Martín Pérez allows 3 runs in just 1 1/3 innings as Red Sox get blown out by Tigers, 8-1, in series finale

Any good vibes the Red Sox accumulated while snapping their five-game losing streak on Wednesday night were immediately wiped off the board in Thursday’s series finale against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

The Sox fell to the Tigers by a final score of 8-1, dropping the three-game series in the process of getting hit with their sixth loss in their last seven games.

Martin Perez, making his 21st start of the season for Boston, was hit hard in what was his shortest outing of the year to date.

Managing to record just four outs, the veteran left-hander surrendered three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, zero walks, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts over his 1 1/3 innings of work.

Right out of the gate, Perez was rudely greeted by Detroit, as he served up a leadoff home run to Robbie Grossman to begin things in the very first inning.

More leadoff trouble did Perez in in the second, with Victor Reyes leading off with a triple and Zack Short following with a sacrifice fly to give his side the early 2-0 lead.

After yielding back-to-back singles to the Tigers’ No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Perez plunked Grossman on a 90 mph cutter that subsequently ended his day much sooner than expected.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 37 (25 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler raised his ERA on the season to 4.77 in what could very well be one of — if not his last start in a Red Sox uniform for the time being.

In relief of Perez, Phillips Valdez got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he inherited quite a mess with the bases loaded and two outs to get in the second.

Valdez officially closed the book on Perez’s start by allowing one of those inherited runners to score on a groundout, making it a 3-0 game in favor of Detroit. He did, however, fan Miguel Cabrera to get out of the second inning before tossing two more scoreless frames.

From there, Hansel Robles got roughed up for the first time since being traded to the Red Sox, as he served up a two-run, ground-rule double to Jeimer Candelario in the fifth that was followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Reyes. Both back-breaking hits came with two outs in the inning.

Fellow deadline acquisition Austin Davis did not fare much better over the next two innings, with the lefty issuing a run-scoring base hit to Jonathan Schhop in the sixth as well as an RBI groundout to Reyes in the seventh that put Detroit up 8-0.

Yacksel Rios took over for Davis with two outs in the seventh, and he ended the inning while also striking out one in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, though it did not make much of a difference in the end.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Tigers rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal, making his first ever start against Boston.

Dealt a 3-0 deficit after just two innings, the Sox really were not able to get much going against Skubal.

They had an early opportunity in their half of the third, with Enrique Hernandez reaching base via a one-out walk and Rafael Devers following with an infield single. Both runners advanced an additional 90 feet on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, but J.D. Martinez was called out on strikes and Xander Bogaerts lined out to extinguish the threat.

All in all, the Boston bats went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position against Skubal and three Detroit relievers, with Alex Verdugo taking responsibility for his side’s lone run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly that brought in Franchy Cordero from third base.

That cut the Sox’ deficit down to seven runs at 8-1, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 64-46 on the season while dropping to 1 1/2 games back of an idle Tampa Bay Rays team for first place in the American League East.

Next up: On to Canada

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto as they head north of the border for the first time in nearly two full years for the start of what has the makings to be a pivotal four-game weekend series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Friday night.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be matched up against fellow righty Alek Manoah for Toronto.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox need to turn things around quickly.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

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)

Red Sox see losing streak grow to 5 straight games as they drop series opener to Tigers, 4-2

Looking to turn around their fortunes after a winless start to their longest road trip of the season, the Red Sox were unable to get it done in the first of three at Comerica Park in Detroit, as they quietly fell to the Tigers by a final score of 4-2 to mark their fifth consecutive loss.

Matched up against Tigers starter Wily Peralta, the Sox actually jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a J.D. Martinez RBI single in the first and Hunter Renfroe solo homer in the second inning, but were not able to push across anything after that.

Red Sox starter Garrett Richards, meanwhile, was once again underwhelming in allowing three earned runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work.

After being handed that early two-run cushion to work with, Richards gave one of those runs right back to the Tigers in the bottom half of the second when he served up a solo shot to Miguel Cabrera, marking the 498th career home run for the future Hall of Famer.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Detroit threatened once more, this time loading the bases off Richards without recording an out before Harold Castro drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly.

