Brayan Bello’s early struggles continue as Red Sox get swept by Blue Jays, drop fifth straight in 8-4 loss

A bad weekend only got worse for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon as they were swept by the Blue Jays. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 8-4, marking its fifth straight loss to drop back to .500 (48-48) for the first time since June 5.

Brayan Bello, making his third start of the season and first since July 11, allowed five earned runs on nine hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over four innings of work.

All five runs scored off the rookie right-hander came right away in the top of the first inning. George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. immediately put the pressure on with a leadoff single and double. Bo Bichette then drew a one-out walk to fill the bases. Bello struck out Teoscar Hernandez for the second out, but was unable to escape the jam as Cavan Biggio plated his side’s first two runs on a two-run single through the left side of the infield.

Another walk of Matt Chapman filled the bases with Raimel Tapia, who again came through in that spot by ripping a bases-clearing, three-run triple into the triangle to give Toronto a commanding 5-0 lead out of the gate.

Boston was at least able to counter by pushing across one run in the latter half of the first. Opposed by Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling, Jarren Duran laced a leadoff double, moved up to third base on an Alex Verdugo single, and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. A Franchy Cordero groundout allowed Verdugo and Bogaerts to advance an additional 90 feet, but Bobby Dalbec was called out on strikes to kill any shot of extending the rally.

Fast forward to the fourth, Cordero led off with a softly-hit single off Stripling, stole second base with two outs, and then scored from second on a 261-foot RBI single from Yolmer Sanchez that cut Toronto’s advantage down to three runs at 5-2.

Bello, meanwhile, provided the Sox with four innings yet again despite dealing with a fair amount of traffic basepaths. By the time he got the final batter he faced in Bichette to ground into an inning-ending double play in the fourth, the 23-year-old’s pitch count had risen to 67 (41 strikes). His ERA on the season now sits at 10.50.

In relief of Bello, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Sawamura, in turn, issued a leadoff walk to Hernandez and a one-out out double to Chapman. Hernandez scored on an RBI single from Tapia while Chapman scored on a fielder’s choice. Tapia then advanced to third on a Jeter Downs fielding error and scored when Guerrero Jr. reached base on an infield single.

That sequence made it an 8-2 contest in favor of the Blue Jays. The Red Sox, again, got one of those runs back in their half of the fifth when Jarren Duran ripped a one-out triple off reliever Trevor Richards and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Verdugo.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. took Richards 404 feet deep over the Green Monster for his third home run of the season. From that point forward, however, Bradley Jr. accounted for Boston’s only other hit with a leadoff single off Adam Cimber in the bottom of the ninth that ultimately amounted to nothing.

After Sawamura surrendered three runs in the fifth, Garrett Whitlock, Austin Davis, Kaleb Ort, and Jake Diekman combined for four scoreless frames. But it was not enough in the end as 8-4 would go on to be Sunday’s final score at Fenway Park.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 1-9 in their last 10 games, 5-15 in the month of July, and 12-29 against divisional opponents on the season. They currently trail the Mariners (51-45) for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Plesac

Looking to put this weekend behind them, the Red Sox will welcome the 48-46 Guardians into town for a four-game series that beings on Monday night. Nick Pivetta is slated to start the series opener for Boston while fellow right-hander Zach Plesac is in line to do the same for Cleveland.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox get embarrassed by Blue Jays in lopsided 28-5 loss

The Red Sox were embarrassed by the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Friday night. In its first game back from the All-Star break, Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 28-5 to drop to 48-46 on the season.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his 14th start of the year, surrendered nine earned runs on eight hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts over just 2 2/3 innings of work.

After striking out the very first batter he faced, Eovaldi ran into early trouble when he gave up a one-out double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who moved up to third base and then scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Bo Bichette. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. led off the second inning with a single, which was followed by a 421-foot two-run home run from Matt Chapman.

Taking a 3-0 lead into the third, the Blue Jays proceeded to go off for seven runs. Eovaldi loaded the bases with one out before yielding a two-run single to Gurriel Jr. Former Red Sox prospect Santiago Espinal followed with a run-scoring single of his own before No. 9 hitter Danny Jansen drew a four-pitch walk to fill the bases yet again with two outs.

