Lifeless Red Sox drop third straight to Astros, 2-1; Nick Pivetta hit with first loss of season despite striking out 9 over 6 innings

A stagnant Red Sox offense was once again held in check by the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night.

Houston starter Framber Valdez gave Boston a chance to get something going immediately in the first inning. The left-hander loaded the bases with two outs and walked in a run by issuing a free pass to Hunter Renfroe.

Bobby Dalbec was presented with the opportunity to do some more damage in his first at-bat of the night, but he grounded out sharply to shortstop to extinguish the threat.

As it would later turn out, that lone run is all the Sox could get off of Valdez, as the southpaw settled in after a rough first inning and strung together six straight scoreless frames to get through seven strong when all was said and done.

The Boston bats did not fare much better against the Astros’ bullpen, with all three of Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts lining out to center field against reliever Ryne Stanek in the top half of the eighth.

In the top half of the ninth, a one-out single from Renfroe and two-out single from Vazquez off Astros closer Ryan Pressly provided the Red Sox with some late life and the chance to at least tie things up at two runs apiece.

Alas, Christian Arroyo hit a broken-bat pop-up to the infield, and 2-1 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

By dropping their third consecutive contest to the Astros, the Red Sox fall to 32-23 on the season (16-10 on the road), yet still remain two games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Pivetta grinds through first two innings, winds up turning in solid performance

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta needed 57 pitches to get through the first two innings of his 11th start of the season on Wednesday. Like Valdez, he also put himself in a bases-loaded jam right away in the first, but got out of it having allowed just one run.

From that point, though, the right-hander locked in and put together one of his best outings of the year to this point all things considered.

Over six innings in total, Pivetta yielded two runs — both earned — on three hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (72 strikes) to set a new season-high, the 28-year-old was ultimately hit with his first loss of the year — and his first since coming over to the Red Sox from the Phillies last August. His next start should come against the Marlins back at Fenway Park on Monday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez tossed a perfect seventh inning while Hirokazu Sawamura and Josh Taylor combined to toss a scoreless bottom of the eighth with the help of Christian Vazquez snuffing out Alex Bregman at second base.

Next up: Perez vs. Odorizzi

The Red Sox will send left-hander Martin Perez to the hill on Thursday afternoon as they look to halt this three-game losing streak, avoid a sweep and in turn end an otherwise forgettable series against the Astros on a positive note.

Perez will be opposed by veteran right-hander and his former Twins rotation mate Jake Odorizzi for Houston.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Red Sox ride bullpen to 3-1 victory over Marlins in Will Venable’s managerial debut

With Alex Cora in Puerto Rico for his daughter’s graduation from high school and a paid attendance of over 25,000 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were able to hold on and secure a series victory over the Marlins with a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Nathan Eovaldi made his 11th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set and provided the Sox with 5 1/3 quality innings of work.

Over those 5 1/3 innings, the veteran right-hander kept Miami off the scoreboard while scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the evening.

While he did retire 16 of the 22 hitters he faced on Saturday, Eovaldi also dealt with his fair share of foul balls — 26 to be exact — which ultimately led to an uneconomical outing, if that makes sense.

By the time he issued a one-out single to Garrett Cooper in the top half of the sixth, Eovaldi’s pitch count was already over 100, and that resulted in his day coming to a close right then there.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (71 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 46% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six swings-and-misses while topping out at 98.2 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 6-2 on the season while lowering his ERA to 4.01, Eovaldi’s next start should come against his hometown Astros in Houston next Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he stranded the runner he inherited by retiring the side in the sixth before allowing two of the three batters he faced in the seventh to reach base.

Of the three hits Taylor gave up (a single, a ground-rule double, and an infield single, the average exit velocity on those balls put into play was 58.4 mph, so it goes without saying that the lefty was the recipient of some tough luck.

Adam Ottavino came on to face the right-handed hitting Starling Marte, who he walked on five pitches to fill the bases for the meat of the Marlins’ order.

A lengthy battle with Jesus Aguilar wound up going Ottavino’s way, as he got the Miami slugger to whiff on a 3-2 slider. He followed that by fanning Cooper on four pitches, with the fourth and final pitch being an 82 mph slider that got a fiery reaction out of the usually-tepid righty as he made his way back to the Red Sox dugout.

From there, Darwnizon Hernandez got the first two outs of the eighth before handing things over to Hirokazu Sawamura, who, like Ottavino, induced a dramatic, inning-ending strikeout that got him to emphatically pound his chest as he took his leave.