To his credit, Richards escaped the fourth without giving anything else up, but the veteran right-hander saw his night come to an end an inning later when he issued a leadoff walk to the Tigers’ No. 9 hitter — Derek Hill — that was followed by a hard-hit RBI double off the bat of Akil Baddoo, thus putting Detroit ahead, 3-2.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (46 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler, who ultimately raised his ERA on the season up to an unsightly 5.21, was given the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura.

Sawamura got out of the fifth with the help of an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, while Hansel Robles punched out the side in a scoreless bottom half of the sixth.

The Tigers, however, tacked on an important insurance run in their half of the seventh right after the Sox had failed to even things up in the top of the inning.

With Yacksel Rios on the mound for Boston, a two-out double from Jonathan Schoop proved to be the catalyst for Detroit as Robbie Grossman followed with a run-scoring single to make it a 4-2 contest.

Austin Davis kept the deficit at two by keeping the Tigers off the board in the eighth, thus giving the Sox a fighting chance in the top half of the ninth with closer Gregory Soto in for Detroit.

Christian Vazquez flew out and a pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec punched out for the first two outs of the frame, but in a tough left-on-left matchup, Jarren Duran was able to reach base via an infield single to bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of Rafael Devers.

Devers, however, struck out on five pitches, with the fifth and final pitch from Soto being a nasty 2-2, 101 mph sinker on the outer half of the plate.

All in all, the Sox did record nine hits on Tuesday night, but went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine runners on base as a team.

With the 4-2 loss — their fifth straight, Boston falls to 63-45 on the season, though they remain just one game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Mize

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill in the second game of this three-game set on Wednesday as they look to put a halt to this five-game skid.

Rodriguez, in turn, will be opposed by Tigers rookie right-hander and 2018 first overall draft pick Casey Mize.

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

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Red Sox swept by Rays following 3-2 defeat; Boston extends losing streak to season-high 4 straight games

After Xander Bogaerts essentially described Sunday night’s series finale against the Rays as a must-win, the Red Sox came up short at Tropicana Field and were unable to avoid a three-game series sweep at the hands of their division rivals by a final score of 3-2.

Nick Pivetta, making his 21st start of the season for the Sox, took a perfect game into the third inning after sitting down each of the first eight batters he faced in order.

A two-out walk to the Rays’ No. 9 hitter in the bottom of the third, however, altered the course for Pivetta, as he saw his no-hit bid come to an end moments later by serving up a two-run home run to Brandon Lowe on a 3-2, 85 mph slider that was grooved down the heart of the plate.

Lowe’s blast put Tampa Bay up 2-0, but the Boston bats were able to cut that deficit in half in the top of the fourth. There, when matched up against tough Rays starter Shane McClanahan, ex-Rays outfielder Hunter Renfroe put a charge into his 16th big fly of the year.

Renfroe turned around a 2-2, 97 mph fastball from McClanahan and deposited it 427 feet to deep center field. The solo shot, which had an exit velocity of 104 mph, made it a 2-1 game in favor of the Rays.

The Sox had a chance to do more damage in the inning, with Christian Vazquez ripping a one-out single and Alex Verdugo advancing him into scoring position by drawing a walk, but McClanahan rallied by getting Kevin Plawecki to fly out and Bobby Dalbec to strike out to escape the jam.

Pivetta, meanwhile, got through a scoreless fourth inning unscathed, but ran into more trouble in the fifth when he yielded a leadoff single to rookie phenom Wander Franco.

A wild pitch from the right-hander allowed Franco to move up to second base, and old friend Manuel Margot took full advantage of that miscue by lacing a run-scoring single to right field to bring in Franco and make it a 3-1 contest in favor of his side.

Following that sequence, Pivetta was able to record the first two outs of the fifth, but his night ended then and there when Red Sox manager Alex Cora gave him the hook with the left-handed hitting Lowe due up next for the Rays.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (54 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler wound up surrendering three earned runs on three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor was called upon to face Lowe, and he won that particular matchup by getting him to pop out into foul territory to retire the side.

From there, recently-acquired reliever Hansel Robles made his Red Sox debut in the sixth inning, and he maneuvered his way around a leadoff single by inducing a fielder’s choice out and 3-6-3 double play in his lone scoreless frame of work.