Eovaldi’s night wound end there as Toronto’s lineup flipped back over. The 32-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 63 (42 strikes) but was only able to induce seven total swings-and-misses. His ERA on the season now sits at 4.30.

In relief of Eovaldi, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Raimel Tapia greeted the left-hander by lifting a 384-foot fly ball to center field that Jarren Duran lost in the twilight. As a result of Duran’s miscue, Tapia cleared the bases and crossed home plate himself for a rare inside-the-park grand slam.

That made it a 10-0 game in favor of Toronto. It tacked on four more runs in the fourth when Davis served up a solo shot to Tesocar Hernandez and a three-run blast to Jansen. Boston was able to get three of those runs back in its half of the fourth, as Christian Vazquez took Kevin Gausman deep before Jackie Bradley Jr. clubbed a two-run homer off the Blue Jays starter.

Things only got worse from there, however. Kaleb Ort recorded the first two outs of the fifth, and then the Jays went off for 11 runs. Eight of those were charged to Ort, including one in which Matt Chapman hit a 38-foot pop-up that fell between Ort, Kevin Plawecki, and Rafael Devers. Darwinzon Hernandez came on for Ort and gave up five runs of his own — four of which were earned.

In the bottom of the sixth, Vazquez went deep for a second time to cut the deficit down to 23 runs at 27-4. Rob Refsnyder tattooed a 405-foot solo shot off Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Beasley in the seventh for his fourth big fly of the year.

After Jake Diekman and Hirokazu Sawamura each tossed scoreless frames of relief in the seventh and eighth innings, Yolmer Sanchez — a position player — was called upon for the ninth.

Sanchez, making his second career relief appearance, allowed one run on three hits. He threw 15 pitches (10 strikes) ranging from 40.5 mph to 82.8 mph, per Baseball Savant.

All told, seven different Red Sox pitchers combined to give up 28 runs (27 earned) on 29 hits. The 28 runs are the most the Blue Jays have ever scored in a single game and the most the Red Sox have ever given up in a single game. The Sox’ run differential coming into play on Friday was plus-18. It is now minus-5.

In addition to falling to 48-46 on the season, Boston also falls to 12-27 against divisional opponents and 5-13 in the month of July.

Next up: Manoah vs. Crawford

The Red Sox will look to put an end to a three-game losing streak that dates back to last weekend and bounce back against the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Kutter Crawford is slated to get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Alek Manoah is in line to do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Green Monster scoreboard: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Red Sox play sloppy defense, go 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in 3-1 loss to Cubs

Sloppy defense and a lack of scoring opportunities is what did the Red Sox in on Saturday night, as they dropped their second straight to the Cubs by a final score of 3-1 at Wrigley Field.

Cubs starter Alec Mills threw just seven pitches and faced two batters in the first inning before leaving the game with lower back pain. He was relieved by Mark Leiter Jr., who allowed just one run over 5 1/3 impressive innings on short notice.

That lone Red Sox run came in the sixth inning, when after Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled and Jarren Duran singled to put runners at the corners with no outs, Rafael Devers grounded into a run-scoring, 1-4-3 double play.

At that point, Boston was trailing Chicago by just one run at 2-1. Josh Winckowski, making his fifth start of the season for the Sox, had gotten tagged for two runs in the bottom of the second inning.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Winckowski gave up a leadoff single to Patrick Wisdom, who then took second base on a Devers throwing error. The very next batter, Nico Hoerner, attempted to move Wisdom over to third by laying a bunt. Winckowski fielded said bunt, but air-mailed his throw to first base, which allowed Wisdom to score the game’s first run. Hoerner moved up to second on Winckowski’s error and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Narciso Crook to make it a 2-o game.

Despite those shaky results early on, Winckowski ultimately settled into his outing. The right-hander allowed just the two runs (one earned) on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over six solid innings of work. Of the 94 pitches he threw, 63 went for strikes.

Dating back to June 15, Winckowski owns an ERA of 1.96 in his last four starts. On the season as a whole, the 24-year-old hurler has posted a 3.12 ERA.

