Rich Hill strikes out 7 over 5 scoreless innings as Red Sox take series from Orioles with 1-0 win

After breaking out for a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 21 hits on Saturday, the Red Sox needed just one run on four hits to secure a 1-0 series-clinching victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday.

A 72-minute rain delay did not affect Rich Hill, who made his 22nd start of the year for Boston and scattered two hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings of work.

Hill retired the first five batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Austin Hays in the bottom of the second. The veteran left-hander then worked his way around having runners on the corners with two outs in the third by getting Ryan Mountcastle to fly out to left field.

After stranding another base runner in the fourth, Hill plunked Rougned Odor and walked Robinson Chirinos to begin the fifth. But he did not falter as he got Ryan McKenna to pop out into foul territory before fanning Anthony Santander and Mountcastle back-to-back to end his day on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 77 (45 strikes), Hill ultimately picked up his seventh winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 4.56. The 42-year-old hurler has now allowed two or fewer runs to score in three of his last five starts.

It may have helped that the Red Sox had jumped out to an early 1-0 lead before Hill even took the mound on Sunday. Matched up against Baltimore right-hander Kyle Bradish, Tommy Pham led off the game with a line-drive single. He then stole second base, moved up to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout, and scored on a 348-foot sacrifice fly of Xander Bogaerts.

That one run turned out to be all Boston needed, as it recorded just one hit from the second and eighth innings before Verdugo and Bogaerts each singled in the ninth.

While the Sox lineup was unable to provide any sort of insurance, the bullpen held it down in relief of Hill. John Schreiber yielded just one single in a scoreless sixth inning, Matt Strahm put a runner at second with no outs before retiring the next three Orioles he faced in the seventh, Garrett Whitlock worked his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean eighth, and Matt Barnes struck out two while retiring the side in order in the ninth.

Barnes notched his fifth save of the season as the Red Sox improved to 7-8 against the O’s and to 69-72 on the 2022 campaign as a whole. With only 21 regular season games remaining, they still trail the Blue Jays by 10 games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Story day-to-day with left heel pain

Trevor Story left the game in the middle of the seventh inning after grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. He was later diagnosed with left heel pain and is considered day-to-day. Christian Arroyo took over for Story at second base and drew a walk in his only plate appearance.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will an enjoy an off day on Monday before opening a quick two game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to start the opener for Boston. New York has yet to name a starter.

Regardless, first pitch on Tuesday night is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello runs out of gas in fifth inning as Red Sox drop opener to Twins, 4-2

The Red Sox opened a three-game series against the Twins on Monday by losing their second straight game. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 4-2 at Target Field to drop to 62-67 on the season.

Matched up against Dylan Bunday to begin things on Monday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the third inning. Tommy Pham reached base via a one-out single and promptly scored all the way from first on an Alex Verdugo RBI double that traveled 341 feet to left field.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Xander Bogaerts single and had the chance to tag up when Rafael Devers lined out to Max Kepler in right field. But he remained at third base and was stranded there after J.D. Martinez struck out swinging.

An inning later, Trevor Story drew a leadoff walk off Bundy and quickly went from first to third on a Franchy Cordero single that had an exit velocity of 112.7 mph. Cordero, like Story, moved up to third on another one-out double from Reese McGuire. But Pham grounded out Verdugo punched out, meaning the Sox would have to settle for one run yet again.

That would prove to be costly for Brayan Bello, who was making his fifth start and seventh overall appearance of the season for Boston. The rookie right-hander pitched well out of the gate, tossing three consecutive scoreless frames before running into some trouble in the latter half of the fourth.

Bello put himself in a tough spot when he allowed each of the first three batters he faced in the inning to reach base. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to Jake Cave, but managed to limit the damage in the fourth to just the one run despite throwing 29 pitches.

The same cannot be said about the fifth inning. After the Sox left runners on the corners in the top half, Bello issued back-to-back walks to begin the bottom half. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to give Bello the hook in favor of Matt Strahm.

