Red Sox reinstate Kaleb Ort from restricted list, call up Josh Winckowski in series of roster moves

Before falling to the Blue Jays by a final score of 10-0 at Rogers Centre on Saturday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, reliever Kaleb Ort was reinstated from the restricted list while right-hander Josh Winckowski was recalled from Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Ort and Winckowski on the active roster, righty Tyler Danish and outfielder Jarren Duran were both optioned following Friday night’s game.

Ort was initially placed on the restricted list on Friday due to the fact that he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Since Canada dropped its vaccine mandate for visitors on Saturday, however, the 30-year-old hurler was able to join the Red Sox in Toronto for the second game of their three-game series against the Jays.

Though he was not used in Saturday’s defeat, Ort carries with him a 6.26 ERA and 4.91 FIP to go along with 27 strikeouts to 15 walks over 24 relief appearances (27 1/3 innings) for Boston this season.

Winckowski, meanwhile, was used out of the bullpen on Saturday. The 24-year-old rookie made the first relief appearance of his major-league career and his first overall appearance since September 4. He allowed three runs on six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across three innings.

Of the 56 pitches Winckowski threw, 36 went for strikes. According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-4, 202-pounder induced seven swings-and-misses and topped out at 96.5 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw 22 times.

As for who the Red Sox sent down, Danish struggled mightily on Friday night. The 28-year-old surrendered four earned runs on five hits and three strikeouts and now owns a 5.13 ERA (4.97 FIP) on the 2022 campaign as a whole.

Duran, on the other hand, was called up to take the place of Ort on Friday. The speedy 26-year-old went 1-for-4 with a single in his fourth — and possibly final — big-league stint of the season before being optioned on Saturday.

Both Danish and Duran will remain on Boston’s taxi squad for the remainder of the road trip in Toronto. The Red Sox are now carrying 14 pitchers and 14 position players on their 28-man roster.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Kaleb Ort on restricted list, call up Jarren Duran from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed reliever Kaleb Ort on the restricted list. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced before Friday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Ort is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore unable to enter Canada legally. That mandate will be dropped by the Canadian government on Saturday, however, so the right-hander will be able to join the Red Sox in Toronto for the final two games of the series at Rogers Centre.

In 24 relief appearances for Boston this season, Ort has posted a 6.26 ERA and 4.91 FIP to go along with 27 strikeouts to 15 walks over 27 1/3 innings of work. The 30-year-old hurler picked up the first save of his big-league career in Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Orioles at Fenway Park.

Rather than replace Ort with another pitcher, the Red Sox opted for a position player in Duran. The speedy 26-year-old missed Boston’s last trip to Toronto due to his unvaccinated status, but he has since received the shots and traveled with the team to Canada on Thursday.

In his first major-league action since late August, Duran will bat leadoff and start in center field for the Red Sox on Friday. The left-handed hitter is currently slashing .220/.283/.365 with 14 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs, 23 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 14 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 57 games (219 plate appearances) this season.

With Duran on the active roster for the time being, the Sox will be carrying catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez, and right-handers Bryan Mata and Josh Winckowski on their taxi squad.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Trevor Story from injured list, option Jarren Duran to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have activated second baseman Trevor Story from the 10-day injured list. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran was optioned to Triple-A Worcester on Friday night, the club announced prior to Saturday’s game against the Rays at Fenway Park.

Story returns after missing the last six-plus weeks with a small hairline fracture near his right wrist. The 29-year-old sustained the injury in St. Petersburg on July 12, when he was hit in the right hand by an 89 mph sinker from Rays starter Corey Kluber.

It took until earlier this month for Story to swing a bat pain-free again. He was sent out on a rehab assignment with Double-A Portland on Wednesday and went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, three RBIs, one walk, and three runs scored over two games for the Sea Dogs. The right-handed hitting infielder was slated to play at Hadlock Field on Friday as well, but that game was rained out.

Coming into play on Saturday, Story has slashed .221/.289/.423 with 17 doubles, 15 home runs, 58 RBIs, 49 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, 28 walks, and 105 strikeouts across 81 games (342 plate appearances) with the Red Sox this season. On the other side of the ball, the two-time All-Star currently ranks first among American League second baseman in Defensive Runs Saved (8) and third in Outs Above Average (9), per FanGraphs.