The Rays turned to their bullpen starting in the seventh after McClanahan had given them six strong innings, and Verdugo greeted their first reliever of the night — Drew Rasmussen — by lining a scorching 111 mph double down the right field line to lead things off.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Plawecki fly out and scored on a wild pitch while Kiké Hernández, but even after Hernández himself singled and Rafael Devers drew a walk with two outs, a slumping J.D. Martinez was unable to bring in either runner and instead grounded into a force out to leave things at 3-2 in favor of Tampa Bay.

Following two scoreless innings of relief from Garrett Whitlock in which he scattered three total hits thanks to some stellar defense behind him out of the bullpen, the Red Sox were down to their final three outs going into their half of the ninth inning.

With righty reliever Matt Wisler on the mound for the Rays, Plawecki and Jarren Duran (pinch-hitting for Dalbec) grounded out and punched out, respectively. But Hernández provided a spark by reaching base on a two-out single.

The pinch-running Jonathan Arauz took over for Hernández as the base runner at first base, and Devers was able to advance him all the way up to third on another base hit to center field, leaving things in the hands of Martinez.

Very much in need of a hit, Martinez got ahead in the count against Wisler at 3-1, but swung at an outside pitch that likely would have been a ball before putting an 81 mph slider that was down and away in play.

Unfortunately for Martinez, the ball left his bat at just 71 mph and traveled a mere 226 feet before landing in the glove of Margot for the third and final out of the ninth, thus sealing a 3-2 defeat for the Sox.

In the process of getting swept by the Rays on Sunday night, the Red Sox went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position while leaving 10 men on base as a team.

Sunday’s loss also extends Boston’s losing streak to a season-high four consecutive games, dropping them to 63-44 on the year. They now trail Tampa Bay by 1 1/2 games for first place in the American League East after what was undoubtedly a crushing weekend.

That said, the Red Sox will be off on Monday as they prepare to embark upon the next portion of this three-city road trip in Detroit against a surprising 51-57 Tigers team led by Cora’s former colleague in A.J. Hinch.

Boston previously bested Detroit by taking the opening and concluding games of a three-game set at Fenway Park back in early May. The Sox outscored the Tigers, 28-22, in the process of doing so.

This time around, right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener at Comerica Park. He will be opposed by fellow righty Wily Peralta for Detroit.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be looking to snap this four-game skid.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Garrett Richards’ struggles continue as Red Sox go 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in 4-1 loss to Blue Jays in Game 1 of doubleheader

The Red Sox certainly had their chances to take the first game of their doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Wednesday afternoon, but struggled mightily to capitalize on those opportunities

After Tuesday night’s contest was postponed on account of inclement weather, Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 4-1 in the seven-inning day cap of Wednesday’s twin bill.

Matched up against Jays starter Robbie Ray, the Sox got to the veteran lefty right away in the first inning, with Enrique Hernandez drawing a leadoff walk, Rafael Devers advancing him to third base on a single, and J.D. Martinez driving him in on an RBI groundout.

Garrett Richards, making his 20th start of the season for Boston, allowed Toronto to tie things back up at one run apiece to begin things in the second, but the Red Sox had a golden opportunity to re-take the lead in their half of the frame.

With Alex Verdugo, Kevin Plawecki, and Bobby Dalbec loading the bases with two hits and a walk, it appeared as though the Boston bats had Ray on the ropes. However, Michael Chavis and Hernandez both stuck out without advancing a runner, while Devers flew out sharply to center field, marking the first of several scoring chances the Sox squandered.

Richards, meanwhile, rebounded from allowing a run in the second by tossing a scoreless top of the third, but then got rocked for two runs in the fourth — when he served up a two-run home run to Randal Grichuk — and one run in the fifth when he served up a leadoff homer to George Spriner, putting his side in a 4-1 deficit.

That, as well as a hard-hit single off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., would prove to be how Richards’ day would end, as the veteran right-hander was pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora after surrendering four earned runs on eight hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work.

In relief of Richards, Yacksel Rios got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, and he stranded Guerrero Jr. by retiring the first three batters he faced.

The Red Sox once again found themselves in a prime run-scoring spot in their half of the fifth, as Hunter Renfroe came to the plate with one out representing the tying run after Devers and Martinez both reached base.

Renfroe, however, fell victim to a seven-pitch swinging strikeout, while Christian Vazquez flew out to right field to extinguish the threat.

Rios continued with another scoreless frame in the top of the sixth, but Ray countered by holding the Sox in check in the sixth.

