Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran tests positive for COVID-19

Jarren Duran has tested positive for COVID-19, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced following Friday night’s 8-5 win over the Indians at Fenway Park.

Leading up to Friday’s series opener, Duran had been penciled in to bat seventh and start in center field for the Sox, but the top prospect was scratched from Boston’s lineup a few hours before first pitch on account of exhibiting COVID-like symptoms.

Later placed on the COVID-19 related injured list so that catcher Connor Wong could be recalled from Triple-A Worcester, it turns out Duran has indeed tested positive for coronavirus.

“He’ll be out for a while,” Cora said Friday night in regards to the rookie outfielder.

Duran, who turns 25 on Sunday, becomes the ninth player the Red Sox have had to place on the COVID-related IL since last Friday as well as the eighth player to test positive.

Enrique Hernandez and Christian Arroyo tested positive for COVID-19 while the Sox were in Cleveland, and Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Josh Taylor, Xander Bogaerts, and Yairo Munoz all tested positive while the team was in Tampa Bay.

On top of that, quality control coach Ramon Vazquez and strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose have also returned positive results, while Josh Taylor and first base coach Tom Goodwin are quarantining since they were identified as close contacts.

Because he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, Duran will be forced to quarantine for the next 10 days, meaning the soonest the speedster could return to action would be Monday September 13.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Duran will be able to come back after the minimum 10 days, or if he will require more time. We will have to wait and see on that.

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

Red Sox place Jarren Duran on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the Indians at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox placed outfielder Jarren Duran on the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, catcher Connor Wong was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Friday evening.

Duran, who turns 25 on Sunday, was originally slated to bat seventh and start in center field for the Sox in Friday’s series opener, but was later scratched on account of his feeling under the weather.

“Duran is not feeling well, so he’s going through with his testing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said when speaking with reporters. “Obviously, he won’t be here with us today. We’ll know more hopefully later today or in the third inning, I guess, you know? We’ll know. But he doesn’t feel great, so we’ll go through the process.”

The speedy top prospect previously spent time on the COVID-19 related injured list when the Sox were in Toronto last month, but did not test positive for the virus. He was also optioned to Worcester last Tuesday, though he was quickly recalled when fellow outfielder Hunter Renfroe was placed on the bereavement list.

At the moment, it is not yet known if Duran has tested positive for coronavirus this time around. If that is the case, however, the 24-year-old would be forced into a mandatory quarantine that would keep him out of action for a minimum of 10 days.

Regardless, Duran becomes the ninth player the Red Sox have had to place on the COVID-related IL since last Friday, as he joins the likes of Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Josh Taylor, Xander Bogaerts, and Yairo Munoz.

Hernandez, Arroyo, Perez, Barnes, Sawamura, Bogaerts, and Munoz — as well as quality control coach Ramon Vazquez and strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose — have all tested positive, while Taylor and first base coach Tom Goodwin have been away from the team since they were identified as close contacts.

Wong, on the other hand, will join the Red Sox for the sixth time this season and for the first time since mid-August.

While up with Boston on several occasions this season, Wong has gone 4-for-13 (.308) at the plate with one triple, one RBI, three runs scored, one walk, and seven strikeouts over six games (14 plate appearances) dating back to June 22.

In a torrid month of August with the WooSox, the 25-year-old backstop slashed an impressive .372/.386/.651 (174 wRC+) to go along with three home runs and 11 RBI in 11 games spanning 44 trips to the plate.

Regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system, Wong becomes the third catcher on the Red Sox’ 28-man major-league roster behind Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran scratched from Red Sox lineup after exhibiting COVID-like symptoms

Jarren Duran was originally batting seventh and starting in center field in Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup for the team’s series opener against the Indians at Fenway Park on Friday night, but has since been scratched.

The reason being, Duran is feeling under the weather — as he is experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms and has subsequently been sent home while the Red Sox await his test results.

“Duran is not feeling well, so he’s going through with his testing,” Cora said when speaking with reporters earlier Friday evening. “Obviously, he won’t be here with us today. We’ll know more hopefully later today or in the third inning, I guess, you know? We’ll know. But he doesn’t feel great, so we’ll go through the process.”

