Red Sox’ Christian Arroyo, Josh Taylor begin rehab assignments with Triple-A Worcester

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor and utility man Christian Arroyo began their rehab assignments with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday night.

Taylor, serving as an opener for the WooSox in their contest against the Charlotte Knights, tossed a scoreless first inning and needed just seven pitches (five strikes) to do so.

The left-hander retired the only three batters he faced by getting Mark Payton to line out to center, a rehabbing Eloy Jimenez to ground out to short, and Carlos Perez to ground out to third. He was relieved by top pitching prospect Brayan Bello.

Taylor has spent the entirety of the season on the injured list because of a lower back strain that first started bothering him last September. He was initially sent out on a minor-league rehab assignment back in April, but suffered a setback and was shut down for weeks as a result.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off an exceptional 2021 campaign in which he posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

Since the Red Sox transferred Taylor from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list on May 12, he does not currently count against Boston’s 40-man roster.

The same can be said for Arroyo, who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on June 15 after testing positive for the virus. The 27-year-old served as Worcester’s designated hitter and went 0-fo-3 with a ground out, pop out, and fly out out of the leadoff spot before being pinch-hit for by Ronaldo Hernandez in the seventh inning.

Arroyo last suited up for the Red Sox on June 12 and is currently batting .187/.227/.319 with three home runs and 10 RBIs on the season. He will play the field for Worcester on Wednesday and could be activated for Friday’s series opener against the Guardians in Cleveland.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Jonathan Araúz from COVID-19 related injured list and option infielder to Triple-A Worcester; Josh Taylor transferred to 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have activated Jonathan Arauz from the COVID-19 related injured list and subsequently optioned the infielder to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Arauz on the 40-man roster, left-hander Josh Taylor was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list, the club announced Thursday afternoon.

Arauz was originally placed on the COVID-related injured list on April 19 after testing positive for the virus. It was not until May 1 when the 23-year-old was cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Worcester.

Prior to getting sick, Arauz had made the Sox’ Opening Day roster out of spring training and appeared in five games for the big-league club, going 0-for-7 at the plate with one RBI, one run scored, and two strikeouts. Since returning to action with the WooSox earlier this month, the versatile switch-hitter has batted .125/.222/.167 with one double, four runs scored, three walks, and three strikeouts across seven games spanning 27 trips to the plate.

Because he is on the 40-man roster and has the ability to be shuttled between Boston and Worcester, Arauz will undoubtedly be back with the Red Sox at some point this season.

Taylor, on the other hand, began the year on the injured list due to a low back strain that began bothering him last fall and has yet to pitch at the big-league level in 2022. After making three rehab appearances between Double-A Portland and Worcester last month, the 29-year-old southpaw suffered a setback and has since been shut down from throwing.

By being transferred to the 60-day injured list, Taylor cannot be activated until the first week of June at the earliest, though according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “the expectation is that he probably won’t be ready to be activated when he’s eligible.”

Following Thursday’s series of moves, the Red Sox now have 39 players on their 40-man roster on account of Rich Hill still being on the COVID IL himself. The expectation is that Hill will be activated this weekend, which would require the Sox to send his substitute in John Schreiber back to Worcester since he is not currently on the 40-man roster.

That being said, Schreiber has pitched well out of Boston’s bullpen and very well could remain with the team for the foreseeable future. For that to happen, though, the Sox would have to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for the righty, and they would likely do so by designating another player for assignment.

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Josh Taylor suffers setback while rehabbing from back strain

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor suffered a setback while rehabbing his back injury and has been temporarily shut down from throwing, manager Alex Cora announced before Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park.

Taylor, who had been out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, is back with the Red Sox to receive treatment and undergo tests in Boston.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Cotillo) on Tuesday, Cora revealed that Taylor’s back locked up on him recently, leaving the team with no choice but to return him from his rehab assignment.

“He had a setback a few days ago,” Cora said. “Feels better today, but of course, we had to take him off his rehab assignment. We’re going through testing and all that stuff. We’ll know more during the week.”