Strahm, in turn, got Kepler to ground out to McGuire before yielding a bases-filling walk to Jose Miranda and striking out the pinch-hitting Kyle Garlick on six pitches. With the right-handed hitting Gio Urshela due to hit next for Minnesota, Cora swapped Strahm for John Schreiber.

Urshela won the righty-on-righty battle, as he connected on a 3-2, 83.1 mph slider from Schreiber and roped a bases-clearing, three-run double to the right field corner. That gave the Twins their first lead of the night at 4-2 and that is where the score would stay.

Bello was charged with three of those runs while Strahm was tagged for one. For Bello, the 23-year-old wound up allowing three earned runs on five hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over four-plus innings of work. He threw 84 pitches (51 strikes) in the process of raising his ERA on the season to 7.27. The Red Sox have yet to win a game he has pitched in.

Following that disastrous fifth inning, the Twins bullpen took over by limiting Red Sox hitters to one hit — a single — over the final 4 1/3 frames of Monday’s loss.

On the flip side, the two relievers Boston called up to take the place of Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura pitched relatively well. Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort have grown accustomed to following one another out of the bullpen in Worcester. On Monday, they got to experience that for the first time at the major-league level.

Kelly, making his big-league debut, needed just 18 pitches (10 strikes) to face the minimum in a scoreless sixth inning. The 27-year-old struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Luis Arraez. But that was quicky negated after Arraez was gunned down at second base by McGuire.

Ort, meanwhile, scattered two walks and two strikeouts over two scoreless innings of work to keep the deficit at two runs. It proved to be for naught, though, as Twins closer Jorge Lopez made quick work of the Sox in the ninth to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base as a team. At 62-67, they now sit eight games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Crawford vs. Archer

The Red Sox will look to bounce back against the Twins on Tuesday night. Kutter Crawford is expected to start for Boston while fellow right-hander Chris Archer is slated to do the same for Minnesota.

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

(Picture of Brayan Bello: David Berding/Getty Images)

Rich Hill dominates with 11 strikeouts over 7 scoreless innings as Red Sox take series from Rays with 5-1 victory

The Red Sox secured a series victory over the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Boston defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 5-1 at Fenway Park to improve to 62-65 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 19th start of the year for the Sox, was just as masterful as he was quick. The veteran left-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work.

After taking a perfect game into the third inning, Hill gave up a leadoff infield single to Yu Chang. He proceeded to strand Chang at first base by striking out the side on 16 pitches. The lefty yielded another base hit to Randy Arozarena in the fourth. Arozarena advanced into scoring position with two outs by stealing second base, but Hill stranded him there by retiring Isaac Paredes.

From there, Hill sat down nine of the final 11 Rays hitters he faced. He ended his outing with an emphatic three-pitch strikeout of Chang. Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (71 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw induced 12 total swings-and-misses. He also picked up his sixth win of the season while lowering his ERA to 4.32.

By the time Hill recorded the final out of the seventh, the Red Sox were already in possession of a 5-0 lead. Four of those runs came right away in the bottom of the first inning, when they sent all nine hitters to the plate against Rays starter (and old friend) Jeffrey Springs.

Tommy Pham set the tone with a leadoff single that left his bat at 103.8 mph. Alex Verdugo followed with a hard-hit double that put runners at second and third for J.D. Martinez. Martinez came through with a two-run single off the Green Monster to get Boston on the board first.

Springs then recorded the first two outs of the inning, but ran into more trouble when Trevor Story reached base on an infield single. After Enrique Hernandez drew a walk to load the bases, Bobby Dalbec delivered with another two-run single to center field.

Fast forward all the way to the fourth inning, and Hernandez got the best of Springs again by cranking a 366-foot leadoff home run over the Green Monster to make it a 5-0 game. Hernandez’s sixth homer of the season left his bat at 104 mph.

As was the case on Friday night, things once again got interesting for Boston in the eighth inning. Jeurys Familia took over for Hill and recorded the first two outs of the frame on 11 pitches. He then gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single from Randy Arozarena.

That sequence of events prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora go back to the bullpen to call upon John Schreiber. Schreiber in turn, got the final out of the eighth and worked his way around a one-out walk in the ninth to lock up the win and notch his fifth save of the year.