In relief of Winckowski, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora and he needed just 14 pitches to face the minimum in a scoreless bottom of the seventh.

Tanner Houck made his first appearance since last Sunday in the eighth and gave up a one-out single to Wilson Contreras. Contreras was pinch-ran for by Nelson Velazquez, who promptly stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored from third on an RBI single off the bat of Wisdom.

Taking a 3-1 lead into the ninth, the Cubs had already received a stellar effort out of their bullpen. Duran led off the top of the ninth with a double off veteran closer David Robertson. He then stole third base but was stranded there after Devers and J.D. Martinez struck out, Xander Bogaerts drew a walk, and Alex Verdugo lined out to center field to end the game with a final score of 3-1.

With the loss, the Red Sox have dropped four of their last five contests to fall to 43-35 on the season. They have already lost their last two series and are now at risk of getting swept for the first time since May 5-9 when they did so against the White Sox.

Next up: Seabold vs. Thompson

In order to avoid a second straight sweep, the Red Sox will activate and send rookie right-hander Connor Seabold to the mound in Sunday’s series finale. The Cubs will counter with fellow righty Keegan Thompson.

First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

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

Red Sox activate Jackie Bradley Jr. from paternity leave list, option Jarren Duran to Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a four-game series against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday night, the Red Sox activated outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from the paternity leave list. In a corresponding move, fellow outfielder Jarren Duran was optioned to Triple-A Worcester following Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Athletics in Oakland, the team announced.

Bradley Jr. returns to the Sox after spending the last three days away from the team to be with his wife Erin for the birth of their third child, Elle, at home in Naples, Fla.

In 48 games with Boston this season, the left-handed hitting 32-year-old is batting .227/.284/.353 with 14 doubles, one triple, one home run, 20 RBIs, nine runs scored, one stolen base, 12 walks, and 34 strikeouts over 164 plate appearances.

Bradley Jr. will bat ninth and start in center field for the Sox in Monday’s series opener at Angel Stadium. It will mark just his fourth start in center this year as Enrique Hernandez has the day off and is therefore out of the lineup.

Duran, meanwhile, returns to Worcester after filling in for Bradley Jr. over the weekend. The speedy 25-year-old appeared in two games and went 3-for-9 at the plate with one run scored and four strikeouts.

This was Duran’s second big-league stint of the year. He previously started one game against the White Sox on May 6 while Hernandez spent a very brief amount of time on the COVID-19 related injured list.

With the WooSox this season, Duran is slashing .314/.393/.523 with 12 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 22 RBIs, 31 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 19 walks, and 42 strikeouts over 37 games spanning 173 trips to the plate. The left-handed hitter was also riding a 29-game on-base streak at the time he was called back up on Friday.

(Picture of Jackie Bradley Jr.: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox place Jackie Bradley Jr. on paternity leave list, recall Jarren Duran from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game weekend series against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night, the Red Sox placed outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on the paternity list. In a corresponding move, fellow outfielder Jarren Duran was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced.

Bradley Jr. did not make the trip with the Sox to Oakland as he and his wife Erin are expecting the birth of their third child soon, as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Duran, on the other hand, will join the Sox for a second time this season after making a brief one-game cameo with the club. He went 1-for-4 with a triple, run scored, and strikeout in a 4-2 loss to the White Sox at Fenway Park on May 6.

The speedy 25-year-old was called up for that game after Enrique Hernandez was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list. Since Hernandez’s stint on the COVID-related IL lasted just one day, Duran was optioned back down to Worcester on May 7.

With the WooSox this season, Duran has batted a stout .314/.393/.523 (144 wRC+) with 12 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 22 RBIs, 31 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 19 walks, and 42 strikeouts over 37 games spanning 173 trips to the plate. The left-handed hitter was also riding a 29-game on-base streak.

Duran is not in Boston’s starting lineup for Friday’s series opener against Oakland since he only just landed in the Bay Area. He is not expected to arrive at Oakland Coliseum until shortly before first pitch.

