the 30-year-old southpaw has posted a 3.68 ERA and 1.77 FIP with 16 strikeouts to three walks over 14 2/3 innings of work.

Sawamura, meanwhile, returns from Worcester after being optioned there on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, the Japanese-born righty did not get into a game with the WooSox. This season with the big-league club, he has produced a 3.60 ERA and 3.47 FIP to go along with 13 strikeouts to six walks across 18 appearances spanning 15 innings pitched.

Following Monday’s roster move, the Red Sox will now be without Strahm and Hansel Robles (on the 10-day injured list due to back spasms) for the time being. Alex Cora’s bullpen currently consists of the likes of Sawamura, Matt Barnes, Jake Diekman, Austin Davis, John Schreiber, Tyler Danish, Ryan Brasier and Phillips Valdez. Tanner Houck could be included there, too, but he is not available to pitch on Monday, per Cora.

(Picture of Matt Strahm: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Hansel Robles on injured list, option Hirokazu Sawamura; Ryan Brasier, Phillips Valdez recalled from Triple-A Worcester

In addition to appointing Josh Winckowski as the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park, the Red Sox made four additional roster moves prior to Game 1.

Most notably, Hansel Robles was placed on the 15-day injured list due to back spasms while Hirokazu Sawamura was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In a corresponding move, fellow relievers Ryan Brasier and Phillips Valdez were recalled from Worcester.

Robles last pitched in Sunday’s win over the Mariners before experiencing back issues while the Red Sox were in Chicago. Through 16 relief appearances this season, the 31-year-old right-hander has posted a 2.65 ERA and 5.20 FIP with 11 strikeouts to six walks over 17 innings pitched out of the bullpen.

Since his stint on the injured list is retroactive to May 25, the soonest Robles could return to action would be Thursday June 9, when the Sox take on the Angels in Anaheim.

Sawamura, meanwhile, has pitched to the tune of a 3.60 ERA and 3.47 FIP with 13 strikeouts to six walks across 18 appearances (15 innings) so far this season. The Japanese-born righty has been most effective when inheriting runners on the basepaths, but — at the same time — has fallen down Alex Cora’s depth chart.

Because he has pitched three times in the last four days, Boston elected to send Sawamura down to Worcester while adding fresh reinforcements in Brasier and Valdez.

Both Brasier and Valdez opened the 2021 season in the Sox’ bullpen but were optioned to the WooSox at separate points this month. Brasier, who was sent down on May 20, made two scoreless outings for Worcester. Valdez, who was sent down on May 2, produced a 1.17 ERA in six appearances (7 2/3 innings) for the affiliate.

The Red Sox did not need to use their bullpen as Nathan Eovaldi tossed a complete game in the day cap of Saturday’s twin bill. That could change in Game 2 with Winckowski making his first career start at the big-league level.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow 6-run lead as bullpen melts down in 12-8 loss to Orioles

The Red Sox blew a six-run lead against the Orioles at Fenway Park and ultimately lost a winnable game in frustrating, yet ugly fashion. Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 12-8 on Friday night to drop to 21-24 on the season.

As he has done so often lately, Enrique Hernandez provided an early spark by leading off the first inning with a line-drive single. He then scored all the way from first base when Rafael Devers promptly ripped a single to left-center field. Devers was able to move up to second because of an Anthony Santander fielding error.

J.D. Martinez followed by taking a 94 mph fastball off his left arm to put runners at first and second for Xander Bogaerts, who unloaded on a 3-2, 87 mph slider down the heart of the plate by sending it off the National Car Rental sign above the Green Monster for a three-run home run.

Bogaerts’ fifth homer of the season travelled 423 feet and had an exit velocity of 112 mph. It also gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead before they had even recorded an out. An inning later, a seemingly red-hot Alex Verdugo came through with two outs and the bases loaded by lacing a 406-foot ground-rule double into the center field bleachers. Verdugo’s second hit of the night made it a 6-0 ballgame.

On the other side of things, Garrett Whitlock made his seventh start of the season for Boston. The right-hander allowed two earned runs on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over six innings of work.

Both of those Baltimore runs came in the top half of the fourth, as Whitlock issued a one-out walk to Trey Mancini before immediately serving up a two-run home run to Santander.

Whitlock gave up two more runs hits the inning, but limited the damage to two runs. The Red Sox got both of those runs back on a Martinez RBI double in the bottom of the fourth and a Christian Vazquez RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. Whitlock, meanwhile, bounced back from his rough fourth inning by retiring five of the final seven batters he faced through the middle of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (56 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler relied on his sinker 58% of the time he was on the mound Friday. He averaged 95.4 mph with the pitch in the process of lowering his ERA on the season to 3.49.