With the win, the Red Sox now trail the Blue Jays by seven games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta goes for sweep

The Red Sox will look to complete a three-game weekend sweep of the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston will turn to right-hander Nick Pivetta while Tampa Bay will go with fellow righty Corey Kluber.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox squander plethora of scoring opportunities, fall to Blue Jays, 6-5, in 10 innings

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays on Thursday night. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-5 in 10 innings at Fenway Park to drop to 60-65 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his 11th start of the year for the Sox, allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Two of those four runs came right away in the first inning. After giving up a one-out single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a two-out walk to Teoscar Hernandez, Crawford surrendered a scalding, 104.7 mph two-run double to Bo Bichette that gave the Jays an early 2-0 lead.

The Red Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the second. With Kevin Gausman on the mound for Toronto, Xander Bogaerts and Christian Arroyo led off with back-to-back singles. After Arroyo stole second base and Rob Refsnyder struck out, Reese McGuire got his productive night at the plate started with an RBI single that scored Bogaerts. Bobby Dalbec followed with a single of his own to drive in Arroyo and knot things up at two runs apiece.

In the third, Tommy Pham led off with a single and immediately went from first to home on a 106.7 mph RBI double off the bat of Rafael Devers. That gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2, though it did not last long.

Crawford got the first two outs of the fourth inning with the help of a double play. The rookie right-hander then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, which brought Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the plate in a prime spot. Guerrero Jr. proceeded to lift a pop fly into foul territory that could have ended the inning. But Dalbec, the first baseman, failed to make the tough catch, which further prolonged the inning.

Guerrero Jr. took full advantage of Dalbec’s blunder, as the young slugger promptly roped a two-run single to right field to put the Blue Jays back up by a run at 4-3. Again, the Sox responded in the latter half of the fourth. Following a pair of singles from Refsnyder and McGuire that put runners on the corners with no outs, Dalbec drove in Refsnyder on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Crawford came back out for the fifth and recorded the first two outs of the inning via strikeout. He then gave up a two-out double to Matt Chapman, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to hand things over to his bullpen. Crawford finished with a final pitch count of 85 (53 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced 11 swings-and-misses while averaging 94.6 mph with his four-seam fastball. His ERA on the season now sits at 5.30.

Matt Strahm was first used in relief of Crawford and officially closed the book on the righty’s night by punching out Raimel Tapia. The lefty then came back out for the sixth and served up a 388-foot solo shot to Danny Jansen that travelled over the Green Monster and put the Blue Jays back up, 5-4.

The Red Sox responded in their half of the sixth. After reaching base and taking second on a two-out throwing error, Dalbec moved up to third on a wild pitch from Blue Jays reliever Trevor Richards. Jarren Duran then plated him from third on an RBI double over the head of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left field.

Duran, however, was stranded at second base, which proved to be the ongoing theme for Boston on Thursday. After Jeurys Familia, who recorded the final two outs of the sixth, struck out the side in the top of the seventh, the Sox had two runners in scoring position with two outs in the bottom half. Franchy Cordero was deployed to pinch-hit for Refsnyder, but he fell victim to Anthony Bass to extinguish the threat and keep things knotted up at 5-5.

Following a scoreless top half of the eighth from Hirokazu Sawamura, McGuire led off the bottom half with his first career triple, which was misplayed by Hernandez in right field. Enrique Hernandez, who came on to run for McGuire, was then stranded at third base, as Adam Cimber punched out Dalbec and Pham and Tim Mayza got Devers got Devers to ground out to first.

More frustration arose in the ninth. After getting another scoreless frame from Matt Barnes, J.D. Martinez led the inning off with a hard-hit single off Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano. Alex Verdugo took over for Martinez and went from first to third on a sharply-hit double from Bogaerts.

With no outs and runners at second and third, the Red Sox were just one hit away from winning this. Toronto elected to intentionally walk Arroyo, which filled the bases for Cordero. Romero, like Bass, fanned Cordero, bringing Hernandez to the plate for the first time. Hernandez proceeded to ground into a back-breaking inning-ending 5-3 double play, sending this one into extras.