That being said, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Smith) that Duran will be in the lineup on Saturday and Sunday with a pair of right-handers in Paul Blackburn and Frankie Montas scheduled to start for the Athletics.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story stays hot with grand slam as Red Sox extend winning streak to 3 with 7-3 victory over Mariners

The Red Sox continued their winning ways on Friday night with a 7-3 victory over the Mariners at Fenway Park. Boston has now won three straight games for the first time in 2022 to improve to 17-22 on the season.

Matched up against reining American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray out of the gate, the Sox did all of their damage in their half of the third inning.

There, Xander Bogaerts drew a two-out walk to fill the bases for Trevor Story. Coming off a historic three-homer night on Thursday, Story picked up where he left off by unloading the bases with a 378-foot grand slam over the Green Monster.

Story’s sixth home run of the season and fourth in the last 24 hours was caught by former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes in the first row of Monster Seats and gave Boston an early 4-0 lead.

To that point in the contest, Michael Wacha was already through three scoreless frames in his first start since returning from the injured list earlier in the day. All told, the veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Both of those Seattle runs came in the top of the fifth, when Wacha gave up a leadoff double to Eugenio Suarez that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Abraham Toro. He then retired two of the next four batters he faced before getting the hook from manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (44 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his changeup 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday and induced six of his eight swings-and-misses with hit. He also sat between 90 and 96 mph with his four-seam fastball.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis came on with two runners on and one out to get in the fifth. The left-hander got that out by fanning J.P. Crawford on six pitches, then proceeded to retire the side in order in the sixth as well. Fellow southpaw Jake Diekman followed suit by stranding one runner in an otherwise clean seventh inning to pace the way for John Schreiber in the eighth.

Schreiber, working in yet another high-leverage situation, witnessed a scary moment when he got Crawford to lift a softly-hit, 22-foot flyball to shallow left field. While converging on the ball, a sliding Alex Verdugo took out Bogaerts, who appeared to be in serious pain as he landed on his back.

The ball popped out of Bogaerts’ glove during that sequence, allowing Crawford to reach second base safely while Verdugo was charged with a fielding error. Crawford came into score on an RBI single from Jesse Winker, but Schreiber was able to hold the Mariners to the one run. Bogaerts is now considered day-to-day with left back tightness.

After coming on as a defensive replacement for Christian Arroyo the previous inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. provided some late-game insurance in his lone plate appearance of the night in the bottom of the eighth. After J.D. Martinez and Franchy Cordero (pinch-hitting for Bogaerts) reached base, Bradley Jr. greeted new Mariners reliever Anthony Misiewicz by cranking a three-run homer 359 feet to the opposite field.

Bradley Jr.’s first big fly of the year put the Sox up 7-3. Matt Strahm then slammed the door on the Mariners in the ninth inning to secure his team’s third consecutive win.

Next up: Flexen vs. Whitlock

The Red Sox will go for their third consecutive series win in the third game of this four-game set against the Mariners on Saturday evening. Boston will turn to right-hander Garrett Whitlock while Seattle will roll with fellow righty Chris Flexen.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/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 ride strong start from Michael Wacha, 6-run eighth inning to 8-1 win over Twins

Powered by strong starting pitching and a late rally, the Red Sox won their second straight over the Twins at Fenway Park on Sunday by a final score of 8-1. Boston has now won three of its last four games to improve to 5-4 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his second start of the year for the Sox, thoroughly impressed while donning the yellow and blue City Connect uniforms for the first time. Over five scoreless innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded just one hit and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Wacha took a perfect game bid into the third inning by retiring each of the first seven Minnesota batters he faced. He then issued a one-out walk to Miguel Sano in the top of the third, but stranded Sano there before taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

To lead things off in the fifth, Gio Urshela greeted Wacha by roping a single to center field. Once more, though, Wacha did not let things escalate and instead sat down each of the final three Twins he faced to end his day on a solid note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler featured a healthy mix of changeups, four-seam fastballs, and cutters on Sunday. Those three offerings accounted for 80% of Wacha’s workload, though he also threw eight sinkers and eight curveballs while inducing a total of seven swings-and-misses altogether.

In relief of Wacha, Matt Strahm received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora in the top of the sixth inning. The left-hander needed all of 13 pitches to retire the side there.

