Red Sox activate Zack Kelly from paternity list, option Josh Winckowski to Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday, the Red Sox activated reliever Zack Kelly from the paternity leave list. In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Josh Winckowski was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Kelly left the Red Sox on Friday to be with his wife, Brittany, at home in South Carolina. The couple welcomed their first child — a son named Kayden — on Saturday. Players can spend up to three days on paternity leave.

Boston originally called up Kelly from Triple-A Worcester last week. The 27-year-old former undrafted free-agent made his major-league debut against the Twins in Minnesota last Monday. He has since since allowed two earned runs on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over three relief appearances spanning three innings of work. That is good for an ERA of 6.00, but a much more respectable 2.45 FIP.

Winckowski, meanwhile, started in place of the injured Kutter Crawford in Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers at Fenway Park. The 24-year-old hurler allowed two earned runs on three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Since making his big-league debut in late May, Winckowski has posted a 5.75 ERA and 5.08 FIP to go along with 41 strikeouts to 26 walks over 14 starts spanning 67 1/3 innings. He also owns a 3.83 ERA in 10 starts (47 innings) with the WooSox.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, this is the fourth time this season the Red Sox have optioned Winckowski to the minors. They can now only send him down one more time before they would need to expose him to waivers.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Kutter Crawford on 15-day injured list with right shoulder impingement

The Red Sox have placed right-hander Kutter Crawford on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement. In a corresponding move, fellow rookie righty was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Sunday morning.

Crawford was originally slated to start Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers at Fenway Park. He was instead scratched after experiencing shoulder soreness. The 26-year-old’s stint on the injured list is backdated to September 1, so he will first be eligible to return when the Red Sox open a three-game weekend series with the Royals on Sept. 16.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) prior to Sunday’s 5-2 win over Texas, Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed optimism that Crawford would only require the minimum 15 dats on the injured list.

Crawford, who last pitched in Minnesota on Tuesday, has posted a 5.47 ERA and 4.35 FIP with 77 strikeouts to 29 walks over 21 appearances (12 starts) spanning 77 1/3 innings of work for Boston this season. While there have been some impressive stretches, he has gotten tagged for 18 runs (17 earned) in his last three starts (12 2/3 innings) dating back to August 19. That is good for an ERA of 12.08.

With Crawford sidelined for the time being, Winckowski took his spot in the starting rotation on Sunday. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Both of those runs came right away in the top of the first, but Winckowski settled down and tossed three consecutive scoreless frames to end his day on a more positive note. He finished with a final pitch count of 82 (47 strikes) and lowered his ERA to 5.75, though he did not factor into the decision.

As it turns out, Winckowski’s latest big-league stint may be short-lived. As Cotillo reports, the Red Sox will need to clear a roster spot for reliever Zack Kelly, who was placed on the paternity leave list on Friday.

Kelly and his wife, Brittany, have since welcomed their first child. The 27-year-old is expected to re-join the Red Sox in St. Petersburg on Monday ahead of their upcoming series against the Rays.

That being said, it appears as though Winckowski will be optioned back to Worcester when Kelly is activated from the paternity leave list at some point on Monday. The Red Sox have three off days within the next two weeks, so they should be able to operate with a four-man starting rotation for the time being.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story lead the way as Red Sox finish off sweep of Rangers with 5-2 win; Triston Casas records first career hit in debut

The Red Sox completed their four-game sweep of the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Boston defeated Texas by a final score of 5-2 at Fenway Park to extend its winning streak to five and improve to 67-68 on the season.

Josh Winckowski, starting in place of the injured Kutter Crawford, allowed two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Both of those Rangers runs came right away in the top half of the first, as Winckowski began his day by issuing a four-pitch walk to Marcus Semien. The rookie right-hander then gave up a one-out single to Nathaniel Lowe, which put runners on the corners for Adolis Garcia, who ripped a run-scoring ground-rule double down the right field line. Jonah Heim followed by driving in Lowe with a groundout to give his side a 2-0 lead right out of the gate.

Despite that early deficit, the Red Sox lineup quickly responded in their half of the first. Matched up against Rangers righty Dane Dunning, Tommy Pham and Alex Verdugo both reached base on a pair of hard-hit singles before Xander Bogaerts came through with a ground-rule double of his own to cut Texas’ lead in half.