John Schreiber allowed the automatic runner at second base — in this case, Cavan Biggio — to advance to third on a Jansen groundout. He then got Springer to hit a soft groundball in the direction of Bogaerts. Bogaerts fielded the ball cleanly, but made an off-balance throw to Kevin Plawecki at home plate.

Biggio beat Plawecki’s tag to give the Blue Jays a 6-5 lead. Romano then picked up where he left off by retiring Dalbec, Duran, and Plawecki, in the bottom half of the 10th to send the Red Sox home losers. All told, they went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position while leaving 12 runners on base as a team.

With the loss, Boston has extended its losing streak to four straight. It is now 3-13 against Toronto this season and 16-35 against divisional opponents.

Next up: Wacha vs. Chargois

Speaking of divisional opponents, the Red Sox will now welcome the Rays into town for a three-game weekend series. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston while fellow righty J.T. Chargois is expected to serve as an opener for Tampa Bay.

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

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Franchy Cordero’s late-game heroics go for naught as Red Sox fall to Orioles, 5-3, in Little League Classic

After splitting the first two games of this weekend series in Baltimore, the Red Sox and Orioles traveled to Williamsport, Pa. for the fifth annual Little League Classic. With both teams playing at Historic Bowman Field for the first time, Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 5-3 to drop to 60-62 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, who started the game for the Phillies in 2018, did so again for the Sox on Sunday. In what was his 25th start of the season, the right-hander allowed two earned runs on six hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with nine strikeouts over 5 2/3 strong innings of work.

Both of those Baltimore runs came right away in the first inning, as Pivetta gave up singles to each of the three batters he faced. Anthony Santander drove in Cedric Mullins with his base hit before Ramon Urias pushed across Adley Rutschman on an RBI single back up the middle.

Despite that rocky start, Pivetta settled in nicely. The Red Sox also got one of those two runs back in their half of the second. Rafael Devers led off with a single against O’s starter Dean Kremer, eventually advanced to third base with two outs, and scored from third on a 100.6 mph single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez.

Pivetta, meanwhile, struck out the side in order in the second while in the process of retiring 12 of 15 hitters through the end of the fifth. In the sixth, the righty recorded his eighth and ninth punchouts of the night before issuing a two-out walk to Austin Hays, who would prove to be the final batter he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (67 strikes), Pivetta induced a game-high 17 swings-and-misses, nine of which came on his four-seam fastball. The 29-year-old hurler did not factor into Sunday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 4.24.

Matt Strahm, who received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora, officially closed the book on Pivetta’s outing by getting through the rest of the sixth unscathed. The lefty also got the first out of the seventh before making way for Matt Barnes, who recorded the final two.

Still trailing 2-1 after being held in check by Kremer, the Sox received a boost from their bench to begin things in the eighth. With right-handed reliever Dillon Tate on the mound for Baltimore, Cora opted to have the left-handed hitting Franchy Cordero pinch-hit for Bobby Dalbec.

Cordero, serving as Boston’s 27th man for this contest, promptly made the most of his opportunity by clubbing a game-tying, 358 foot home run to left field. It left his bat at a blistering 104.9 mph to knot things up at two runs apiece. All five of Cordero’s homers this season have come on a Sunday.

While it felt as though the tides may have been turning in the Red Sox’ favor, that quickly changed in the latter half of the eighth. After issuing a one-out walk to Urias, Barnes was given the hook in favor of John Schreiber.

Schreiber, in turn, hit and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases with still only one out in the inning. Schreiber then received a visit from pitching coach Dave Bush, but that ultimately did not pan out as Jorge Mateo proceeded to lace a bases-clearing, three-run double down the left field line.

Ryan McKenna, Hays, and Rougned Odor all scored on Mateo’s clutch hit, thus giving the Orioles a commanding 5-2 lead. Schreiber was charged with two of those three runs, meaning he has now given up at least one run in back-to-back relief appearances for the first time this year. Austin Davis registered the final two outs of the eighth.

Xander Bogaerts made things interesting in the ninth by crushing a leadoff home run off Orioles closer Felix Bautista. But Bautista held on by sitting down J.D. Martinez, Christian Arroyo, and Devers in order to secure a series-clinching win for Baltimore.