Duran, meanwhile, has struggled to a .220/.283/.365 clip at the big-league level this season to go along with 14 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs, 23 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 14 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 57 games (219 plate appearances). That includes a .182/.247/.318 slash line in 44 games since July 1.

Regarded by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in Boston’s farm system coming into the 2022 campaign, Duran has continued to impress with his speed but has had his fair share of difficulties in the outfield. The soon-to-be 26-year-old has posted negative-9 defensive runs saved over 408 1/3 innings in center field this season.

While he may have shown some signs of improvement as of late, the Red Sox want Duran to continue to work while playing on a more-frequent basis in Worcester. In 43 games with the WooSox this year, the left-handed hitter has batted .305/.379/.531 with 12 doubles, five triples, six homers, 28 runs driven in, 34 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 20 walks, and 48 strikeouts across 198 trips to the plate.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández homers, Michael Wacha tosses 5 2/3 scoreless innings as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Orioles

The Red Sox held on for a one-run over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Saturday afternoon. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 4-3 to improve to 60-61 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 15th start of the season for the Sox, kept the O’s off the scoreboard while scattering four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 strong innings of work.

There were not too many dramatic moments to be had for Wacha, who retired 11 of the first 14 batters he faced leading into the top half of the fifth inning. To that point in the contest, the Boston bats had been held in check by Baltimore starter Kyle Bradish.

Kevin Plawecki reached base via a one-out single. Christian Arroyo followed with a base hit of his own to put runners on the corners for Alex Verdugo, who promptly roped another single to right field to drive in Plawecki.

An inning later, J.D. Martinez led off against Bradish with a sharply-hit single. After Bobby Dalbec struck out for the first out of the sixth, Enrique Hernandez came through by depositing a 373-foot two-run home run down the left field line.

Hernandez’s fifth home run of the season was the first from any Red Sox hitter since last Sunday. It also gave Boston a 3-0 lead. Wacha, meanwhile, continued to impress before giving up a one-out single to Austin Hays and issuing a two-out walk to Anthony Santander in the bottom of the sixth.

At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to turn to his bullpen. John Schreiber came on in relief of Wacha and officially closed the book on the righty’s outing by stranding both of the runners he inherited with a three-pitch strikeout of Ryan Mountcastle.

Wacha finished with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), inducing seven total swings-and-misses while mixing a four-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, sinker, and curveball. The 31-year-old hurler improved to 8-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.28. He has yet to allow a run since returning from the injured list on August 14.

Schreiber came back out for the seventh and immediately surrendered a leadoff single to Ramon Urias. Jorge Mateo followed with another single to right field, but Jarren Duran made a poor throw back to the infield and missed the cutoff man, which allowed both runners to advance an additional 90 feet.

With runners at second and third for the Orioles now, the pinch-hitting Kyle Stowers plated Urias on a groundout to second base. Mateo then scored on a two-out wild pitch to trim Boston’s advantage down to one run at 3-2.

After Garrett Whitlock worked his way around a one-out single in a scoreless eighth inning, Duran was able to redeem himself in the ninth by reaching on a one-out bunt single off Bryan Baker. With the hit-and-run on, Duran went from first to third on a Plawecki single. He then scored from third on Arroyo’s third hit of the day — an 86.7 mph double to left field.

Arroyo’s RBI double would prove to be an important moment in this game. That being the case because Whitlock yielded a one-out triple to Mateo in the bottom of the ninth. Mateo scored on another Stowers groundout, but Whitlock held it down by getting Rougned Odor to line out to center field to end it.

Whitlock picked up his fifth save of the season while the Red Sox secured a 4-3 victory. Arroyo led the way offensively with three hits while Verdugo, Martinez, and Plawecki all enjoyed two-hit games.

Next up: 2022 Little League Classic on deck

The Red Sox and Orioles will wrap up this three-game weekend series in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday night. In the fifth annual MLB Little League Classic, right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston while fellow righty Dean Kremer will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Greg Flume/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran leads the way with 3 RBIs as Red Sox hold on for 3-2 win over Astros

On a day filled with distractions — and trades — the Red Sox pulled off a come-from-behind victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Monday night.