An inning later, Matt Barnes was deployed with a three-run lead to protect, and despite surrendering a run, the Sox closer did just that when he got Cooper to ground into a game-sealing 4-6-3 double play to preserve the win and pick up his 12th save of the year.

All in all, bench coach Will Venable — filling in for Cora — and the rest of the Red Sox coaching staff pieced together a pitching performance in which five relievers were used, only one run was given up, and the final 11 outs were recorded by the Boston bullpen. Not too shabby.

Because of the impressive showing from the Sox’ pitching staff, the Red Sox lineup did not need to do much in terms of offensive firepower on Saturday.

Matched up against Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers, Bobby Dalbec got the scoring started for Boston with an RBI single in the bottom half of the second.

In the fourth, Kevin Plawecki doubled his side’s lead with another run-scoring that plated Hunter Renfroe from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Renfroe himself delivered with an RBI base hit later on in the bottom of the eighth off Miami reliever Adam Cimber, this time driving in Rafael Devers on his third knock of the day.

That put the Red Sox up 3-0, and 3-1 would go on to be Saturday’s final score from Fenway.

Next up: Alcantara vs. Rodriguez

Sunday’s starting pitching matchup between the 24-28 Marlins and 32-20 Red Sox will feature right-hander Sandy Alcantara getting the ball for Miami and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez doing the same for Boston.

First pitch Sunday (weather permitting) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time at Fenway Park. Red Sox will be looking to complete the sweep.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Josh Taylor among baseball’s best left-handed relievers since calendar flipped to May; ‘This is the guy we envisioned,’ Alex Cora says

Junior welterweight Josh Taylor, who became just the sixth men’s boxer since 1988 to claim undisputed champion status over the weekend, is not the only professional athlete named Josh Taylor who is having a strong month of May.

Going from the world of boxing to the world of Major League Baseball, Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor has also put together an impressive month of work for himself over the last three-plus weeks.

In three relief appearances against the Blue Jays and Phillies during the Sox’ most recent road trip, Taylor tossed a total of two scoreless, no-hit innings while yielding just one walk to go along with two strikeouts. He retired six of the seven batters he faced in that three-game stretch in which Boston went 3-0.

Going back to April 30, the 28-year-old has strung together 10 consecutive scoreless outings (7 1/3 shutout innings) while limiting opponents to a .087/.192/.087 slash line.

Among 56 left-handed major-league relievers who have pitched at least seven innings since April 30, Taylor ranks first in ERA (0.00), first in weighted on-base average (.148), second in batting average against, second in on-base percentage against, second in slugging percentage against, second in WHIP (0.68), and 11th in FIP (2.47), per FanGraphs.

In the process of looking as sharp as ever out of the bullpen lately, not only has Taylor trimmed his ERA down by more than three runs (8.68 on April 30, 5.17 now), but he is also dominating against left-handed hitters, which has not always been the case throughout his career.

“This month of May, he has been throwing the ball well,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Taylor on Saturday. “Overall, amazing against lefties, which is a big difference from ’19. In ’19, he was a reverse-split guy. Now, you can mix and match with the [three-batter] rule. You’ve seen him. We’ve got two outs and there’s a lefty coming up, we use him there, then depending on where we’re at in the lineup with the opposition, we’ll push him out there or we shut him down. We’re very pleased with what he’s done.

“He’s done an amazing job also taking care of himself,” Cora added. “His routine in the weight room, in the training room. It’s a lot better than in ’19, and you can see the results… He has to keep pushing. It’s a long season. Last year, obviously was a struggle with the virus and everything. But so far, he’s been amazing in May. This is the guy we envisioned.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Homers from Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Vázquez power Red Sox to 7-3 win over Blue Jays

The Red Sox wasted no time in bouncing back from their second shutout loss of the season on Tuesday by plating five runs on five hits in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla.

Matched up against veteran starter Ross Stripling, a leadoff single from Kiké Hernández to begin things on Wednesday night proved to be the catalyst for an offensive outpouring.

Alex Verdugo followed by obliterating a hanging slider 391 feet to right field for his sixth home run of the season — a two-run shot — to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

J.D. Martinez made it a 3-0 game moments later when he mashed his 11th homer of the year to go back-to-back with Verdugo, while Christian Vazquez and Bobby Dalbec knocked in two more runs on an RBI groundout and RBI double, respectively.

With Garrett Richards leading the way on the other side of things, the Red Sox rode a productive first inning all the way to a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays to snap a two-game skid and improve to 26-18 (13-6 on the road) on the season.