Duran, who was most recently recalled from Triple-A Worcester last Thursday to take fellow outfielder Hunter Renfroe’s spot on Boston’s major-league roster, previously spent two days on the COVID-19 related injured list in early August.

At that time, the soon-to-be 25-year-old top prospect had been exhibiting COVID-like symptoms while the Sox were in Toronto, but did not test positive for the virus.

If Duran were to test positive for COVID-19 this time around, though, he would become the eighth Red Sox player to do since last Friday.

Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Xander Bogaerts, and Yairo Munoz are all currently on the COVID-19 related injured list on account of testing positive, while Josh Taylor is on there since he was identified as a close contact.

Additionally, quality control coach Ramon Vazquez and strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose  both netted positive test results, while first base coach Tom Goodwin — like Taylor — is quarantining as a close contact.

With Duran being removed from Boston’s starting lineup on Friday, Alex Verdugo has moved from left field to center field, Kyle Schwarber has moved from first base to left field, and Bobby Dalbec has taken over at first base.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Nathan Eovaldi as they look to kick off the long weekend by extending their winning streak to three consecutive games.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran comes through with game-winning RBI single as Red Sox halt skid with 3-2 victory over Rays

After wrapping up their first losing month of the season on Tuesday, the Red Sox were able to open the month of September with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night.

Chris Sale, making his fourth start of the season and fourth since returning from Tommy John surgery, was not at his sharpest while going up against his toughest opponent to date, but was still effective nonetheless.

Over six solid innings of work to set a new season-high in that category, Sale surrendered just two runs — both of which were earned on six hits, two walks, and two hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts on the evening.

In addition to that, the Sox gave Sale an early lead to work with in the top half of the second.

Matched up against Rays starter Drew Rasmussen, Alex Verdugo ripped a one-out triple to center field and was promptly driven in on an RBI single off the bat of Christian Vazquez.

Both runs Sale gave up, meanwhile, came on one swing of the bat an inning later, as the veteran left-hander served up a two-run home run to Wander Franco with two outs in the inning.

Besides that one blunder that put Boston in a 2-1 hole, Sale managed to maneuver his way around some traffic on the base paths to the point where he kept the Tampa Bay offense off the board over his final three innings pitched.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (57 strikes) to set another season-high, the 32-year-old hurler did not factor into Wednesday’s decision, though this particular outing may be his most encouraging of the season thus far.

Moments after Sale’s outing came to an end, Vazquez continued to build on his productive night at the plate by demolishing a one-out, 389-foot solo shot off Rays reliever and former teammate Collin McHugh on the very first pitch he saw in the top of the seventh.

Vazquez’s sixth big fly of the season pulled the Red Sox even with the Rays at two runs apiece, and the score would remain that way for quite some time.

In relief of Sale, Garrett Whitlock got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to begin things in the seventh and immediately gave up a leadoff double to Joey Wendle.

Wendle proceeded to advance to third on a fly out to center field, but also attempted to score from third on a sharply-hit ground ball to the left side of the infield off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

Rafael Devers, however, had different plans, as he — with the help from Vazquez behind the plate — gunned down Wendle at home to preserve the stalemate.

In the eighth, Whitlock was put into just about the exact same situation when he yielded another leadoff double to Franco, who moved up to third on a groundout.

Once more, though, the Rays’ base running bailed out the Red Sox, as Franco attempted to score on a grounder from Manuel Margot, but was instead thrown out at home by shortstop Jonathan Arauz.

Having halted Tampa Bay’s momentum in two consecutive innings, the Boston bats broke out in their half of the ninth, where Devers proved to be the catalyst by lacing a leadoff single off Pete Fairbanks.

Devers was able to move up into scoring position on an infield single from a hustling Verdugo, ultimately putting the potential go-ahead run at second base with two outs for Jarren Duran.

Duran, at that point, was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, but came through when it mattered most by sneaking an RBI single through the right side of the infield to bring in Devers from second to make it a 3-2 game.

Given a brand-new one-run lead to protect, Adam Ottavino got the call for the ninth, and he shut the door on the Rays by retiring the side in order to notch his 11th save of the season and secure the 3-2 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox snap their three-game losing streak to improve to 76-59 on the season as well as 4-0 in games started by Sale. Their lead over the Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot also increased to two full games.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. McClanahan

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound on Thursday as they look to head back to Boston having secured a four-game series split with their division rivals.