Brandon Workman also kept Toronto off the scoreboard in the seventh and final inning to keep Boston within three runs. That said, a pinch-hitting Jarren Duran struck out and Hernandez and Devers both flew out against Blue Jays reliever Justin Romano to seal a sleepy 4-1 defeat for the Sox.

All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base as a team.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 62-40 on the season. They will look to bounce back in the night cap of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to get the ball for Boston, while veteran left-hander Steven Matz will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kiké Hernández earns American League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernández has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week of July 19-25, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Hernández becomes the second member of the Red Sox to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining J.D. Martinez — who did so in early April.

On the National League side of things, Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor — a former teammate of Hernández — was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after he posted an OPS of 1.433 in seven games against the Giants and Rockies.

In six games against the Blue Jays and Yankees this past week, Hernández went 10-for-25 (.400/.448/1.000) at the plate with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, and eight runs scored over 29 plate appearances while playing second base, shortstop, and center field.

The 29-year-old began his week with his first multi-homer game of the year in Buffalo, then came through in the clutch on more than one occasion at Fenway Park while the Yankees were in town.

On Thursday, with his side down to their final out and trailing 3-1 in the late stages of the ninth inning, Hernández laced a game-tying, two-run double off the Green Monster that scored both Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran to knot things up at three runs a piece and set the Red Sox off for a walk-off 5-4 win in the 10th.

On Sunday, Hernández took center stage in the eighth inning of Boston’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over New York, as he ripped an RBI double off Yankees reliever Zack Britton that brought in Christian Vazquez to cut the Sox’ deficit down to one run and later scored what would turn out to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Including what he has done over his last six games, Hernández is now slashing .244/.322/.467 (111 wRC+) to go along with 14 home runs and 39 RBI over 84 total games (357 plate appearances) in his first season with the Red Sox.

Hernández, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with Boston in February, has proven to be a valuable component of what the club is trying to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.

Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitter out of Puerto Rico ranks 20th among qualified American League position players in fWAR (2.4) while leading all AL center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (12), per FanGraphs.

The fact that Hernández has been as solid as he has been at center field this season speaks to just how versatile he is, as he originally signed with the Sox to be the club’s everyday second baseman.

That being said, Hernández — who turns 30 in late August — will make just his second start and fifth overall appearance at shortstop in place of Xander Bogaerts in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

First pitch between the 61-39 Red Sox and 49-46 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Adam Ottavino blows save against former team as Red Sox waste Nathan Eovaldi’s gem, drop heartbreaker to Yankees, 4-3

The Red Sox appeared to be well on their way to a series-clinching victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday evening, until the eighth inning happened.

Nathan Eovaldi had allowed just one earned run over 7 2/3 innings of work and handed things over to the bullpen with the Red Sox up 3-1 and needing just one more out to get through the top of the eighth.

Adam Ottavino came on in relief of Eovaldi, inheriting a situation in which New York had one runner on first base with the middle portion of their lineup due to hit.

The former Yankees reliever gave up a ground-rule double to Giancarlo Stanton that left the slugger’s bat at just 70.3 mph, but put runners at second and third for Rougned Odor, who cleared the bases on another two-base hit that knotted things up at three runs apiece.

Gleyber Torres followed by driving in Odor on a go-ahead RBI single, and just like that, the Red Sox found themselves trailing for the first time all day at 4-3.

Ottavino wound up getting charged with the loss and blown save, as the Sox fell to the Yankees in gut-wrenching fashion by a final score of 4-3.

Eovaldi’s strong start goes for naught

Eovaldi, making his 20th start of the season for Boston, was in cruise control through most of his outing on Saturday.

With the benefit of some early run support, the veteran right-hander put up seven consecutive scoreless frames to begin his day, never facing more than four Yankees in a single inning while retiring 20 of the first 25 batters he faced.

The eighth inning presented a different challenge for Eovaldi, though, as he served up a leadoff double to Estevan Florial and later let that runner score by giving up a two-out RBI single to Brett Gardner, which would be how his outing came to an end.

In came Ottavino after Eovaldi got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and the righty allowed the lone runner he inherited to score before yielding two more runs of his own on three straight two-out hits that was capped off by Torres’ game-winning single.