With the loss, the Red Sox snapped their streak for consecutive series wins at three. At 60-62, they now trail the Mariners by six games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will have Monday off as they travel back to Boston for a six-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Rays that begins on Tuesday.

Nathan Eovaldi was originally slated to start Tuesday’s series opener against Toronto but has since been scratched due to prolonged trap muscle soreness. It seems likely that rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski could start in his place, but that would require Eovaldi (or another player) to be placed on the injured list since Winckowski was just optioned to Triple-A Worcester on Friday.

Regardless of that, first pitch from Fenway Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/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)

Nick Pivetta allows just 1 hit over 7 scoreless innings as Red Sox hold on for 5-3 win over Pirates

The Red Sox scored four runs out of the gate and held on for a series-opening win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday night. Boston defeated Pittsburgh by a final score of 5-3 to improve to 58-59 on the season and 7-9 in interleague play.

Making their first trip to Pittsburgh in nearly seven years, the Sox received an early boost from the top half of their lineup. Matched up against Mitch Keller to begin things on Tuesday, Tommy Pham led off the first inning with a line-drive single.

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez followed by drawing back-to-back walks to fill the bases for Alex Verdugo, who drove in his side’s first run on a groundball single to right field. Christian Arroyo and Eric Hosmer tacked on two more with run-scoring singles of their own, though Hosmer’s — a 214-foot fly ball — deflected off the glove of Pirates rookie Oneil Cruz before landing in left field.

With the bases still full, Enrique Hernandez came through in his first plate appearance in more than two months by lifting a 350-foot sacrifice fly to left field to plate Verdugo. An inning later, Pham reached base again on a one-out single. He moved up to second base when Martinez drew a walk and scored from there after Pirates centerfielder Bryan Reynolds failed to catch a 366-foot line drive off the bat of Verdugo.

That sequence of events gave the Red Sox a five-run lead, which was plenty big for Nick Pivetta. Making his 24th start of the season on Tuesday, Pivetta allowed just one hit and three walks to go along with six strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work.

The one hit Pivetta surrendered came with two outs in the bottom of the first and put runners at first and second. The right-hander did not buckle, though, as he proceeded to get Kevin Padlo to ground out to himself to extinguish the threat.

From there, Pivetta settled in by retiring 18 of the next 20 batters he faced through the end of the seventh. Of the 99 pitches the 29-year-old threw on Tuesday, 63 went for strikes. He induced a total of eight swings-and-misses in the process of picking up his ninth win and lowering his ERA on the season to 4.28.

In relief of Pivetta, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander made things interesting in the eighth by loading the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. That prompted Cora to turn to John Schreiber, who struck out Reynolds on a nasty slider and was one strike away from ending the inning.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Schreiber served up a bases-clearing, three-run double to Gamel on another slider at the bottom of the strike zone. All three of those runs were charged to Davis as the Pirates trimmed the deficit down to two runs at 5-3.

Matt Barnes was called upon to end it in the ninth. He did just that by punching out Cruz and Rodolfo Castro and retiring Greg Allen on 12 pitches to earn his third save of the season (and first since May 21) to secure the win.

So, despite going hitless from the second inning on, the Red Sox picked up their fourth win in their last five games. Pham led the way with two singles and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot while Verdugo, Arroyo, and Hosmer, had one hit and one RBI between them.

Next up: Hill vs. Contreras

The Red Sox will go for their third straight series victory in Wednesday’s contest against the Pirates. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston and rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski will follow out of the bullpen. Fellow righty Roansy Contreras is slated to take the mound for Pittsburgh.

First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo comes through with game-winning RBI double as Red Sox defeat Guardians, 3-1, to snap 5-game losing streak

Back in their yellow City Connect uniforms, the Red Sox put an end to their five-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Guardians at Fenway Park on Monday night. Boston took the series opener from Cleveland to avoid falling under .500 and improve to 49-48 on the season.