Hernandez finishes triple shy of cycle

Kiké Hernández’s leadoff single in the first not only proved to be the start of a solid day at the plate for the Red Sox as a team, but for Hernandez himself as well.

The 29-year-old homered off his former Dodger teammate in Stripling to lead off the top half of the second inning and later ripped a two-out double in the fourth for his third hit of the night.

Having already completed three-quarters of the cycle in his first three at-bats Wednesday, Hernandez was unable to see it through until the end as he flew out in the sixth and struck out swinging in the eighth. Still, a three-hit day is a three-hit day.

Richards improves to 4-2, lowers ERA to 3.72

Before even taking the mound at TD Ballpark for the first time on Wednesday night, Red Sox starter Garrett Richards was gifted a five-run cushion to work with.

The right-hander got off to a shaky start by walking the first man he faced and serving up a hard-hit RBI double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr before issuing yet another free pass, which led to pitching coach Dave Bush coming out for a mound visit.

That mound visit certainly proved to be beneficial for Richards, as he settled in nicely from that point on by stringing together five consecutive scoreless frames of work.

After punching out the first two hitters he faced in the seventh, Richards yielded a single to Reese McGuire, which would mark the end of his night.

Garrett Whitlock came on in relief of the righty and allowed the runner he inherited to score on a two-run home run off the bat of Marcus Semien.

That two-run blast closed the book on Richards’ outing, who wound up being charged with two earned runs on seven hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 total innings pitched.

Though inconsistent with his command at times, Richards proved to be effective enough to pick up his fourth winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 3.72.

Of the 99 pitches (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler threw on Wednesday, 64 were four-seam fastballs, 18 were curveballs, and 17 were sliders. His next start should come against the Braves back at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

Vazquez homers for first time since April 7

After seeing his team’s five-run lead shrink to a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, Christian Vazquez got one of those runs back by crushing his third home run of the season a half inning later.

Whitlock, Ottavino, and Taylor close it out

As previously mentioned, Garrett Whitlock was deployed in relief of Richards and immediately served up a two-run shot to Marcus Semien before getting Bo Bichette to ground out to retire the side in the seventh.

From there, Adam Ottavino maneuvered his way around a one-out single in an otherwise perfect eighth inning, while left-hander Josh Taylor preserved the 7-3 win for his side by working a scoreless bottom half of the ninth.

Cordero’s exit velocity

While the likes of Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, and J.D. Martinez stole the show offensively, Franchy Cordero also had a strong day at the plate, though the results may not show it.

Returning to the Red Sox lineup for the first time since Saturday, Cordero went 1-for-4 while batting out of the nine-hole.

Of the four balls Cordero put in play on Wednesday, two –a first-inning lineout and sixth-inning double — had exit velocities of 109 and 115.2 mph. His double was the hardest-hit ball of the night.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Matz

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Blue Jays before getting on a plane to Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston, while left-hander Steven Matz will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

Picture of Kiké Hernández and Alex Verdugo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe power Red Sox to 4-3 win over Orioles

Rafael Devers enjoys swinging the bat at Camden Yards in Baltimore. That’s really no secret, and Devers showed why on Sunday afternoon.

After his side fell behind a run in the bottom of the first, Devers launched a 423-foot solo shot with an exit velocity of 110.7 mph off the bat to dead center field against right-hander Dean Kremer to knot things up at 1-1.

Later on in the sixth, Devers came through once again, this time coming up with the bases loaded and driving in a pair on another hard-hit (106.7 mph exit velocity), go-ahead two-run double to right-center field.

Devers accounted for three of the four runs the Red Sox scored against the Orioles that saw them improve to 22-13 on the season following a 4-3 victory on Mother’s Day.

Renfroe’s hot May continues

The only other Red Sox hitter who contributed to the cause offensively in this one was Hunter Renfroe.

The slugging outfielder provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance in the top half of the eighth by crushing a booming solo home run off Cole Sulser to give Boston a 4-2 lead.

Renfroe’s fourth home run of the season traveled 453 feet off his bat and had an exit velocity of over 113 mph, making it the second hardest-hit ball by a Red Sox this season.

He also made an impressive leaping catch to rob Cedric Mullins of extra bases in the bottom of the first inning.

Through eight games this month, the 29-year-old is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with three homers, nine RBI, and seven runs scored.

Pivetta allows two runs over six solid innings

Nick Pivetta made his seventh start of the season for Boston on Sunday. The right-hander allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on three hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts over six innings of work.

The first of those Orioles runs came right away in the bottom of the first, which proved to be somewhat of a grind for Pivetta considering the fact that the needed 30 pitches to get through the inning.