As a result of how the top of the eighth inning ended for Boston, Eovaldi wound up surrendering two earned runs on seven hits, zero walks, and eight strikeouts over his 7 2/3 innings pitched. Of the 100 pitches the 31-year-old hurler threw, 82 — or 82% of them — went for strikes.

Red Sox offense gets on the board early, then sputters

Opposite Eovaldi to begin things in Saturday’s contest was fellow Houston-area native Jameson Taillon for New York.

Matched up against Taillon for a third time this season, the Sox scored early and often off of the right-hander.

Before the first out of the first inning could even be recorded, Kiké Hernández led off by lacing a hard-hit triple off the Green Monster. Upon reaching third base via a head-first slide, Hernández was able to score on an errant throw to third from Odor, giving the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Kevin Plawecki doubled that advantage in the bottom of the second, as he drove in J.D. Martinez on an RBI double that left the backstop’s bat at an impressive 105.7 mph.

In the third, Jarren Duran’s elite speed on the base paths proved to be an effective weapon, with him reaching first and advancing to second on a ground ball that eluded Odor at second base and made its way to the outfield.

After advancing to third on a Xander Bogaerts groundout, Duran scored easily on a sacrifice fly from Rafael Devers, earning Devers his team-leading 80th RBI of the season to put the Sox up 3-0.

While it seemed like the Boston bats had Taillon’s number, the New York starter was able to settle in to the point where he held the opposition in check to the tune of seven quality innings of work in which only one of the three runs he gave up was earned.

Sox threaten late, but to no avail

Moments after the Red Sox saw the last of Taillon Saturday, the Yankees put together a four-run rally in their half of the eighth and essentially turned this game on its head in the process of doing so.

Finding themselves down by one all of the sudden, Boston threatened with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, as back-to-back singles from Bogaerts and Devers put runners at the corners for Martinez.

Martinez, matched up against Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga, proceeded to rip a 90.3 mph line drive to right field, but it was one that was caught by Greg Allen to retire the side.

In the ninth, with struggling closer Aroldis Chapam on the mound for New York, the Sox nearly manufactured another late two-out rally, with Hunter Renfroe — pinch-hitting for Franchy Cordero — drew a two-out walk and Christian Vazquez — pinch-hitting for Michael Chavis — followed with a ground-rule double.

That dramatic sequence put the potential tying run at third base and the potential winning run at second base with two outs for Hernández, but he fell victim to a five-pitch strikeout that sealed a dispiriting 4-3 defeat for the Sox.

With the loss, the Red Sox see their four-game winning streak come to an end as they drop to 60-39 on the season.

The Rays, meanwhile, topped the Indians by a final score of 8-2 in their game on Saturday, meaning Tampa Bay and Boston will be tied atop of the American League East standings going into Sunday’s action.

Next up: Game No. 100

The Red Sox will play their 100th game of the 2021 season on Sunday afternoon as they go for the series victory over the Yankees.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to get the ball for Boston in the weekend finale, while right-hander Domingo German is lined up to do the same for New York.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Adam Ottavino: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox crush 5 homers en route to 7-4 win to finish off sweep of Blue Jays in Buffalo

An unplanned off day on account of inclement weather in the Buffalo-area could not halt the Red Sox from pouring it on against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

In the final major-league game to be played at Sahlen Field this season, Boston finished off their two-game sweep of Toronto with a 7-4 victory that was powered by five home runs from five different players.

Matched up against a tough opponent in Jays left-hander Robbie Ray, a right-handed heavy Sox lineup got things started in their half of the third after not recording a hit through the first two innings.

There, a hard-hit leadoff double from Bobby Dalbec set the stage as the lineup flipped back over, and a red-hot Kiké Hernández took full advantage of that by crushing a 434-foot two-run home run to left field off an 0-2, 95 mph fastball from Ray.

Hernández’s 14th homer of the season — and third of the series — gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead, but Rafael Devers tacked on another with his 24th big fly of the year to lead off the top half of the fourth.

While the Sox offense was getting it done by way of the long ball against Ray, Garrett Richards was in the midst of putting together one of his better outings of the season.

Making his 19th start of the year for Boston, Richards allowed just one base hit to the first 12 Blue Jays he faced, though Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took him deep to right-center field in the fourth inning to put an end to the shutout bid.