The Rays, meanwhile, will turn to fellow southpaw Shane McClanahan, who will be making his 21st start of the season for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Red Sox recall Tanner Houck from Triple-A Worcester, option Jarren Duran

Before opening up a three-game series against the Twins at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Tanner Houck from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran was optioned to Worcester, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Houck will make his eighth start and 10th overall appearance of the season for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener against Minnesota. Through nine outings (eight starts) at the major-league level this year, the 25-year-old has posted a 3.12 ERA and 2.54 xFIP to go along with 46 strikeouts and seven walks over 34 2/3 innings pitched.

In his last time out, Houck served as the Sox’ 27th man in last Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees in the Bronx. The righty allowed two earned runs on five hits, zero walks, and two strikeouts in four innings of work during the day cap of the twin bill and was promptly returned to Worcester shortly thereafter.

Under normal circumstances, the Red Sox would have to wait 10 days to recall Houck again, but they took advantage of the fact he was used as the 27th man for a doubleheader to call him back up after just one week.

In order to create a spot for Houck on the major-league roster, Duran winds up getting sent down to the WooSox.

Originally beginning the season with Worcester, Duran earned a big-league promotion during the All-Star break on July 16 after lighting it up against Triple-A pitching.

Making his major-league debut a day later, the speedy 24-year-old has since slashed .221/.236/.372 (56 wRC+) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, eight RBI, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, two walks, and 33 strikeouts over his first 27 games (89 plate appearances) with Boston.

Despite seeing the ball better lately (.313 batting average going back to August 13), Duran had seen his playing time take a hit in the wake of Kyle Schwarber making his Red Sox debut earlier this month.

With Schwarber making his first start in left field in Monday’s 8-4 win over the Rangers after solely being used as a designated hitter in his first six starts with the team, Duran’s role was essentially reduced as he slid down the outfield depth chart.

By optioning him down to Worcester, the Red Sox ensure that Duran will get more regular playing time and at-bats as opposed to the limited opportunities he was and would be getting at the big-league level.

Duran, who turns 25 in early September, is still regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among outfielders in the organization.

Prior to getting called up in July, the former 2018 seventh-round draft pick was hitting a solid .270/.365/.561 to go along with eight doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 24 walks, and 52 strikeouts across 46 games (219 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

Because Duran is a member of the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, it seems likely that the speedster would be a candidate to re-join the team once rosters expand from 26 to 28 players on September 1.

Of course, the soonest he could be called up again would be next Friday, September 3 (10 days from Tuesday), so there is that to consider as well.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox have No. 9 farm system in baseball, per Baseball America

The Red Sox now have one of the more prominent farm systems in baseball, according to Baseball America.

In their latest midseason organizational talent rankings, Baseball America ranks Boston’s farm system as the ninth-best in Major League Baseball as things stand today.

Ranking behind the Mariners, Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Giants, Tigers, Rays, and Reds and ahead of the Blue Jays to round out the top 10, the Sox’ minor-league pipeline at present includes three of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in first baseman Triston Casas (No. 20), outfielder Jarren Duran (No. 22), and shortstop Marcelo Mayer (No. 32).

“First baseman Triston Casas looks like a potential middle-of-the-order cornerstone who can hit for average and power,” BA noted of Boston’s farm system on Monday. “The addition of shortstop Marcelo Mayer with the fourth pick in the draft gave the Red Sox an immediate jolt of impact talent.”

Coming into the 2021 season, the Sox were in possession of the No. 20 farm system in baseball, which is the same exact ranking they received in the spring of 2020 as well.

What can be attributed to Boston’s rise from No. 20 to No. 9 in the span of just a little more than six months?

Well, as previously noted, selecting Mayer, who was regarded as arguably the top prep prospect going into this summer’s draft, with the fourth overall pick certainly helps.

Casas, meanwhile, made a name for himself at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as he slashed .217/.308/.652 with a team-leading three home runs and eight RBI over six games while helping Team USA win a silver medal and being named the tournament’s best first baseman in the process of doing so.