Boston defeated Houston by a final score 3-2 to improve to 52-52 on the season and win back-to-back games for the first time since July 9-10.

Nathan Eovaldi, in what could be his final start with the Red Sox ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, put together a gritty performance at his hometown ballpark. The veteran right-hander allowed two runs — both of which were unearned — on four hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work.

Both of those runs came in the bottom of the third inning. With the Red Sox already in possession of a 1-0 lead, Jose Altuve led off by reaching first base on a Christian Arroyo fielding error. Yuli Gurriel then grounded into what had the makings to be a 6-4-3 double play, but Xander Bogaerts misplayed the ball, allowing both runners to reach base safely. Yordan Alvarez proceeded to plate Altuve on a game-tying sacrifice fly while Aledmys Diaz drove in Gurriel on an RBI double.

Eovaldi managed to strand Diaz at second base in the process of retiring the next 11 batters he faced. With one out in the seventh, Martin Maldonado lifted a 241-foot flyball to right field that Franchy Cordero could not come up with.

That is how Eovaldi’s night came to a close. The 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 97 (60 strikes), though he only averaged 94.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.81.

Offensively, Jarren Duran accounted for all three of Boston’s runs on Monday. Matched up against Astros righty Luis Garcia, Duran laced a ground-rule RBI double to drive in Bobby Dalbec from second with two outs in the third inning.

Fast forward to the fifth, the Dalbec-Duran combination struck again. With Garcia still on the mound for Houston, Dalbec drew a leadoff walk and Duran once more came up to the plate with two outs.

On a first-pitch, 84 mph cutter from Garcia, Duran crushed a 379-foot two-run shot to right field. Duran’s second home run of the season left his bat at 98.1 mph. It also gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2.

In relief of Eovaldi, John Schreiber received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. With one runner on and two outs to get in the seventh, Schreiber got Altuve to ground into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. He then allowed two of the first three Astros he faced to reach in the eighth before retiring Kyle Tucker and punching out Jeremy Pena on six pitches.

That paved the way for Tanner Houck in the ninth. Houck made relative quick work of the Astros to record his seventh save of the season and his first since June 25.

Next up: Crawford vs. Javier

The Red Sox will go for a rare series win over the Astros on Tuesday night. Kutter Crawford will get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Cristian Javier will do the same for Houston.

First pitch from Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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 blow 4-run lead, drop opener to Cubs, 6-5, as Rich Hill exits due to knee sprain

To kick off their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2012, the Red Sox blew a four-run lead and ultimately fell to the Cubs by a final score of 5-6 on Friday afternoon. Boston has now lost three of its last four games to drop to 43-34 on the season.

Four of the Sox’ first five runs came within the first two innings of Friday’s contest. Matched up against Cubs starter Adrian Sampson, Jarren Duran led the game off by crushing the very first pitch he saw 417 feet to dead center field for his first home run of the year.

An inning later, Trevor Story, Franchy Cordero, and Christian Vazquez all reached base with no outs to leave them loaded for Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley Jr., in turn, laced a bases-clearing, three-run double to the right-center field gap to give his side an early 4-0 lead.

That put Rich Hill, who had already tossed a scoreless first inning, in a pretty encouraging position. Making his 15th start of the season for Boston, Hill got through four innings without giving up a run but ran into some trouble in the fifth.

The veteran left-hander issued a leadoff walk to P.J. Higgins that was immediately followed by a run-scoring triple off the bat of Nelson Velazquez. One batter later, Velazquez scored on an RBI groundout from Christopher Morel.

Hill then issued another free pass to Wilson Contreras, and it was during that plate appearance when he felt his left knee pop. Despite that feeling, Hill stayed in and pitched. But he proceeded to load the bases on a single and hit batsman. That prompted the Red Sox to have Hill leave the game due to what they later diagnosed as a left knee sprain.

Tyler Danish had already been warming up in the Boston bullpen, and so he was called upon to take over for the injured starter. Danish officially closed the book on Hill’s outing by walking in a run that cut Chicago’s deficit to 4-3. He then got Alfonso Rivas to fly out to avoid any further damage.