Taylor began the season on the 10-day injured list due to a low back strain that first began bothering him last September and was first sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester on April 17. The left-hander got the start for the WooSox against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park that afternoon and allowed one run (on a solo home run) in his lone inning of work. He was then shut down for the next six days after being identified as a close contact to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

On April 24, Taylor returned to the mound — this time for Double-A Portland — and once again served as an opener. The 29-year-old surrendered two runs on three hits and one strikeout while recording the first two outs of the Sea Dogs’ 13-5 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at Hadlock Field. Three days later, he was back in action for the WooSox and tossed a scoreless fifth inning in the second game of a doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons.

Since then, Taylor has not appeared in a game and is not close to doing so anytime soon. As noted by Cotillo, Cora previously said the hope was for Taylor to make five or six rehab outings before being activated, so the southpaw will presumably need to start from scratch once he is cleared to resume throwing.

“Let’s see how it goes in the upcoming days and how it goes with testing and all that stuff,” said Cora. “Then we’ll decide what we do with him.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday

The Red Sox bullpen could soon be receiving a boost. Josh Taylor is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday, manager Alex Cora said ahead of Saturday’s game against the Twins at Fenway Park. The left-hander began the season on the 10-day injured list due to a low back strain.

“He threw a live BP yesterday and obviously we have to wait for today to see how he feels,” Cora said of Taylor. “But there’s a good chance his rehab assignment starts tomorrow.”

Cora added that Taylor will likely need five or six outings with the WooSox before being activated from the injured list. He is in line to make his 2022 debut in Worcester’s series finale against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park on Sunday afternoon.

Taylor, 29, is coming off a strong 2021 season in which he posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP to go along with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

The Arizona-born southpaw first experienced back discomfort last September and spent time on the injured list because of it. He returned in time for the postseason, but wound up receiving an epidural injection during the off-season.

Those back issues lingered into spring training, but Taylor is now at a point where he is ready to pitch in a game, as he explained to MLB.com’s Ian Browne on Saturday.

“I’m good. The body feels great,” Taylor said. “I had another live [batting practice] yesterday and bounced back well today. I don’t think I’ve had any setbacks. The body feels good. I have a rehab outing tomorrow in Worcester so that will be my first one and I’m looking forward to that. I definitely think I’m ready for that right now.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Should the Red Sox consider trading Austin Davis?

Seven games into the 2022 season, the two Red Sox relievers who are tied for the team lead in appearances with four apiece are Ryan Brasier and Austin Davis.

Both Brasier and Davis were used by manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen in Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park. The former struck out the side in a scoreless seventh inning. The latter allowed two runners to reach base but also fanned three in a scoreless eighth inning.

In Davis’ case, the left-hander has now yielded three earned runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over his first three innings pitched this year.

Put another way, Davis has posted a 9.00 ERA, a 2.33 WHIP, an OPS against of .945, a strikeout rate of 29.4%, and a walk rate of 11.7% so far this season. Two of his four outings have been scoreless, though Friday’s performance was undoubtedly his best work to this point.

Of the 21 pitches Davis threw in Friday’s loss to Minnesota, 13 went for strikes. The 29-year-old southpaw induced a total of seven swings-and-misses; three on his slider and changeup and one on his four-seam fastball.

In regards to his four-seamer, Davis averaged 93.6 mph with the pitch across 26 1/3 innings between the Pirates and Red Sox in 2021. On Friday, he averaged 95.6 mph with his heater and topped out at 97 mph with it, per Baseball Savant. For his big-league career, which dates back to June 2018, Davis had only thrown a pitch 97 mph or faster on two separate occasions prior to Friday’s outing.

Since the Red Sox acquired Davis from the Pirates for infielder Michael Chavis last July, the lefty has been one of Cora’s more frequently-used relievers. From the time he debuted for Boston on July 31 of last season, Davis has now made 24 relief appearances for the Sox. The only other hurlers who have seen more action over that stretch are Adam Ottavino (24 appearances), who is no longer with the team, and Hansel Robles (30 appearances).

Despite a career ERA of 5.49 in a Red Sox uniform, it would appear as though the club likes what they have in Davis. With that being said, though, it is worth wondering if Davis’ spot in Boston’s bullpen could be on the line sometime in the near future.