Matched up against Guardians starter Zach Plesac to begin things on Monday, the Sox struck first in their half of the third. Jackie Bradley Jr. led the inning off with a 376-foot wallball double off the Green Monster. Yolmer Sanchez followed by immediately plating Bradley Jr. on an RBI single down the left field line.

At that moment, the skies above Fenway Park began to open and a 38-minute rain delay commenced. Plesac remained in the game for Cleveland on the other side of the delay.

Nick Pivetta, on the other hand, made his 20th start of the season for Boston. Having allowed six or more runs in each of previous three outings before the All-Star break, the right-hander bounced back nicely on Monday. He yielded just one run on seven hits, three walks, and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

That lone run came in the top half of the fifth. Myles Straw and Steven Kwan led off with back-to-back singles before Amed Rosario grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that moved Straw up to third base. With only one out to get, Pivetta gave up a game-tying single to Jose Ramirez that left the third baseman’s bat at a measly 58.6 mph.

Still, it was enough to drive in Straw and knot things up at one run apiece. Pivetta, meanwhile got through the fifth and recorded the first two outs of the sixth before allowing the final two batters he faced to reach base on a walk and single.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (62 strikes), Pivetta induced a total of 13 swings-and-misses while topping out at 96.4 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 51 times. The 29-year-old’s ERA on the season now sits at 4.35.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty officially closed the book on Pivetta’s night by stranding the two runners he inherited to keep the 1-1 tie intact going into the bottom of the sixth.

That is exactly where the Red Sox broke out for their most productive frame of the contest. Rob Refsnyder drew a leadoff walk off Plesac and broke the stalemate by scoring all the way from first on a go-ahead RBI double off the bat of Alex Verdugo that Steven Kwan struggled with in left field.

Following a Guardians pitching change, Xander Bogaerts greeted new reliever Trevor Stephan by moving Verdugo up to third on a single. Christian Vazquez then provided some insurance by driving in Verdugo on a softly-hit, run-scoring single up the middle.

That sequence events made it a 3-1 game in favor of Boston. From there, Schreiber picked up where he left off by punching out two in a scoreless seventh inning. Garrett Whitlock, who pitched on Sunday, was dispatched for the eighth inning and wound up retiring all six batters he faced to record his second save of the season and secure a 3-1 victory.

Next up: Winckowski returns

The Red Sox are expected to activate Josh Winckowski from the COVID-19 related injured list so that he can start on Tuesday. The rookie right-hander last pitched on July 13, allowing three runs over six innings against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Guardians have not yet named a starter. Regardless, first pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow three-run lead, waste Kutter Crawford’s strong start in 5-4 loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 5-4 at Tropicana Field on Thursday night. Boston winds up getting swept by Tampa Bay in four games to drop to 47-43 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, pitched well. The rookie right-hander allowed three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts over six-plus innings of work.

All three runs Crawford gave up came in the bottom half of the seventh. After cruising through six scoreless frames on 82 pitches, the Okeechobee, Fla. native came back out for the seventh with a 3-0 lead in hand.

Having retired each of the last 10 batters he faced, Crawford yielded a leadoff double to Jonathan Aranda to begin things in the seventh. A Christian Bethancourt single put runners on the corners for Josh Lowe, who plated the Rays’ first run on an RBI double that also chased Crawford from the game.

John Schreiber was then dispatched out of the Red Sox bullpen, inheriting a situation in which runners were at second and third and there were still two outs to get. Schreiber allowed both runners he inherited to score on a game-tying, two-run single to Taylor Walls.

That closed the book for Crawford, who finished with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced a total of 13 swings-and-misses while mixing in his four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, slider, and changeup.

After plunking Luke Raley, Schreiber served up another two-run single to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays their first lead of the night at 5-3. Schreiber got through the rest of the seventh with the help of an Alex Verdugo outfield assist before making way for Darwinzon Hernandez.

Hernandez, making his season debut for the Sox, needed just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to strike out two and retire the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to keep the deficit at two runs.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had been limited to just three runs. Rafael Devers got the scoring started by golfing his 20th home run of the season off Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen in the fourth inning. Devers’ solo blast left his bat at 103.4 mph and traveled 393 feet to right field.