As for Duran, the speedy outfielder came into the season as one of Boston’s more exciting prospects after what he did in spring training, then — like Casas — gained more notoriety as he helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics, but was not named to the United States’ final roster.

That being the case because the Red Sox would call up Duran from Triple-A Worcester on July 16. The 24-year-old has since hit .215/.232/.367/.599 through his first 23 games in the majors, though he is batting .282 (11-for-39) since August 3.

In addition to what Mayer, Casas, and Duran have done, the contributions from 2020 first-round pick Nick Yorke, 2017 first-round pick Tanner Houck, and international signees such as Brayan Bello, Miguel Bleis, and Wilkelman Gonzalez cannot be forgotten about, either.

All in all, as the Red Sox look to contend for an American League East title this year, they are also putting in the necessary work to ensure a promising future for the organization by bolstering an ever-improving farm system.

That is something chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has hammered home since he joined the Sox in 2019, and it appears as though his vision has netted some encouraging results less than two full years into his tenure in Boston.

(Picture of Triston Casas: KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec leads the way offensively as Red Sox clobber Orioles, 8-1

The Red Sox opened a portion of their schedule on Friday that they absolutely need to take advantage of, and they got off to a strong start by kicking off the weekend with a blowout 8-1 victory over the lowly Orioles at Fenway Park.

Matched up against O’s rookie starter Spenser Watkins to begin things on Friday, the Sox lineup — after being held to one run on Thursday — broke out for four runs alone in the bottom of the second inning, and the rally started with a leadoff single off the bat of Hunter Renfroe.

Kyle Schwarber, making his Red Sox debut Friday, followed by drawing a six-pitch walk off Watkins, while Kevin Plawecki advanced both runners an additional 90 feet to fill the bases with no outs.

That set the stage for a pair of rookies to take over, and they did just that, as Jarren Duran plated his side’s first run on an RBI single and Bobby Dalbec got a productive night at the plate started by lacing a two-run double off the top of the scoreboard at the base of the Green Monster.

Dalbec’s laser, which had an exit velocity of 113.3 mph, made it a 3-0 game and flipped the lineup for leadoff hitter Enrique Hernandez, who proceeded to rip a sacrifice fly that was hit deep enough to left field to bring in Duran from third.

Boston’s four-run second proved to be a comfortable cushion for Nick Pivetta, who put together his second straight quality outing in what was his 23rd start of the season.

Over six quality innings of work, the right-hander yielded just one earned run while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

The lone run Pivetta surrendered to the Orioles came by way of the home run ball, as he served up a 320-foot solo shot to Richie Martin that just snuck past Pesky’s Pole in right field to lead things off in the top of the third inning.

Martin’s homer cut the Sox’ deficit down to three runs, but they got that run right back in the home half of the frame when Schwarber and Plawecki each drew two-out walks and Duran plated Schwarber on another RBI double to right field.

Xander Bogaerts tacked on another run in the fourth, with the star shortstop clubbing his 18th home run of the season that just snuck over the Monster and put the Sox up 6-1.

Given another sizable lead to work with, Pivetta was able to keep the O’s off the board over his final three innings on the mound and retired nine of the final 11 hitters he faced with Renfroe robbing DJ Stewart of a home run in the top of the fourth in the process of doing so.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (63 strikes) the 28-year-old hurler was able to pick up his ninth winning decision of the season while also lowering his ERA on the year down to 4.20.

While Pivetta’s night was done after six innings, the Sox offense was not finished yet, as Dalbec mashed his 12th home run of the season (a 411-foot solo shot to dead center field) in the bottom half of the sixth and Renfroe followed by crushing his 20th big fly of the season (a 423-foot solo shot over everything in left field) in the bottom half of the seventh.

Those two mammoth homers gave the Red Sox an 8-1 advantage, and Garrett Richards — working in relief of Pivetta and out of the bullpen for the first time this season — closed things out with three scoreless innings from the seventh through the ninth to secure the 8-1 victory and earn his first save of the year.

All in all, Renfroe, Plawecki, Duran, and Dalbec (Boston’s 5, 7, 8, and 9 hitters) combined to go 9-for-15 (.600) at the plate on Friday with two homers, six RBI, and five runs scored.