As a result of a shortened spring training, major-league teams were permitted to carry 28 players on their active roster. This, for instance, allowed the Red Sox to carry 10 relievers on their Opening Day squad.

On May 2, however, teams will be required to trim their rosters back down to the traditional size of 26 active players. When that time comes, the Sox will have no other choice but to carry no more than 13 pitchers on their active roster.

The way things stand now, Davis is one of three lefties in Boston’s bullpen alongside the likes of Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm. Josh Taylor, who began the season on the injured list due to a low back strain, could be nearing a minor-league rehab assignment.

With Diekman and Strahm being new free-agent additions and Taylor already earning the trust of Cora last season, would the Red Sox still entertain the idea of carrying four left-handed relievers on their 26-man roster beginning next month?

If Davis is deemed the odd man out once rosters shrink and Taylor returns from the injured list, the Red Sox could not simply option him to Triple-A Worcester, for the Arizona native is out of minor-league options. Because of this, Boston would need to expose Davis to waivers if they wanted to retain his services as a non-40-man roster player in the minors.

Taking that into account and assuming that Taylor will be back before long, what would be stopping the Red Sox from trading Davis away for a prospect who is not on a 40-man roster at some point between now and May 2? Why risk losing Davis for nothing when you could get something back in return?

Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox have made similar moves in the past, with the Yoan Aybar-for-Christian Koss swap probably sticking out the most. Davis, of course, is far more established than Aybar and could fetch an intriguing return since he is still under club control for three more seasons after 2022.

At the end of the day, do the Red Sox need to trade Davis? No. Even with Taylor on his way back, perhaps the club still believes Davis can play an important role out of the bullpen this season. If not, though, then perhaps it would be in Boston’s best interest to explore their options now before running into a roster crunch in a few weeks.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox avoid arbitration with all eligible players, including Rafael Devers

The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with all five of their arbitration-eligible players heading into the 2022 season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Boston was able to come to terms with pitchers Nick Pivetta and Josh Taylor, infielders Christian Arroyo and Rafael Devers, and outfielder Alex Verdugo on Tuesday, thus avoiding a possible hearing. They did the same with reliever Ryan Brasier and catcher Kevin Plawecki prior to last November’s non-tender deadline.

Pivetta, 29, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $3.2 million in 2022. The right-hander will instead net $2.65 million this year, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel.

Taylor, 29, was also entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLBTR to earn $1.1 million in 2022. The left-handed reliever may not be ready for the start of the season due to a back issue, but he will be making $1.025 million this year regardless, per McDaniel.

Arroyo is another first-year arbitration-eligible player. The 26-year-old second baseman was projected by MLBTR to also earn $1.1 million in 2022. He has instead avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.2 million salary for the upcoming season, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.

Devers is undoubtedly the most notable name on this list and the most expensive as well. As a second-year arbitration-eligible player, the 25-year-old All-Star was projected by MLBTR to earn $11.1 million in 2022 — representing a 143% raise from the $4.575 million he made in 2021.

There were some rumblings that Devers and the Red Sox were not going to come to an agreement on a salary figure for the 2022 season ahead of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. eastern time deadline and would instead be going to an arbitration hearing. Those concerns turned out to be premature, though, as the two sides have since settled on a $11.2 million salary for the year, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Finally, we arrive at Verdugo, who is also embarking upon his first season of arbitration eligibility. The 25-year-old was projected by MLBTR to earn $3.2 million in 2022 but will actually make a little more than that at $3.55 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

These agreements do not preclude the Red Sox from engaging in contract extension talks with any of the aforementioned players leading up to Opening Day on April 7. This is particularly prevalent for Devers, who can become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor unlikely to be ready for Opening Day due to back issue

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor may not be available for the start of the 2022 season due to back issue, manager Alex Cora revealed on Monday.

“The only guy that is behind pitching-wise is JT,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Monday morning. “He has a back issue. So he fell behind. Not sure how it works out for us for the start of the season but he’s one guy that’s behind in his progression.”

When asked if Taylor will be ready for Opening Day in the Bronx on April 7, Cora responded by saying: “I don’t want to say it’s doubtful, but he has some catching up to do.”