Fast forward to the sixth, Jarren Duran reached base on a one-out single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Devers groundout. He then scored from third on a wild pitch that allowed J.D. Martinez to move up to second after drawing a two-out walk.

Xander Bogaerts wasted no time in driving in Martinez by roping a 102.8 mph RBI double to the right-center field gap. That gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead, though it was not long-lived.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by two runs in the ninth, the Sox made things interesting against old friend Jalen Beeks. Bogaerts led off with a single and scored all the way from first on a hard-hit RBI double from Verdugo. But Verdugo was left at second base as the pinch-hitting Christian Vazquez popped out, Kevin Plawecki walked, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec struck out, and Jeter Downs grounded out to end things there.

With the loss, the Red Sox have dropped eight of their last 10 games and are now 4-10 in the month of July.

Next up: Eovaldi returns for series opener in the Bronx

The Red Sox will head north to open a three-game weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night. Boston will activate right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the injured list to start the opener. New York will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Trevor Story shines on both sides of the ball as Red Sox secure 6th straight series win with 5-4 victory over Tigers

The Red Sox won their sixth consecutive series on Tuesday night with another victory over the Tigers. Boston bested Detroit by a final score of 5-3 at Fenway Park to improve to 38-31 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 13th start of the season for the Sox, allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work.

The first of those three runs came right away in the top of the first, as Hill gave up a one-out triple to Javy Baez that was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Miguel Cabrera.

Despite falling behind early, the Red Sox lineup quickly responded in their half of the first while opposed by another rookie right-hander in Tigers starter Beau Brieske. Jarren Duran led off with a single, went from first to third on a Rafael Devers base hit, and scored from third on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly that knotted things up at one run apiece.

In the third, Baez struck again by cranking a solo shot off Hill to give his side a 2-1 lead. Just an inning later, though, Boston again responded when Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo reached base on a pair of one-out singles. Trevor Story followed by unloading on a 1-1, 85 mph slider from Brieske and sending it 387 feet over the Green Monster for a go-ahead three-run home run.

Story’s 11th big fly of the season left his bat at a sizzling 105.5 mph. It also gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 4-2. Hill, meanwhile, yielded one more run on two hits and one walk in the fifth. He ended his outing by fanning Tigers rookie Riley Greene.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (57 strikes), Hill induced six of his 12 swings-and-misses with his curveball, a pitch he threw 31 times. The 42-year-old southpaw’s ERA on the season now sits at 4.50.

In relief of Hill, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The right-hander faced the minimum in the sixth by getting Jonathan Schoop to ground into an inning-ending, 1-4-3 double play. In the seventh, he retired the first two batters on eight pitches before Story robbed Baez of a base hit by making a fantastic leaping grab for the final out of the frame.

Following a Tigers pitching change that saw Andrew Chafin take over for Jason Foley in the bottom of the seventh, Christian Vazquez greeted the new reliever by clubbing a leadoff home run on the very first pitch he saw.

Vazquez took a 90 mph sinker down the heart of the plate from Chafin and deposited it 364 feet over the Green Monster. Vazquez’s fourth home run of the season provided the Sox with some much-needed insurance and gave them a 5-3 lead.

From there, Tyler Danish worked his way around some traffic in a scoreless eighth inning before making way for Matt Strahm in the ninth. Strahm immediately served up a solo homer to Schoop that cut Boston’s lead down to one run at 5-4.

Strahm managed to get the first two outs of the ninth inning. Michigan native John Schreiber was then called upon to face Baez. Schreiber gave up a single to Baez that put the potential tying run on base, but he kept him there by getting Miguel Cabrera to ground out to end the game.

For Schreiber, who was pitching for the third straight day and the fourth time in five days, Tuesday’s performance allowed him to notch his second save of the season.

Next up: Wacha vs. Skubal in finale

The Red Sox will close out their homestand by going for a three-game sweep of the Tigers on Wednesday night. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston while left-hander Tarik Skubal will do the same for Detroit. Top prospect Jeter Downs is also expected to make his major-league debut.

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

(Picture of Trevor Story: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)