In relief of Whitlock, manager Alex Cora first turned to Jake Diekman out of the Boston bullpen for the seventh inning. The left-hander allowed two of the first three Orioles he faced to reach base before giving up a towering, 391-foot three-run home run to Jorge Mateo.

Mateo’s blast trimmed the Sox’ lead down to three runs at 5-8. In the eighth, John Schreiber ran into some long ball troubles of his own when he issued a leadoff walk to Santander that was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Austin Hays.

The first two earned runs Schreiber has given up all season brought Baltimore back to within one run at 8-7. Matt Strahm was then called upon to end things in the eighth, but the lefty surrendered a ground-rule double to Rougned Odor. He then got Ramon Urias to hit a three-foot groundball to the left side of the infield.

Devers charged the ball and barehanded it before attempting to make an off-balance throw to first base. His throw missed the mark by a wide margin, though, and that allowed Odor to score and knot things up at eight runs apiece.

Strahm was sent back out for the ninth and gave up three straight singles, with Santander giving the O’s their first lead of the night on an RBI base hit to right field. Strahm, who was later charged with the blown save and loss, then made way for Hirokazu Sawamura, who walked the first man he faced to fill the bases for Adley Rutschmann.

Rutschmann, in turn, grounded into a force out at home plate but reached first safely to keep the bases loaded. With Ryan Mountcastle up to bat, a wild pitch from Sawamura that got between Vazquez’s legs allowed Santander to score from third. Mountcastle drove in a run of his own on a sacrifice fly before Odor put the final nail in the coffin with another RBI single.

What at one point was an 8-2 lead for the Red Sox had turned into a 12-8 deficit. That is what happens when you allow the opposition to score 10 unanswered runs.

12-8 would go on to be Friday’s final score after the Sox went down quietly in their half of the ninth. Boston is now 3-4 in games started by Whitlock this year. They are likely a better team with him in the bullpen.

Next up: Doubleheader on deck

The Red Sox will look to bounce back in a day-night doubleheader against the Orioles on Saturday. Baltimore has yet to name its starters. Boston, meanwhile, will roll with right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Josh Winckowski, who will be making his major-league debut.

First pitch for Game 1 at Fenway Park is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. eastern time. First pitch for Game 2 is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcasted on NESN.

(Picture of Matt Strahm: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox spoil Nathan Eovaldi’s superb start in 2-1 walk-off loss to Orioles

The Red Sox fell to the Orioles by a final score of 2-1 in 10 innings at Camden Yards 0n Saturday night. With the walk-off loss, Boston drops to 9-13 on the season and 3-6 on their current road trip.

Matched up against O’s starter Spenser Watkins to begin things on Saturday, a J.D. Martinez-less Sox lineup got off to a quick start. Trevor Story led off the first inning with a ground-rule double on the very first pitch he saw and later scored on an RBI single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

That sequence gave Boston an early 1-0 lead before Nathan Eovaldi could even take the mound. Eovaldi, making his fifth start of the year, allowed just three hits and no walks to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work.

The right-hander took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning before yielding a two-out double to Cedric Mullins. He then stranded Mullins in scoring position before putting and leaving two runners on base to get out of a jam in his seventh and final frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (67 strikes), Eovaldi threw 38 four-seam fastballs, 21 splitters, 17 curveballs, 15 sliders, and four cutters. The 32-year-old hurler topped out at 98.6 mph with his heater and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.51 but did not factor into Saturday’s decision.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes received the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. Given a one-run lead to protect, Barnes surrendered another two-out double to Mullins that was just out of Alex Verdugo’s reach in left field. The speedy Baltimore outfielder then scored from second on an Anthony Santander RBI single that knotted things up at 1-1 as Barnes was charged with the blown save.

In the ninth, the bottom third of the Red Sox lineup went down quietly against Jorge Lopez before Ryan Brasier did the same to the Orioles in the bottom half of the inning to send things to the 10th.

Even with an automatic runner in scoring position in, an anemic Boston offense failed to push across the potential go-ahead run in Jaylin Davis in their half of the 10th, setting up Baltimore to walk it off in their half of the inning.

With Hirokazu Sawamura on the mound for the Sox and Jorge Mateo at second base for the Orioles, Ryan McKenna was intentionally walked to set up the double play possibility. The next batter, Robinson Chirinos, proceeded to drop down a bunt that Sawamura fielded cleanly. Sawamura opted to get the force out at third base, but he instead threw the ball way over Rafael Devers’ head, which allowed Mateo to easily score the game-winning run.

All told, the Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Lyles in rubber match

Having finished the month of April four games under .500, the Red Sox will look to flip the calendar and start anew in Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles. To kick off the month of May, right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jordan Lyles will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Mitchell Layton/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)