After Rafael Devers popped out into foul territory, Trevor Story took aim at the National Car Rental sign above the Green Monster for a 382-foot three-run blast. Story’s 16th home run of the season was accompanied by a bat flip and had an exit velocity of 101.9 mph. It also gave Boston its first lead of the day at 4-2.

An inning later, Connor Wong drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second base when Pham was hit by a pitch, and moved up to third on a Verdugo flyout. Bogaerts then drove him in with a sharply-hit opposite field single.

Winckowski, who had already retired the side in order in the top of the second, continued to settle into his outing by tossing two more scoreless innings. The 24-year-old hurler threw 82 pitches (47 strikes) and induced nine swings-and-misses while lowering his ERA on the season to 5.75.

In relief of Winckowski, Kaleb Ort received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Ort worked his way around a walk in the fifth and recorded the first two outs of the sixth before Wong threw out Leody Taveras at second base to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia and Matt Strahm each faced the minimum in the seventh and eighth, paving the way for John Schreiber to come on in the ninth. Schreiber, in turn, notched his second save in as many days by punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning. As a result, Ort was credited with the first winning decision of his big-league career.

Speaking of firsts, Triston Casas made his highly anticipated major-league debut on Sunday. The 22-year-old recorded his first career hit on an infield single in the fifth inning as part of a 1-for-4 day at the plate. He made solid contact on three separate occasions and provided stout defense at first base.

Story, meanwhile, provided some stellar defense of his own in the sixth inning. Playing in shallow right field as part of the shift, Story left his feet and made a fantastic leaping grab to rob Heim of a 107.7 mph line-drive single. On the other side of the ball, the 29-year-old finished a triple shy of the cycle and is now batting .464 (13-for-28) over his last seven games since returning from the injured list on August 27.

To the right of Story, Bogaerts went 3 for 4 with a double, two RBIs, and one run scored. He has now compiled eight straight multi-hit games to raise his batting average to an American League-leading .317.

Next up: On to St. Petersburg

Even on the heels of their first series sweep since late June, the Red Sox still trail the Blue Jays by 7 1/2 games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot. They will look to make up more ground in that race as they open a three-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg on Monday.

Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to get the start for Boston in the series opener. Tampa Bay has yet to name a starter.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox scratch Kutter Crawford from scheduled start on Sunday due to shoulder soreness

When the Red Sox go for a four-game sweep of the Rangers on Sunday afternoon, right-hander Kutter Crawford will not take the Fenway Park mound as originally planned.

Crawford has instead been scratched from his start due to shoulder soreness, manager Alex Cora said following Saturday’s 5-3 win over Texas. Boston has yet to announce who will start in his place on Sunday.

The shoulder soreness Crawford is currently experiencing stems from him playing catch on Friday. The decision to scratch the 26-year-old was made out of an abundance of caution, as the Red Sox will know more about his status later Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

“He wasn’t moving well today after he played catch yesterday so we’re not going to push him,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) while adding that a stint on the injured list is a possibility.

With Crawford unable to go on Sunday, fellow righty Josh Winckowski is a candidate to start in his place. The 24-year-old was optioned to Triple-A Worcester on August 24, but has since been added to the big-league club’s taxi squad.

Winckowski last pitched for the WooSox one week ago Sunday, allowing four earned runs on five hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over four innings against the Syracuse Mets. In 13 starts for Boston this season, the 6-foot-4, 202-pound hurler owns an ERA of 5.83.

Crawford, who last pitched for the Red Sox in Minnesota on Tuesday, has posted a 5.47 ERA and 4.35 FIP with 77 strikeouts to 29 walks over 21 appearances (12 starts) spanning 77 1/3 innings of work this season. He has been tagged for 18 runs (17 earned) in his last three starts (12 2/3 innings) dating back Aug. 19.

As Cotillo suggested, Winckowski will likely be called up from Worcester if Crawford does indeed require a stay on the injured list. If he does not, Boston could elect to go in the direction of a bullpen game for Sunday’s series finale.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Brayan Bello from injured list, option Josh Winckowski to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have reinstated right-hander Brayan Bello from the 15-day injured list, the club announced Wednesday. In a corresponding move, fellow righty Josh Winckowski was optioned to Triple-A Worcester following Tuesday night’s loss to the Blue Jays.