Michael Chavis was able to get one of those runs back with a solo shot off Ray in the top half of the fifth, while Christian Vazquez plated another on an RBI single that brought in J.D. Martinez an inning later.

With a 5-1 cushion to work with now, Richards appeared to be on his way to six clean innings as he recorded the first two outs of the sixth in simple fashion.

A two-out walk of Guerrero Jr. prevented that from happening, though, and the veteran right-hander faltered even further by serving up back-to-back homers to George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez, thus allowing the Blue Jays to trim their deficit down to one run at 5-4.

Having yielded home runs to the last two hitters he faced, Richards’ night came to an end with Red Sox manager Alex Cora giving him the hook in favor of Garrett Whitlock.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (55 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler wound up giving up four earned runs on four hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

Able to pick up the win to improve to 6-5 on the season despite raising his ERA to 4.99, Richards’ next start should come against these same Blue Jays back at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

In relief of Richards, Whitlock came on, got out of the sixth, and maneuvered his way around a two-out double in an otherwise perfect seventh inning.

From there, the Boston bats responded with back-to-back home runs of their own in their half of the eighth, with Martinez and Hunter Renfroe clubbing their 20th and 15th big flies of the year for some valuable insurance that gave their side a 7-4 edge.

Adam Ottavino followed by facing the minimum three batters in the bottom half of the eighth, and Matt Barnes — making his second half debut — shut the door on the Blue Jays in the ninth to secure the 7-4 victory and notch his 20th save of the campaign.

With the win — Alex Cora’s 250th with the team — the Red Sox improve to 58-38 on the season while maintaining a one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Santana suffers groin injury

Danny Santana was originally starting Wednesday’s contest in left field, but was forced to exit in the seventh inning because of a tight left groin he sustained while diving for a fly ball.

The 30-year-old was replaced by Alex Verdugo in left field and seems likely to be placed back on the injured list just two days after being activated from it.

Next up: Four against the Yankees at Fenway

The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park to open up a four-game weekend series against the Yankees that begins on Thursday night.

Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to start for Boston in the series opener, while left-hander Jordan Montgomery is in line to do the same for New York.

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

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

Red Sox go with right-handed heavy lineup for series finale against Robbie Ray, Blue Jays

After getting rained out on Tuesday, the Red Sox will look to complete a two-game sweep over the Blue Jays in Buffalo on Wednesday night, and they will do so with an extremely right-handed heavy starting lineup.

Boston will be matched up against Toronto left-hander Robbie Ray in Wednesday’s series finale, hence the reason for all the right-handed bats from Sox manager Alex Cora.

Ray, 29, will be making his 19th start of the season for the Jays at Sahlen Field on Wednesday. So far this year, the veteran southpaw has posted an impressive 2.31 ERA and 3.81 FIP to go along with 138 strikeouts to just 26 walks over 107 1/3 innings of work. That includes an outing against the Red Sox in which he yielded three runs on four hits, three walks, and 10 strikeouts in six innings at Fenway Park back on June 13.

In his first full season with the Blue Jays after coming over in a trade with the Diamondbacks last summer, Ray has been extremely tough against opposing left-handed hitters, as he has held them to a measly .165/.208/.308 slash line.

Against right-handed hitters, Ray has still been difficult, but not nearly to the same extent (.228/.280/.442), so it’s safe to assume those splits played a role in how Cora wrote out his lineup card ahead of Wednesday’s contest.

With that being said, Kiké Hernández will lead things off for the Red Sox, as he gets the start in center field. The switch-hitting Danny Santana will follow and flank Hernández in left field. Xander Bogaers, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez comprise the 3-4-5 portion of Boston’s lineup, playing their usual positions, while Hunter Renfroe, Christian Vazquez, and Bobby Dalbec will do the same. Michael Chavis rounds things out as he will make his 13th start of the year at second base.

Devers represents the lone, pure left-handed hitter in this installment of the Red Sox lineup. Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo, two more left-handed bats, will start this one out on the bench.

On the other side of things, right-hander Garrett Richards will oppose Ray and make his 19th start of the season for Boston.

First pitch between the 57-38 Red Sox and 48-43 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández : Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jarren Duran hits first major-league homer, Kiké Hernández goes yard twice, and Hunter Renfroe mashes grand slam as Red Sox power their way to 13-4 win over Blue Jays

It turns out a lineup shakeup is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox on Monday night.