Schwarber went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks, two runs scored, and a strikeout in his Sox debut.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 67-51 on the season, though they remain five games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Sale Day on Saturday

For the first time in just over two years, ace left-hander Chris Sale will make his return from Tommy John surgery and take the mound for the Red Sox in the middle game of this three-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon.

Sale is scheduled to face off against Orioles right-hander Jorge Lopez.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

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

Red Sox place Jarren Duran on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Jonathan Araúz from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening up a four-game weekend series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Friday night, the Red Sox placed rookie outfielder Jarren Duran on the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, infielder Jonathan Arauz was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon.

Duran becomes the second Boston player to be placed on the COVID-related injured list during the team’s current road trip.

All-Star closer Matt Barnes, who is vaccinated against the virus, was placed on the COVID IL on Tuesday in Detroit due to his feeling under the weather, but only missed one day of action after testing negative Tuesday night and being activated on Wednesday.

Duran, on the other hand, is experiencing COVID-like symptoms but has yet to test positive for the virus. As was the case with Barnes in Detroit, Duran is quarantining at the team’s hotel in Toronto and awaiting further testing, according to Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

If Duran’s PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test comes back negative later Friday night, he could be activated from the COVID IL at any time.

If the 24-year-old top prospect tests positive, however, he will remain on the COVID-related injured list and additionally will be placed in mandatory quarantine for at least 10 days. That, in turn, would result in the Red Sox triggering more virus-related protocols.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox were tested for COVID-19 as a team upon arriving in Canada on Thursday night. Duran is awaiting final word.

Duran’s agent, Barrett Arthur of BJB Group, has informed The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that his client “has had multiple negative tests for COVID-19” and that “his placement on the COVID-19 injury list, as of now, is based purely on symptoms.”

Regardless, with Duran out of Boston’s lineup for Friday night’s series opener against the Blue Jays at the minimum, Enrique Hernandez will get the start in center field in the speedster’s place.

Arauz, meanwhile, is recalled from Worcester just two days after he was sent down at the time Barnes was activated from the COVID IL himself.

A member of the Sox’ taxi squad for their longest road trip of the season, Arauz is back up with Boston for the third time this year.

In his second and most recent stint with the big-league club, which spanned from July 30 through August 4, the 23-year-old appeared in three games, going 2-for-6 (.333) at the plate with one walk and two strikeouts over seven trips to the plate while playing second base and serving as a pinch-runner.

If Duran is able to return from the COVID-19 related injured list at any point this weekend, one would have to assume Arauz would once again get sent down to the WooSox in a corresponding move.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Reds right-hander José De León to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed right-hander Jose De Leon to a minor-league contract, De Leon himself announced on Twitter Thursday.

“Since ‘97, when I started playing baseball, I always dreamed about being a Red Sox,” De Leon wrote Thursday morning. “Today, the dream of that little kid from Isabela, Puerto Rico, becomes reality. So kids, never stop dreaming! We’re back #OnAMission.”

De Leon, who turns 29 on Saturday, was released by the Reds on July 23 after being designated for assignment on July 19.

Across nine appearances (two starts) with Cincinnati this season, the righty posted an 8.35 ERA and 4.53 FIP to go along with 33 strikeouts and 11 walks over 18 1/3 total innings pitched from April 5 through May 4.

Optioned to Triple-A Louisville on May 5, De Leon put up an ERA of 4.63 — but a much more respectable 3.02 FIP — in 12 outings spanning 11 2/3 innings of work with the Bats prior to getting DFA’d.

A native of Isabela, Puerto Rico, the 6-foot-2, 215 pound hurler was originally selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Southern University. He was traded to the Rays in January 2017 in exchange for Logan Forsythe, missed the entirety of the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery that March, and was later traded to the Reds in November 2019 in exchange for cash considerations and a player to be named later.

Once regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, De Leon made his major-league debut with the Dodgers in September 2016 and has appeared in a grand total of 22 games (six starts) at the big-league level between Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.

In those 22 outings, De Leon has pitched to the tune of an 8.44 ERA and 5.98 FIP while striking out 27.7% and walking 14.5% of the batters he has faced. He also owns a lifetime 3.35 ERA at the Triple-A level.