Hill’s final line (3 earned runs on three hits, four walks, one hit batsman, and three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings) was not indicative of how well he pitched. It remains to be seen if the 42-year-old will require a trip to the injured list on account of his sprained knee.

While they saw their lead trimmed down to just one run, the Sox did respond in their half of the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Duran ripped a single to center field that plated Story. Vazquez also attempted to score on the play but was instead gunned down at home by Rafael Ortega. And so the Red Sox had to settle for a 5-3 lead, which evidently did not last long.

That being the case because after quickly recording the first two outs of the bottom of the sixth, Hansel Robles walked Simmons and then served up a game-tying, two-run home run to Christopher Morel. Robles remained in the game and loaded the bases before getting the hook in favor of Jake Diekman.

Diekman proceeded to spike a wild pitch in the dirt that got past Vazquez and allowed Contreras to score from third to give the Cubs their first lead of the day at 6-5.

From that point forward, Hirokazu Sawamura pitched admirably out of the Boston ‘pen, but so did Scott Effross, Chris Martin, and David Robertson for Chicago.

Red Sox hitters reached base just one time over the final three innings of Friday’s loss. After Martin stranded Alex Verdugo by striking out the side in the eighth, Robertson slammed the door in the ninth and earned his 10th save of the season by doing so.

All told, the Sox lineup went a collective 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team. The Sox bullpen, meanwhile, allowed six walks in just 3 1/3 innings of work.

Next up: Winckowski vs. Mills

As the Red Sox look to avoid their second straight series loss, they will turn to rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski to get the start on Saturday night. The Cubs will counter with fellow righty Alec Mills.

First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Rich Hill:  Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Red Sox reinstate Tanner Houck and Jarren Duran from restricted list, designate Silvino Bracho for assignment

The Red Sox have reinstated right-hander Tanner Houck and outfielder Jarren Duran from the restricted list, the team announced Thursday afternoon. In order to make room for Houck and Duran on the 26- and 40-man rosters, infielder Yolmer Sanchez was returned to Triple-A Worcester while reliever Silvino Bracho was designated for assignment.

Houck and Duran were unable to travel with the Red Sox to Toronto for their series against the Blue Jays since they are both not vaccinated against COVID-19. They instead spent the last three days working out at Fenway Park before re-joining the team in Chicago for their upcoming bout with the Cubs.

Because of their unvaccinated status, Houck and Duran were placed on the restricted list on Monday and did not receive any pay or service time while they were on it. In their place, Sanchez and righty Connor Seabold were called up from Worcester.

Sanchez got the start at second base on Wednesday and went 0-for-1 with a sacrifice bunt and walk before being pinch-hit for by Bobby Dalbec in the ninth inning of a 6-5 win.

Seabold made his second career start in Monday’s series opener at Rogers Centre, allowing seven runs on nine hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work. The 26-year-old was optioned back down to the minors that night, but remains with the big-league club as a member of their taxi squad and is likely to start against the Cubs on Sunday.

In Seabold’s place, Bracho — who had been on Boston’s taxi squad — was activated on Tuesday to provide the Sox with an extra bullpen arm for their final two games against the Jays. The 29-year-old did not make an appearance despite spending two days on the major-league roster, however, and has now lost his spot on the 40-man.

Unlike Sanchez, who as a COVID-related substitute for Duran was able to be taken off the 40-man roster and returned to Worcester without being exposed to waivers, Bracho was expectedly designated for assignment since he was not directly filling in for a player on the restricted list.

By designating Bracho, the Red Sox created the opening they needed to add Houck back to both the 26-man and 40-man rosters. Boston will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Bracho, who has posted a 3.16 ERA and 2.58 FIP with 36 strikeouts to four walks in 18 appearances (1 start) spanning 31 1/3 innings of work for the WooSox this season.

That being said, the native Venezuelan has the ability to reject an outright assignment to Worcester if he goes unclaimed since he has accrued more than three years of big-league service time.

All told, the Red Sox’ big-league and 40-man roster is at full capacity heading into this weekend’s series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)