He walked back-to-back hitters with two outs in the first before yielding an RBI single to Ryan Mountcastle.

In the fifth, more two-out trouble arose for Pivetta, this time serving up a 384-foot solo blast to Mullins which at the time gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead.

Pivetta did manage to retire four of the last five Orioles he faced, though, and his day came to an end once as he recorded the final out of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (72 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings-and-misses while topping out at 97 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to a perfect 5-0 on the season and lower his ERA to 3.19, Pivetta’s next start should come against the Angels back at Fenway Park on Friday.

Bullpen closes it out

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the seventh inning.

Taylor walked the first man he faced, but erased that by getting Rio Ruiz to line into a 4-3 double play. He then walked another batter before fanning Mullins on five pitches to retire the side.

From there, Adam Ottavino plunked the first batter he faced in the eighth and allowed said batter to score on an RBI double off the bat of Mountcastle, which cut Boston’s lead to one run at 4-3.

That led to Matt Barnes coming out for the ninth, and the Red Sox closer needed all of nine pitches to work a 1-2-3 inning and notch his eighth save of the season to preserve the 4-3 win.

Next up: Perez vs. Lopez

The Red Sox will go four the four-game sweep over the Orioles and their fifth consecutive win overall on Monday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by right-hander Jorge Lopez for Baltimore.

Boson got to Lopez for seven runs (two home runs) in just four innings the last time they faced him on April 11.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Michael Chavis homers in first start of season as Red Sox pounce on Orioles, 11-6, for third straight win

Michael Chavis announced his return to the Red Sox with a bang on Saturday night against the Orioles.

In his first game back with Boston since last September, Chavis — who was recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Friday, crushed a 381-foot two-run home run off Baltimore starter Zac Lowther to give his side a 4-1 lead in the second inning.

The 25-year-old finished the day 1-for-6 at the plate as the Sox topped the O’s by a final score of 11-6 to improve to 21-13 on the season.

All nine members of Boston’s starting lineup either scored or drove in a run on Saturday, Chavis included.

On top of that, Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts both had three-hit nights, while Christian Vazquez and Hunter Renfroe both collected two hits.

Bogaerts homers, shows off defensive prowess

Chavis was not the only Red Sox hitter to go deep on Saturday. Xander Bogaerts also went yard to notch his seventh home run of the season in the seventh inning.

There, after the Sox had gone up 9-2 over the Orioles, the star shortstop put the finishing touches on a commanding win with yet another two-run blast to score J.D. Martinez as well as himself on a 414-foot shot off Tyler Wells.

Per Baseball Savant, Bogaerts’ homer — which gave Boston an 11-2 lead — had an exit velocity of 106.2 mph off the bat.

Not only did Bogaerts impress at the plate, he also made some nifty and somewhat crucial plays with his glove as well. Like in the sixth, when the Orioles had Garrett Richards on the ropes and had already pushed across two runs in the inning.

With one out and runners at first and second, Maikel Franco ripped a 107.9 mph groundball towards Bogaerts.

Fielding the ball to his right while on a knee, the 28-year-old quickly gathered himself, spun, and made a clean throw to second base to start an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the seventh, Bogaerts again ended an inning by flashing the leather, this time robbing Cedric Mullins of a base hit by making a leaping grab on a 96 mph lineout.

Richards goes seven innings, picks up win

Richards, Saturday’s starter for the Red Sox, twirled seven solid innings in his seventh start of the season — and third against the Orioles already.

Over those seven innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded four earned runs on eight hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

He allowed those first two Baltimore runs to cross the plate in the first and second, but then settled down for a decent stretch before allowing two more on three hits and a walk in the sixth.

Despite a taxing sixth inning, Richards did come back out for the seventh and ended his outing on a more positive note by sitting down the final three hitters he faced in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (64 strikes), the 32-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 52% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings-and-misses while topping out at 96.2 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 2-2 on the season, Richards’ next start should come against the Athletics back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Brice shaky, Taylor closes it out

In relief of Richards, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen at a point in time where his side had a seven-run lead.

Brice worked a scoreless eighth inning, but allowed two runs to score in the ninth before Josh Taylor came on to record the final out of the game on a three-pitch punchout of Trey Mancini.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Kremer

The Red Sox will go for their fourth straight win as well as a series win over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Dean Kremer for Baltimore.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Hunter Renfroe homers, but Red Sox squander scoring chances while Eduardo Rodriguez allows 4 runs over 5 innings in 8-6 loss to Rangers

The Red Sox lost a game they very well could have won against the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Saturday night.