Per Baseball Savant, De Leon operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, changeup, and slider. He has also utilized a four-seam fastball in the past.

While it’s unclear at the moment which affiliate De Leon is report to (likely Triple-A Worcester), one thing is for certain: the right-hander does represent some intriguing pitching depth for a club that is seemingly in need of it at the moment.

On top of that, De Leon played alongside Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran and for Red Sox quality control coach Ramon Vazquez for Criollos de Caguas (Alex Cora’s hometown team) of the Puerto Rican Winter League last winter, so there is certainly some familiarity there.

Red Sox crush 3 homers, punch out season-high 18 batters in 4-1 win over Tigers to snap 5-game skid

After a few stressful days, the Red Sox can breathe a collective sigh of relief as they put their five-game losing streak behind them with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday night.

Former Tigers All-Star J.D. Martinez gave the Sox an early lead in the middle game of this three-game series, as he crushed a 410 foot solo shot off Detroit starter and former first overall draft pick Casey Mize to lead things off in the top half of the second inning.

Martinez’s 21st home run of the season put Boston up 1-0, and they added more on to that later on in the fifth.

There, with Mize still on the hill for Detroit, Hunter Renfroe ripped a line-drive double to lead off the inning, while Franchy Cordero struck out and Christian Vazquez flew out for the first two outs.

At that time, the Red Sox had gone 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and it appeared as though they were going to let another scoring opportunity go to waste.

Enrique Hernandez had other plans, however, as he took a 3-2, 87 mph slider down the heart of the plate from Mize and deposited it 426 feet to deep left-center field for his 15th big fly of the year — a two-run blast.

Moments later, Jarren Duran followed with a solo shot of his own, this time taking Mize 355 feet down the left field line for his second big-league homer — and first since July 19.

Hernandez and Duran going back-to-back gave Boston the 4-0 lead over Detroit, and that four-run edge was more than enough for Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez to work with.

Rodriguez, making his 21st start of the season for Boston, put together his best outing since being removed from his July 23 start against the Yankees early due to migraine symptoms.

Over five solid, scoreless innings of work on Wednesday, the left-hander kept the Tigers off the board while scattering just two hits and four walks to go along with a season-high 10 strikeouts on the night.

Right out of the gate, Rodriguez ran into some early trouble in the bottom of the first when he issued a one-out walk to Jonathan Schoop that was followed by a hard-hit single off the bat of Robbie Grossman to put runners on the corners. But Rodriguez escaped the jam by fanning Miguel Cabrera and Eric Haase in consecutive order.

While he did deal with his fair share of traffic the rest of the way, the Venezuelan southpaw did manage to limit the damage in that he did not allow a single run to cross the plate.

The fifth inning presented one final challenge for Rodriguez, as he walked two of the first four hitters he faced in the frame before getting Grossman to punch out to retire the side and end his evening on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (64 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler ultimately earned his eighth winning decision of the year while also lowering his ERA to 5.33.

In relief of Rodriguez, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he danced his way around a tight spot by recording a pair of potentially game-altering strikeouts.

From there, Josh Taylor got the first two outs of the seventh before serving up a solo home run to Schoop to trim Boston’s lead down to three runs at 4-1.

That — and a six-pitch walk of Grossman — resulted in Adam Ottavino taking over for Taylor, and the veteran righty did his job by getting Cabrera to fly out to end the seventh while also striking out a pair in a scoreless bottom of the eighth.

With a three-run lead to protect going into the ninth, Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, freshly activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, was deposited for his first outing in exactly a week, and he slammed the door on the Tigers to notch his 24th save of the season while also locking down the 4-1 victory for his side.

All in all, five Boston pitchers combined to punch out a season-high 18 Detroit hitters on Wednesday night.

With the win, not only do the Sox snap a brutal five-game skid, but they also improve to 64-45 on the season to remain one game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Perez vs. Skubal

The Red Sox will send veteran left-hander Martin Perez to the hill as they go for the series win over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.

Detroit will counter with rookie lefty Tarik Skubal, who has yet to face off against Boston since making his major-league debut last August.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe and Enrique Hernandez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)