Bello will make his fourth start and sixth overall appearance of the season against Toronto on Wednesday. The 23-year-old returns to the big-league club after missing the last three weeks with a left groin strain he originally sustained while pitching in relief of Rich Hill in Houston on August 3.

In two rehab starts between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last week, Bello allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with 11 strikeouts over eight combined innings.

Regarded by Baseball America as the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system, Bello made his major-league debut on July 6. Since then, the Dominican-born hurler has posted an 8.47 ERA — but much more respectable 3.65 FIP — with 15 strikeouts to 11 walks across 17 total innings of work.

Bello will effectively take Nathan Eovaldi’s spot in the Sox’ starting rotation for the time being, as Eovaldi was placed on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation on Tuesday.

Winckowski, who started in place of Eovaldi in Tuesday’s 9-3 loss to the Jays, surrendered six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old now owns an ERA of 7.86 and a FIP of 6.42 over six starts (26 1/3 innings) for Boston since returning from a bout with COVID-19 on July 26.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Josh Winckowski struggles again as Red Sox get trounced by Blue Jays again in 9-3 loss

Not even an hour-long rain delay could prevent the Red Sox from getting throttled by the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. After rainy conditions moved first pitch from 7:10 to 8:10 p.m., Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 9-3 at Fenway Park.

Despite what that final score may indicate, it was actually the Red Sox who jumped out to an early lead. While matched up against Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling, Christian Arroyo led off the bottom of the second inning with a sharply-hit double. Enrique Hernandez followed by lacing a hard-hit single back up the middle to drive in Arroyo and make it a 1-0 game through two.

To that point, Josh Winckowski had managed to strand a pair of base runners in scoring position while retiring six of the first Blue Jays he faced over two scoreless frames.

Winckowski, who was starting in place of the injured Nathan Eovaldi, also recorded the first two outs of the third after giving up a leadoff double to Jackie Bradley Jr. It was there when the wheels began to fall off for the rookie right-hander.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tied things up at one by plating Bradley Jr. on a 340-foot double to the gap in right-center field. Alejandro Kirk drew a four-pitch walk to put runners at first and second for Teoscar Hernandez, who drove in Gurriel Jr. with a single. Another base hit from Bo Bichette filled the bases for Matt Chapman, who drew a six-pitch walk to walk Kirk.

Winckowski was then pulled in favor of Austin Davis, but the Blue Jays were not done there. Cavan Biggio greeted the left-hander by scoring two on a single to center field. Bradley Jr. drew another free pass to fill the bases for George Springer, who roped a 267-foot line drive to the opposite field that Rob Refsnyder sold out for.

Refsnyder could not make the diving catch, however, and Springer’s screamer rolled past him, allowing all three of Chapman, Biggio, and Bradley Jr. to score. Springer’s three-run triple gave Toronto a commanding 8-1 lead. Six of those runs were charged to Winckowski; the other two were charged to Davis.

Of the 61 pitches Winckowski threw on Tuesday, 34 went for strikes. The 24-year-old hurler gave up six hits, two walks, and struck out two over 2 2/3 dismal innings. He only managed to induce six swings-and-misses in the process of raising his ERA on the season to 5.83.

Davis, meanwhile, was thrust into mop-up duty. And while the lefty ended things in the third and did not allow another run to score over the next two innings, he did raise his ERA on the season to 5.33. That includes an ERA of 8.68 over his last 24 outings dating back to June 17.

Jeurys Familia took over for Davis in the sixth and struck out two in a perfect frame. Hirokazu Sawamura, on the other hand, surrendered an RBI single to Bradley Jr. in the seventh before getting Springer to ground into an inning-ending double play.

In the latter half of the seventh, the Red Sox got on the board for the first time since the second inning. After being held in check by Stripling, who scattered six hits across six one-run frames, Boston took advantage of Yusei Kikuchi’s inability to command the strike zone.

Franchy Cordero and Kevin Plawecki drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. After Refsnyder punched out, Cordero proceeded to score from second when Alex Verdugo grounded into a force out at second base. The Blue Jays nearly turned a double play, but Biggio made a poor throw over to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base, which allowed Cordero to score the Sox’ second run of the night.