In the fifth inning of what at the time was a 3-3 game, the first five Red Sox hitters to come to the plate reached base, resulting in two more runs crossing the plate on back-to-back RBI singles from J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts.

Now up 5-3, Boston had the chance to really blow this one open as Rafael Devers drew a five-pitch walk to re-load the bases for the bottom of the lineup.

Matched up against hard-throwing left-hander Taylor Hearn for Texas, Christian Vazquez grounded into a 5-2 force out at home plate while both Bobby Dalbec and Hunter Renfroe struck out on foul tips to retire the side.

Even while adding two runs in their half of the fifth, the Red Sox could have done more to put this game out of reach. They later paid for their inability to do much with runners in scoring position when the Rangers came back to secure an 8-6 win for themselves.

Rodriguez allows four runs in five innings

Eduardo Rodriguez made his fifth start of the season for the Sox on Saturday, but was unable to improve to 5-0.

Over five innings of work, the left-hander yielded a season-high four earned runs on eight hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The Rangers first got to Rodriguez for three runs in the third inning on a run-scoring base hit from Nick Solak and a two-run knock from Nate Lowe.

They got to him once more in the fifth inning when Isiah Kiner-Falefa led things off by belting a booming solo shot to left field, which at the time broke a 4-4 deadlock.

Rodriguez then sat down the final three hitters he faced in order, but his outing came to an end relatively quickly when considering the fact he only threw 67 pitches — 46 of which were strikes.

Of those 67 pitches, the 28-year-old hurler mixed in a healthy diet of 19 cutters, 14 sinkers, 14 changeups, 12 four-seam fastballs, and eight sliders. He topped out at 93.4 mph with his four-seamer.

Andriese, Sawamura struggle out of bullpen

In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Andriese got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Facing off against the bottom half of the Rangers’ lineup, the veteran right-hander allowed Jose Trevino to reach base on a one-out single before serving up a two-run blast to Willie Calhoun that put Texas ahead by one run at 6-5.

Andriese walked the next man he faced in Charlie Culberson, who came around to score on a two-out RBI triple off the bat of Kiner-Falefa moments later.

Josh Taylor managed to stop the bleeding by working a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, but Hirokazu Sawamura’s struggles in the Lone Star State continued as he allowed the Rangers to score what would prove to be an important insurance run on an RBI double from Culberson in the eighth.

Renfroe homers to give Red Sox early lead

Before any of Saturday’s mid-inning drama took place, Hunter Renfroe gave the Sox an early 2-0 lead when he crushed his second home run of the season: a towering 417-foot two-run blast to deep left field off Rangers starter Jordan Lyles in the top of the second.

There was a moment in the sixth inning where Renfroe had the opportunity to perhaps prevent Kiner-Falefa’s RBI triple from ever happening, but he could not come up with the hard-hit groundball that wound up rolling all the way to the right-center field wall.

Late comeback attempt falls short

After the Rangers took a 7-5 lead in the sixth, the Sox attempted to get back into it in the seventh with a leadoff double courtesy of Bogaerts.

The star shortstop moved up an additional 90 feet by swiping third base, then scored on a Vazquez sacrifice fly to make it a 7-6 game.

In the eighth, Bogaerts essentially had the game in his hands when with two outs, the Rangers intentionally walked Martinez to fill the bases for Boston’s No. 4 hitter.

On an 0-1, 89 mph changeup from Joely Rodriguez, Bogaerts laced a sharply-hit ground ball to the left side of the infield, but it was one that could be fielded by Culberson at third base and went down as an inning-ending 5-3 groundout.

Rangers closer Ian Kennedy struck out the side in order in the top of the ninth to pick up the save.

Some notes from this loss:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up: Richards vs. Foltynewicz

The 17-11 Red Sox will look to wrap up their six-game road trip on a positive note in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Rangers.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Mike Foltynewicz for Texas.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez and Co.: Aric Becker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Garrett Richards issues 6 walks as Red Sox fall to Blue Jays, 6-3

On a rainy Wednesday night at Fenway Park that caused first pitch of their game to be pushed back by about 31 minutes, the Red Sox fell short of their pursuit of another come-from-behind-victory and were instead beaten by the Blue Jays, 6-3, to drop to 12-7 on the season.

Garrett Richards struggled mightily and battled control issues in his fourth start of the year for Boston in this one.