Taylor spent time on the injured list last September due to a low back strain. The left-hander returned in time for the postseason and pitched well in his six appearances, but he did so while still dealing with discomfort in his lower back.

In a recent conversation with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and Pete Abraham, Taylor explained that he received an epidural injection last fall and could have undergone off-season surgery to repair a herniated disk. He instead opted to rehab from the injury through the winter and is now behind other pitchers as a result.

“It’s a little leftover from last year,” Taylor said. “I had that back issue and it’s still kind of lingering. We’re just progressing a little slower right now to try and get me back right. It’s not bad. It’s definitely way better than it was. I did a lot of work in the offseason to get it right. It’s a bit more strengthening right now to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Taylor also told Speier and Abraham that he has yet to throw off a mound this spring, but he will do so for the first time in a pair of bullpen sessions at the Fenway South complex this week.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off a 2021 season in which he emerged as one of Cora’s most trusted options out of the Boston bullpen. In 61 relief appearances (second-highest on the team) last year, Taylor posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 47 2/3 innings pitched.

With Taylor likely starting the year on the injured list, the Red Sox do have other left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster they can turn to in Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Matt Strahm. They also recently signed veteran lefty Derek Holland to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to major-league spring training.

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Garrett Whitlock throws bullpen; Josh Taylor has yet to start baseball activities

In his latest step towards making his return from the injured list, Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock threw a bullpen session at Nationals Park on Friday afternoon.

Whitlock initially suffered a right pectoral strain during his appearance against the Orioles on September 19. He was placed on the 10-day injured list because of it two days later.

Since that time, the 25-year-old right-hander was able to play catch on a couple of occasions while the Sox were in Baltimore leading up to Friday’s bullpen session.

The plan now, according to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, will be to see how Whitlock feels after the fact before deciding if he will be activated from the IL before the regular season ends on Sunday.

“Obviously we have to wait to see how he feels throughout the day,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) before Friday’s game against the Nationals. “But I do believe he’s going to be OK. Then we’ll decide when to activate him if he’s fine. Maybe tomorrow, Sunday, whatever it is. So we’ll wait and see how he reacts.”

At the time he was placed on the injured list, Whitlock had posted a 1.99 ERA and 2.88 FIP to go along with 79 strikeouts to 17 walks over 45 relief appearances spanning 72 1/3 innings of work.

In Whitlock’s absence, the Boston bullpen has struggled to the tune of a 4.55 ERA over their last eight games and 31 2/3 innings pitched coming into play on Friday, per FanGraphs.

Compounded with Whitlock’s injury is the fact that left-handed reliever Josh Taylor has also been on the IL since September 26 due to a lower back strain.

Taylor was slated to meet the Red Sox in D.C. on Friday for further evaluation after receiving treatment in Boston. The 28-year-old has yet to resume throwing or any sort of baseball activities, however, so it would appear as though his regular season could be over.

“It hasn’t progressed the way we thought,” Cora said in regards to Taylor’s back strain. “Right now, without throwing, we don’t know. We have to be patient and let’s see what happens. As of now, I don’t see it (happening) tomorrow.”

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Josh Taylor to have MRI on back; X-rays on Kevin Plawecki’s foot come back negative

In the process of blowing a late one-run lead and dropping a heartbreaker to the Yankees by a final score of 5-3 at Fenway Park on Saturday, the Red Sox were also dealt two blows on the injury front, though one may be considered more significant than the other.

For starters, Josh Taylor was not available out of the bullpen because of a back issue, Sox manager Alex Cora relayed following Saturday night’s defeat at the hands of the Yankees.

“Taylor is down,” Cora said. “He’s actually going to have an MRI tomorrow. His back has been bothering him, so we’ll see where we’re at with that, but he was down.”

With Taylor unavailable, Boston was left without an additional left-handed relief option in its bullpen, leaving Austin Davis and Darwinzon Hernandez as the two primary lefties who could be called upon.

After Tanner Houck issued a pair of two-out walks to New York’s No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the top of the eighth inning, Cora was put into a spot where his side had a 2-1 lead to protect with a left-handed hitter in Anthony Rizzo due to hit next for the opposition.