In the midst of a bit of an offensive malaise since coming out of the All-Star break, Sox manager Alex Cora changed things up with his lineup in dramatic fashion ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, and those changes proved to be quite beneficial right from the get-go.

That being the case since the Red Sox mashed six home runs in the process of cruising to a 13-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field.

Matched up against Toronto starter Ross Stripling, Kiké Hernández set the tone in the top of the first with a leadoff double.

Jarren Duran, inserted into the two-hole, followed by crushing his first career major-league home run — a two-run, 357-foot shot to left field that gave Boston an early 2-0 lead, but they were not done yet.

A Rafael Devers walk, J.D. Martinez double, and Alex Verdugo walk with one out brought Hunter Renfroe to the plate with the bases loaded, and the slugger obliged by unloading them on a 403-foot grand slam to left-center field. 6-0.

Stripling was given the hook after recording just one out, though Blue Jays reliever Anthony Kay did not fare much better, as he issued a two-out single to Kevin Plawecki before serving up a two-run blast to Hernández.

With Hernández, Duran, and Renfroe all going yard in the first, Monday marked the first time in franchise history that the Red Sox have ever hit three or more home runs in the first inning of a road game.

Hernández’s first of two big flies on the night put Boston up 8-0 before Toronto even had a chance to take their first at-bats, and they tacked on even more in their half of the second.

There, a solo home run off the bat of Devers — his 23rd — that was sent 392 feet to right-center field made it a 9-0 contest, while Martinez and Verdugo both reached to put runners on for Danny Santana, who laced a two-run double down the left field line to clear the bases and give his side an 11-0 advantage.

While the new-look Red Sox lineup was getting things done on their end, Nick Pivetta was making his 19th start of the season for Boston on the other side.

Despite receiving a healthy amount of run support, Pivetta certainly was not at his best in Buffalo on Monday.

After getting out of a first-inning jam thanks to a double play, the right-hander tossed two additional scoreless frames. Santana provided additional subsidence by clubbing his fourth homer of the year — a solo shot — in the top half of the fourth, giving the Red Sox a 12-0 lead, but Pivetta got knocked around somewhat in the bottom half.

A leadoff walk of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the first harbinger of what was to come for Pivetta, while a base hit from George Springer put runners at second and third for Teoscar Hernandez, who broke up the shutout bid on an RBI groundout.

Randal Grichuk plated another on a sacrifice fly that brought in Springer, Cavan Biggio unloaded on a first-pitch fastball from Pivetta that he sent 390 feet into the right field seats, and Bo Bichette — with the bases full in front of him — tapped an RBI single a mere three feet down the third base line to make it a 12-4 contest.

Hernández got one of those runs back in Boston’s half of the sixth, as he took Toronto reliever Taylor Saucedo 382 feet deep to left field on a line-drive that left his bat at 108 mph.

With his his second big fly of the night, the 29-year-old reached the 500-hit mark for his big-league career.

Pivetta, after escaping a laborious fourth inning, came back out for the fifth and rebounded a bit by retiring six of the next nine Blue Jays he faced, but his evening did come to an end when he gave up a one-out single to Springer in the seventh to put runners at first and second.

Instead of having his starter attempt to finish the inning, Cora turned to Hirokazu Sawamura out of the bullpen, and the righty answered the call by getting Grichuk to fly out to Verdugo in left for the third and final out of the frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 108 (75 strikes), Pivetta wound up allowing four runs — all earned — on a season-high 11 hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of work.

The 28-year-old hurler was able to improve to 8-4 on the year, though he did raise his ERA up to 4.37. His next start should come against the Yankees back at Fenway Park on Sunday.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, Darwinzon Hernandez took over for Sawamura, and the lefty rebounded from a tough weekend in the Bronx by punching out a pair in a perfect inning of relief.

Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, made his first relief appearance since July 11, and the veteran righty shut the door on the Jays with a scoreless ninth to preserve a 13-4 win for the Red Sox.

With the win, the Sox snap a two-game skid to improve to 57-38 on the season while also moving to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Richards vs. TBD

The Red Sox will look to do something against the Blue Jays on Tuesday that they haven’t done in a while, and that’s win a series.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the start for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set, while Toronto has yet to name a starter.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Jarren Duran: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)