To that point in the contest, the Sox themselves had been stymied by Twins starter Bailey Ober. After mustering just three singles and a walk through five innings, the Boston bats finally got something going against Ober in their half of the sixth.

Rafael Devers led the inning off by reaching on a fielding error committed by Sano. He then advanced all the way to third on a hard-hit double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo gave the Red Sox their first lead of the day at 2-0.

Strahm came back out for the seventh but was pulled after yielding a one-out single to Max Kepler. Ryan Brasier was dispatched and allowed the lone runner he inherited to score on a Trevor Larnach sacrifice fly. The righty then loaded the bases with two outs, but escaped the jam by getting Kyle Garlick to fan on a 93 mph fastball that was up and in.

After Jake Diekman struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, the Sox really blew things open in their half of the inning. With reliever Caleb Thielbar on the mound for the Twins, Enrique Hernandez, Devers, and Bogaerts hit three consecutive singles. Bogaerts plated Hernandez on his 44-foot base hit, then Martinez scored Devers on an RBI double off the Green Monster.

The 300th double of Martinez’s career made it a 4-1 game in favor of Boston. Trevor Story added on to that by lacing a two-run single that scored both Bogaerts and Martinez. After Story advanced to second on a Bobby Dalbec base hit, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with an RBI single of his own. Kevin Plawecki plated the Sox’ eighth and final run (Dalbec) on a sacrifice fly.

With a sizable seven-run cushion to work with, Austin Davis got the call for the ninth and closed things out quickly to secure an 8-1 victory on Easter.

Some notes from this win:

In his last four games, Jackie Bradley Jr. has batted .385 (5-for-13) with three doubles, four RBIs, two runs scored, and two walks.

With runners in scoring position this season, J.D. Martinez is batting .333/.364/.667 with four RBIs.

Rafael Devers has recorded two or more hits in four of his last six games and is now hitting .368 with an OPS of .990 on the season.

Next up: Bundy vs. Hill

The Red and Twins will close out this four-game weekend series on Marathon Monday. Left-hander Rich Hill is slated to get the ball for Boston while right-hander Dylan Bundy is in line to do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/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)

Nathan Eovaldi strikes out 7 in final tune-up before Opening Day as Red Sox fall to Pirates, 7-2

The Red Sox fell to 9-7 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday following a 7-2 loss at the hands of the Pirates at JetBlue Park.

In his final tune-up before Opening Day, Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed five runs — three of which were earned — on six hits and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

The veteran right-hander began his afternoon on a solid note, retiring 11 of the first 12 Pirates he faced before serving up a two-out solo shot to former teammate Michael Chavis with two outs in the fourth inning.

After getting through the fourth and once again sitting down the side in order in the fifth, Eovaldi ran into more trouble in the sixth when he yielded a leadoff double to Hoy Park that was followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Diego Castillo that was just out of reach for a sprawling Jackie Bradley Jr.

That sequence made it a 3-0 contest in favor of Pittsburgh, though the Pirates tacked on more when Bligh Madris reached second base on a fielding error committed by Travis Shaw and scored on an RBI single from Hunter Owen.

Owen would be the last batter Eovaldi would face as the 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 94 and made way for Robert Kwiatkowski out of the Boston bullpen.

Kwiatkowski, in turn, allowed the lone runner he inherited in Owen to score before ending things in the top of the sixth. A half-inning later, the Red Sox responded by plating their first run of the day on a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.D. Martinez that scored Alex Verdugo from third to make it a 5-1 game.

Former Pirates reliever Austin Davis gave that run right back on back-to-back doubles to lead off the seventh, but Bradley Jr. came through with his second home run of the spring in the bottom half of the frame to keep the deficit at four.

Matt Barnes surrendered one run on two hits and a walk in the eighth, while Matt Strahm stranded two base runners and struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Boston then went down quietly in their half of the ninth, as 7-2 would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Wright

The Red Sox will make one final trip to North Port on Sunday to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park. Nick Pivetta is slated to start for Boston and fellow righty Kyle Wright is in line to do the same for Atlanta.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)