That led Cora to turn to Hernandez for the left-on-left matchup with one out to get in the eighth. Hernandez, however, plunked Rizzo on a 3-1, 96 mph fastball to load the bases as the ever-dangerous, right-handed hitting Giancarlo Stanton loomed in the on-deck circle.

While Cora could not make another pitching change since Hernandez had yet to face the minimum of three batters, he did pay the 24-year-old a visit on the pitcher’s mound to have a brief conversation with him — as well as the rest of the Red Sox infield.

Cora’s pep talk did not pay off, though, as Hernandez proceeded to groove a first-pitch fastball down the heart of the plate to Stanton that the Yankees slugger crushed 452 feet over the Green Monster for what would turn out to be the game-winning grand slam.

In choosing Hernandez over Davis to face Rizzo, Cora was left to defend his decision during his postgame media availability, and he did just that.

“I mean, the fact that his stuff plays, right? He’s been throwing the ball well, and you always have to be prepared for the next hitter, right?” Cora said in regards to having Hernandez pitch in that spot. “It’s not that you’re thinking something negative is going to happen with the lefty (Rizzo), but we do believe that he can get the righty out, too, in that spot so we went with him.”

Coming into play on Saturday, Hernandez had actually fared better against right-handed hitters (.615 OPS) than left-handed hitters (.736 OPS against).

Davis, on the other hand, has given up just four hits to the 31 left-handed hitters he faced since joining the Red Sox as a trade deadline acquisition.

On the flip side of that, however, Davis has struggled against right-handed hitters (.886 OPS against) dating back to July 31, so Cora truly did have a difficult decision to make when taking the three-batter minimum rule into consideration.

“There’s two outs. We’ve got to get him (Rizzo) out there,” said Cora. “That’s why we went with Darwinzon. Because we do believe he can get the lefty and the righty out. It just didn’t happen. But the rules are the rules. We’ve been playing with them all season. It’s not the first time we had a situation like this. Just like he wasn’t able to pound the strike zone with the lefty.”

Regardless of which reliever was tasked with getting out of the eighth inning, Boston’s late-game collapse stems from Houck’s inability to throw strikes consistently.

The right-hander was dispatched in the seventh inning and walked the first two batters he faced on eight straight balls before escaping the jam on a double play off the bat of Gleyber Torres and a three-pitch strikeout of Gary Sanchez.

Houck proceeded to fan the first two Yankees he faced in the eighth as well and appeared to be on the verge of punching out the side when he had leadoff man Brett Gardner in a 1-2 count. He instead walked Gardner on six pitches before getting in another two-strike count against Aaron Judge that ultimately resulted in a six-pitch walk to bring Rizzo to the plate.

“We didn’t throw enough strikes in that inning,” Cora said. “We had two outs, 1-2 count, we weren’t able to put [Gardner] away. Then 2-2 count against Judge, we didn’t put him away. Obviously the walk to Rizzo [by Hernandez], but I think it goes back to the leadoff hitter. We had two outs and we made some good pitches, but not in the strike zone.”

In other injury-related news, Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and a home run in Saturday’s loss, was struck in the right foot by a 98.5 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman during final plate appearance of the night in the ninth inning.

A hobbled Plawecki was removed from the contest and replaced at first base by the pinch-running Christian Vazquez, but Cora later revealed that X-Rays on the veteran backstop’s foot came back negative.

“It’s feeling better now. X-rays are negative, so that’s good,” Plawecki said. “Obviously sore, but we’ll get some treatment on it tomorrow and it shouldn’t be anything for me to really worry about. So, I dodged a bullet, I guess you could say.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Travis Shaw delivers with 3-run homer, game-winning hit as Red Sox battle back to defeat White Sox, 9-8, in extras

The Red Sox have seemingly made a habit of blowing sizable leads as of late and nearly let that trend continue against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday.

After grabbing an early five-run lead, Boston later fell behind by a run in the middle stages of the game, but battled back for a 9-8 win over Chicago in 10 innings.

Connor Seabold, making his major-league debut and first career start for the Sox on Saturday, was the beneficiary of some significant run support.