Following a scoreless eighth inning from Ryan Brasier, Reese McGuire made his professional pitching debut in the top of the ninth. Traditionally a catcher, McGuire worked between 53-72 mph and needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order.

Down to their final three outs in the bottom of the ninth, Plawecki and Refsnyder led off with back-to-back singles. Rafael Devers plated Plawecki with a two-out single through the right side of the infield. That brought McGuire to the plate, and he popped out to left field to end it.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 60-64 on the season. They also dropped to 3-11 against the Blue Jays and now trail the Mariners by 6 1/2 games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Bogaerts, Pham exit due to back spasms

In the process of getting trounced by the Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Red Sox lost a pair of starters — Xander Bogaerts and Tommy Pham — to back spasms.

Pham left in the third inning after attempting to field Bradley Jr.’s leadoff double off the Green Monster. This is the third time in the last five days he has left a game early due to back issues. He was replaced in left field by Verdugo and is currently day-to-day.

Bogaerts came out of the game in the top of the seventh inning and was replaced at shortstop by Hernandez. He, too, is day-to-day.

Next up: Bello returns?

The Red Sox have yet to announce who will start the middle game of this three-game series on Wednesday, though right-hander Brayan Bello appears to be the top candidate. Fellow righty Jose Berrios will start for the Blue Jays.

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

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

Red Sox place Nathan Eovaldi, Eric Hosmer on injured list; Josh Winckowski, Franchy Cordero recalled from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game series against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the Red Sox placed right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation. They also placed first baseman Eric Hosmer on the 10-day injured list due to low back inflammation.

In a pair of corresponding moves, right-hander Josh Winckowski and first baseman Franchy Cordero were recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Eovaldi, who last pitched against the Yankees on August 12, has been scratched from his last two starts due to right trapezius muscle soreness. The 32-year-old hurler had been optimistic that he could avoid the injured list, but that is no longer the case.

This will be Eovaldi’s second stint on the injured list this season, as the righty was previously sidelined from June 12-July 10 with low back inflammation. When healthy, Eovaldi has posted a 4.15 ERA and 4.50 FIP with 96 strikeouts to 18 walks over 18 starts spanning 99 2/3 innings of work. That includes a 2.95 ERA in the month of August.

Hosmer, meanwhile, left Saturday’s game against the Orioles in the fifth inning due to a back issue and did not play in Sunday’s Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa. Since being acquired from the Padres on Aug. 2, the left-handed hitting 32-year-old has batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs, four walks, and nine strikeouts in 12 games (45 plate appearances) with the Red Sox.

Eovaldi’s stint on the injured list was backdated to Aug. 19, so he will be eligible to return on Saturday, September 3, at the earliest. Hosmer’s stint on the injured list was backdated to Aug. 21, so he will be eligible to return to action one week from Wednesday at the earliest.

Winckowski will start in place of Eovaldi for Tuesday’s series opener against Toronto. The 24-year-old hurler was most-recently optioned to Worcester last Friday, but was eligible to be recalled within 15 days as long as he was replacing an injured player.

Since making his big-league debut on May 28, Winckowski has posted a 5.19 ERA and 5.21 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 21 walks over 12 starts (60 2/3 innings) for Boston. He had compiled a solid 3.71 ERA across a six-start stretch from June 15-July 13, but has struggled to a 6.46 ERA (6.71 FIP) since returning from a bout with COVID-19 on July 26.

Cordero, on the other hand, served as the Red Sox’ 27th man in Williamsport on Sunday and hit a game-tying, pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning. The 27-year-old was technically optioned back to Worcester after the game, but his latest stint with the WooSox proved to be short-lived.

Including Sunday’s performance, Cordero is now slashing .222/.300/.380 to go along with 17 doubles, one triple, five homers, 25 RBIs, 32 runs scored, four stolen bases, 24 walks, and 78 strikeouts over 73 games (245 plate appearances) with the Red Sox this season. He will be batting eighth and starting at first base for Boston on Tuesday.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi will not start for Red Sox on Tuesday, could be headed for injured list

Nathan Eovaldi will not make his next scheduled start for the Red Sox on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) in Williamsport, Pa. earlier Sunday afternoon.