Over 4 2/3 innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on four hits, one hit batsman, and a season-high six walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

Richards put the first three Blue Jays he faced — Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — on base on a walk, a HBP, and an RBI single off the bat of Guerrero Jr.

He managed to escape the top half of the first having just given up the one run, but more trouble arose for Richards in the second when he surrendered an additional three runs in an inning that included three hits, two walks, a sacrifice fly and run-scoring groundout, and a wild pitch.

After recording the final out of the second, Richards did string together a decent stretch in which he retired eight out of 10 Toronto hitters at one point, but a two-out walk of Marcus Semien in the fifth that put runners on first and second would mark the end of his day.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 — only 48 of which were strikes, the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 72% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing just two swings-and-misses while topping out at 95.7 mph with the pitch.

Falling to 0-2 on the year while seeing his ERA inflate to 6.48, Richards will look to bounce back in his next time out, which should come against the Mets in Queens next Tuesday.

In relief of Richards, Hirokazu Sawamura came on with two outs and two runners on in the top half of the fifth, recorded the final out of the frame, then faced the minimum three batters in a scoreless sixth inning.

From there, Phillips Valdez continued his impressive season-opening run by punching out two in a perfect top of the seventh, Austin Brice danced his way around traffic while keeping the Jays off the board in the eighth, and Josh Taylor got rocked for two runs on two hits and three walks in the ninth, which resulted in Toronto going from having a 4-3 lead to a 6-3 lead.

Taylor now owns a 10.80 ERA through his first eight appearances of the season.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox lineup that welcomed back the likes of Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton to begin things on Wednesday.

After falling behind 4-0 early on, Devers got the scoring started for his side in the fourth inning by driving in J.D. Martinez from third on an RBI groundout to short off reliever Tommy Milone.

A double and single from Marwin Gonzalez and Bobby Dalbec to lead off the fifth put the Sox in a prime position to score, and they did so when Enrique Hernandez greeted David Phelps and drilled a one-out, run-scoring double down the left field line that brought in Gonzalez from second.

Now trailing by just two runs with one out and runners in scoring position, Boston appeared ready to turn this game on its head with the meat of their lineup due to hit.

Instead of that happening, though, Verdugo was called out on strikes, Martinez walked to fill the bases, and Xander Bogaerts grounded out to retire the side and thus extinguish the threat.

Bogaerts was able to cut into the deficit by crushing his second home run in as many days in the bottom of the eighth, but three runs is all the Red Sox could manage offensively in what would go down as a 6-3 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday.

The Red Sox are 11-4 in games not started by Garrett Richards.

The Red Sox are 6-6 at Fenway Park and 6-1 away from Fenway Park.

After winning nine in a row from April 5-14, the Red Sox are 3-4 in their last seven games.

The Red Sox — after settling for a series-split against the Jays — will welcome the Mariners into town for a four-game weekend series that begins Thursday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Justin Dunn for Seattle.

Dunn, a former first-round pick of the Mets back in 2016, spent three years at Boston College from 2014-2016.

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

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Garrett Richards tosses 5 solid innings after rocky start; Rafael Devers homers again; Matt Andriese picks up save as Red Sox battle back to defeat Orioles, 6-4, in 10 innings for fifth straight win

An off-day on Friday could not halt the Red Sox’ momentum on Saturday, as the club battled back, won its fifth consecutive game, and won its second straight series with a 6-4 victory over the Orioles in 10 innings at Camden Yards.

Richards stumbles out of the gates, but turns in solid performance

After getting rocked for six runs over just two innings against the O’s in his Red Sox debut last Sunday, Garrett Richards did not get off to the best of starts in his second outing of the season on Saturday

Gifted a two-run lead before he even took the mound, the veteran right-hander served up a pair of solo homers to the very second and third hitters he faced in Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander.

At that point, it appeared as though Richards was in for a rather long — or short — evening. To his credit, though, he managed to turn things around for the better by retiring 14 of the next 18 hitters he faced in order to get through five innings.

Over those five solid frames, the 32-year-old hurler surrendered all of two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (47 strikes), Richards relied on his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing eight swings-and-misses while topping out at 95.6 mph with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision despite the decent performance, Richards’ next start should come against the Twins in Minnesota on Thursday.

Ottavino gives up late lead

In relief of Richards, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen. The left-hander danced his way around some trouble in a scoreless bottom half of the sixth and recorded the first out of the seventh before yielding a hard-hit double to the speedy Cedric Mullins.

That led to Hernandez getting the hook in favor of Adam Ottavino, who managed to escape the jam by getting two quick outs.