In just three innings of work, Seabold allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on three hits and two walks to go along with zero strikeouts on the night.

Both runs the right-hander gave up came on one swing of the bat in the bottom of the second, as he yielded a one-out single to Yasmani Grandal before serving up a monstrous two-run shot to Leury Garcia.

The Red Sox fell behind, 2-0, on Seabold’s miscue, but they quickly responded in their half of the third while still matched up against White Sox starter Dylan Cease.

Enrique Hernandez proved to be the catalyst for the rally by ripping a one-out single to center field, then Cease issued two straight walks to Kyle Schwarber and Xander Bogaerts to fill the bases for Rafael Devers, who drew a free pass himself to bring in Hernandez from third for his side’s first run of the evening.

Alex Verdugo kept the train moving by lacing a two-run single to left-center field that brought in Schwarber and Bogaerts, while Bobby Dalbec plated Devers from second on an RBI single of his own.

Travis Shaw, who wasn’t even in Boston’s original starting lineup, promptly ended Cease’s outing by driving in both Verdugo and Dalbec on a towering, 372-foot three-run blast to right field.

Shaw’s ninth home run of the season gave the Sox a commanding 7-2 lead while also knocking Cease out of this game, but the Boston bats were unable to score again in the third despite getting two hits off White Sox reliever Ryan Burr.

Seabold, meanwhile, escaped one final jam in his third and final inning by getting the dangerous Jose Abreu to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, thus ending his night with a final pitch count of 43 (27 strikes). The 25-year-old did not factor into Saturday’s decision.

In relief of Seabold got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen to begin the fourth, and he ran into some trouble when he issued a one-out walk to Grandal.

Richards nearly got Garcia to ground into another inning-ending twin killing, but Devers committed a fielding error by misplaying Garcia’s grounder before failing to field a chopper off the bat of Romy Gonzalez cleanly.

That sequence loaded the bases for the White Sox, and Richards followed suit by walking Brian Goodwin on five pitches to bring in one run before surrendering a bases-clearing, three-run double to Luis Robert with two outs in the inning.

Ryan Brasier took over for Richards after Chicago had trimmed their deficit down to one run at 7-6, but former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada knotted things up at seven runs apiece by lacing a game-tying, run-scoring double to left field.

Brasier’s woes rolled on in the fifth, as he got taken deep to right field by Grandal, who gave the White Sox their first lead since the second inning with his 20th big fly of the season.

Fast forward to the eighth, when the Sox were down to their final six outs, former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was unable to keep his old team off the scoreboard as he had done the night before.

Christian Vazquez drilled a one-out double to center field off Kimbrel to put the potential tying run in scoring position. The recently called-up Jack Lopez pinch-ran for Vazquez at second base and quickly advanced up to third on a wild pitch.

A sacrifice fly from Hernandez was hit deep enough (357 feet) to center field to allow Lopez to coast in from third, and that tied things up once again at 9-9.

After Liam Hendriks and Garrett Whitlock kept things that way for their respective teams in the ninth inning, this one headed into extras.

There, in the 10th, Verdugo assumed his role as the runner at second base after recording the final out of the previous inning.

A groundout off the bat of Dalbec allowed Verdugo to move up to third, and Shaw brought him in on an 85 mph RBI single off White Sox reliever Mike Wright.

Given a one-run lead to protect going into the latter half of the 10th, Josh Taylor was dispatched to get the three most important outs of the night.

Despite giving up a leadoff single to the first man he faced in Grandal which also put the potential tying run (Eloy Jimenez) at third base, Taylor did just that.

The left-hander punched out Garcia on three straight strikes, fanned the pinch-hitting Joey Mendick, and got Goodwin to ground out to second base to slam the door on the White Sox, preserve the 9-8 victory, and notch the first save of his big-league career.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 81-63 on the season to maintain their one-game lead over both the Yankees and Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Lynn

The Red Sox will activate right-hander Nick Pivetta from the COVID-19 related injured list and have him make his return to the mound in Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox, who will counter with fellow righty Lance Lynn.

First pitch of Sunday’s rubber match is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)