The eighth inning, however, was a different story for Adam Ottavino, as the veteran reliever saw his side’s 3-2 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit after surrendering two runs on three hits in the frame. Josh Taylor had to come on to get the final two outs.

Dalbec, Barnes send things to extras

After falling behind by a run in the eighth, the Sox did not waste any time getting back into things in the top half of the ninth.

One-out singles from Marwin Gonzalez and the pinch-hitting Franchy Cordero off O’s reliever Cesar Valdez put runners at the corners for a struggling Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec was unable to come through with a go-ahead hit or clutch sacrifice fly, but he was able to drive in the tying run from third by doing the next best thing: grounding into a force out at second and beating out a double play.

The fact that a hustling Dalbec beat Freddy Galvis’ throw and reached first base safely meant that Gonzalez scored from third, which tied things up at three runs a piece.

That resulted in Matt Barnes coming on for the bottom half of the ninth, and the flame-throwing right-hander continued his dominating, season-opening run by striking out a pair in yet another perfect inning of relief to send this one to extras.

Chavis, Vazquez, and Andriese seal the come-from-behind victory

Michael Chavis probably did not anticipate playing a key role for the Red Sox in their game against the Orioles when he woke up on Saturday morning, but with J.D. Martinez being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list (cold symptoms), the 25-year-old infielder was called into action from the team’s taxi squad.

Pinch-running in place of Kevin Plawecki and placed at second base to start things out in the 10th, Chavis advanced to third on a sacrifice fly then came into score on a wild pitch from Orioles righty Dillon Tate.

Walks drawn by Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts put runners at first and second for a red-hot Christian Vazquez, who proceeded to greet new Baltimore reliever Wade LeBlanc by ripping an RBI single to left field.

Vazquez’s fifth RBI put the Sox up by two at 6-4 going into the bottom of the 10th, which allowed Matt Andriese — yes, Matt Andriese — to pick up the first save of the season for any Boston reliever by tossing a scoreless inning.

Devers has rollercoaster of a game

Rafael Devers stayed hot on Saturday by mashing another home run as part of a 2-for-5 showing at the plate, but he did not necessarily get his night off on the right foot.

After plating Verdugo on an RBI single off O’s starter Bruce Zimmermann with two outs in the first, the 24-year-old wound up getting caught in a rundown between first and second with Gonzalez at the plate, though Bogaerts was able to score from third as a result of said rundown.

An inning and a half later, Devers had the opportunity to bail out Richards and record the final out of the second when Galvis struck out swinging and Rio Ruiz took off for second base.

On a nice and hard pickoff attempt from Plawecki behind the plate, Devers — playing in the shift — had the chance to tag out Ruiz at second for a strike ’em out-throw ’em out double play, but instead fielded the throw well in front of the bag and started jogging towards the visitor’s dugout.

The reason being, Devers thought there were already two outs in the inning and Galvis striking out marked the end of the frame.

That lapse in judgement did not come back to bite Devers or the Sox, but it was still a bit unusual to see nonetheless.

For as poorly as Devers may have played early on Saturday, he certainly made up for it in the later innings.

As previously mentioned, the left-handed slugger clubbed his second big fly of the season in the sixth to give his side a 3-2 lead.

He also made a clutch defensive play, when with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, Devers fielded a groundball off the bat of Mancini on one hop and got the out at first to preserve a 4-3 lead for his side.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Lopez

Next up, the Red Sox will look to enact their revenge on the Orioles by completing the three-game sweep over their division rivals on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be matched up against fellow righty Jorge Lopez for Baltimore.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.

(Picture of Red Sox: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox manage just 1 hit off John Means in Opening Day shutout loss to Orioles

For the first time since 1976, the Red Sox were held scoreless on Opening Day, as the club fell to the Orioles by a final score of 3-0 on Friday afternoon to kick off the 2021 regular season at Fenway Park.

Nathan Eovaldi made his first start of the season and second consecutive Opening Day start for Boston in this one, and he picked up where he left off last year in terms of performing well against Baltimore.

That being the case because on Friday, the veteran right-hander limited the O’s to just one run on four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work.

Eovaldi was not on the mound at the time he was charged with that one run. He had retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced leading up to the one-out mark in the top half of the sixth, at which point he got the hook in favor of fellow righty Matt Andriese on account of a relatively high pitch count.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (54 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 52% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing five swings-and-misses while topping out at 98.6 mph with the pitch.

Ultimately hit with his first losing decision of the year, Eovaldi will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come back at Fenway Park against the reigning American League champion Tampa Bay Rays next Wednesday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Andriese came on in relief with a runner on and two outs to get in the top half of the sixth inning.

Making his Red Sox debut in this one, the 31-year-old walked the first man he saw in Trey Mancini on six pitches to put runners at first and second with still just only one out in the frame.

Andriese nearly got out of the jam on one of the very next pitches he threw following that free pass, as he got Anthony Santander to rip a hard-hit groundball to second baseman Enrique Hernandez — playing in a shift — for what looked to be the start of an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play. Just what the doctor ordered.

Instead, Hernandez, also making his Red Sox debut, had a difficult time corralling Santander’s groundball on a hop that allowed all Orioles runners to reach base safely. Hernandez was charged with a fielding error as a result.

That mishap allowed the top of half of the sixth to continue, and the Baltimore bats took full advantage of that when rookie sensation Ryan Mountcastle laced a two-run double off the Green Monster on a 3-2, 93.2 mph inside fastball from Andriese to give his side a 2-0 advantage.

Andriese managed to escape the sixth without yielding anything else and even worked a 1-2-3 seventh , but the damage had already been done.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor managed to record just one out while surrendering another run on three hits to begin the top of the eighth before Austin Brice came on to clean up after Taylor by retiring the only two hitters he faced in order.

Japanese right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura, another Red Sox making their team debut on Friday, got the call for the ninth, looking to keep Boston’s deficit at a reachable three runs.

Making his major-league debut as well in this one after spending the first 10 years of his professional career overseas, Sawamura looked sharp with his four-seamer, splitter, and slider and allowed just one Oriole to reach base — a two-out double from Freddy Galvis — before getting Pedro Severino to ground out to second to retire the side and wrap up what was a solid 2021 debut.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles left-hander John Means, who was supposed to get the Opening Day nod for Baltimore last year but was held out of that start due to a “dead arm.”

Fast forward to Opening Day 2021, and Means was clearly on a mission on Friday.

The 27-year-old southpaw served up a leadoff single to the very first hitter he faced in Hernandez, but nullified that by picking off the Sox second baseman at first after he had slipped off the bag while retreating towards it on Means’ throw to first.

As simple as a play as it was, Means picking off Hernandez may have played a pivotal role in the way the rest of Friday’s contest played out.

From that point on, the O’s starter was dealt another leadoff base runner when Xander Bogaerts reached safely on a fielding error to begin the second, but then proceeded to mow down the next 18 Red Sox hitters he faced.

From the bottom of the second through the end of the seventh, Means did not allow a single man to reach base against him. There were certainly some close calls, like when Bobby Dalbec nearly barreled what would turn out to be a flyball out to left field in the sixth, but the All-Star hurler got through seven clean innings unscathed. Quite the way to kick off the new season.

In the eighth, with Means out and lefty reliever Tanner Scott in, the Sox did show some signs of life with Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez reaching base on a pair of walks.

Vazquez’s free pass came with two outs in the frame, and it brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Dalbec, ever the home run threat.

Rather than put the ball in the air, though, the 25-year-old slugger watched a first-pitch called strike whizz by, then whiffed at a 96 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate, and was caught looking on an 0-2, 97 mph heater on the outer edge of the strike zone to extinguish said threat.

In the ninth, J.D. Martinez collected his first hit of the season on a two-out double off Orioles reliever Cesar Valdez, but it went for naught as Bogaerts followed by lining out to right field to put an end to things on Friday with a final score of 3-0 in favor of Baltimore.

Some notes from this loss:

Alex Cora is now 0-3 on Opening Day as a big-league manager.

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of what is now a three-game weekend series following Thursday’s rainout.

Saturday’s pitching matchup will feature a pair of right-handers seemingly on the opposite ends of their careers, with Tanner Houck getting the start for Boston and veteran righty Matt Harvey doing the same for Baltimore.

Houck, 24, was not originally going to make the Sox’ Opening Day starting rotation out of spring training, but Eduardo Rodriguez being placed on the injured list resulted in the rookie righty getting called up from the alternate training site on Thursday.

Houck impressed upon getting called up to the majors for the first time last September, posting a 0.53 ERA and .443 OPS against over three starts spanning 17 innings of work. Neither of those three outings were against the Orioles.

Harvey, meanwhile, made the Orioles’ starting rotation out of camp after signing a minor-league deal with the club back in February.

The 32-year-old Connecticut native was once a star in the making with the Mets, but he has since regressed to the point where he is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he surrendered 15 runs over 11 2/3 innings pitched for the Royals.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be going for their first win of the season.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)