Eovaldi, who had his last turn through the rotation skipped because of a sore right trapezius muscle, has not bounced back the way the Red Sox were hoping and will therefore not be available for Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. It remains to be seen if he will require a stint on the injured list.

“Nate is not going to start on Tuesday,” Cora said. “He hasn’t been able to bounce back in the same area, the trap, kind of, like, in there. IL, we don’t know yet. But he won’t start on Tuesday. That’s where we’re at.”

Eovaldi last pitched against the Yankees on August 12, allowing two runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over six innings of work. The veteran right-hander also flashed diminished velocity, averaging just 94.4 mph with his four-seam fastball, which was down from his yearly average of 95.9 mph.

When it was revealed that Eovaldi would not start against the Pirates last Thursday, the 32-year-old hurler said he first experienced the soreness around his right trap a few days after his most-recent outing. He also indicated that, if it were up to him, he could have pitched in Pittsburgh.

“But we’re playing it safe,” said Eovaldi, via The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “I’m just going to skip this turn and be ready to go Tuesday against Toronto.”

That will no longer be the case, though Eovaldi remains optimistic he can avoid the injured list.

“It’s frustrating. I feel like it’s going a little slower than we anticipated but I’m feeling a lot better,” Eovaldi told Browne on Sunday. “Every day, it’s just how can we make sure that I’m 100 percent especially going down the road for this next stretch. That’s the main goal, to avoid [the IL].”

Fellow right-hander Josh Winckowski wound up starting in Eovaldi’s place on Thursday and got rocked for seven runs over five innings. The 24-year-old rookie was optioned to Triple-A Worcester that same night.

Earlier this season, Eovaldi spent more than a month on the injured list due to low back inflammation. Since returning on July 15, he has posted a 6.32 ERA and 4.43 FIP with 24 strikeouts to eight walks over his last six starts and 31 1/3 innings. That includes a 2.95 ERA in the month of August.

If Eovaldi winds up going on the injured list again, Winckowski would be a logical choice to replace him in Boston’s starting rotation. Although he was only optioned three days ago, Winckowski can be recalled at any time as long as he is replacing an injured player. In this case, that would be Eovaldi.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Matt Strahm from injured list, option Josh Winckowski to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have activated left-handed reliever Matt Strahm from the 15-day injured list ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Orioles in Baltimore.

In order to clear a spot for Strahm on the 26-man roster, rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski was optioned to Triple-A Worcester following Thursday’s 8-2 loss to the Pirates, as was first reported by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Strahm, who joined the team in Pittsburgh on Thursday, had been on the injured list with a left wrist contusion since July 13. The previous night, the 30-year-old southpaw was hit in the wrist by a 98 mph line drive off the bat of Rays shortstop Taylor Walls.

Although X-rays came back negative, Strahm was unable to resume throwing again until earlier this month. He was then sent out on a brief rehab assignment this past Tuesday and needed just 14 pitches (9 strikes) to toss a scoreless sixth inning for the WooSox at Polar Park.

In 33 relief appearances for Boston this season, Strahm has posted a 3.58 ERA and 2.61 FIP to go along with 32 strikeouts to seven walks over 27 2/3 innings of work. The Red Sox signed the 6-foot-2, 190-pound hurler to a one-year, $3 million deal back in March.

Winckowski, meanwhile, made his 12th start of the season on Thursday night after Nathan Eovaldi was scratched due to trap soreness. The 24-year-old righty allowed six earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over five innings. He served up a pair of two-run home runs to Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds in the process of getting charged with his sixth losing decision of the year.

Thursday’s poor outing continues a recent trend for Winckowski, who now owns a 6.46 ERA across his last five starts (23 2/3 innings) since returning from a bout with COVID-19 on July 26.

Called up for the first time in late May, Winckowski produced a 4.38 ERA and 4.26 FIP with 26 strikeouts to 14 walks over seven starts and 37 innings pitched to begin his big-league career. He was one of five players the Red Sox acquired from the Mets and Royals in the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City last February.

Currently regarded by Baseball America as as the fifth-ranked pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system, Winckowski has pitched to a 3.37 ERA (2.71 FIP) in nine starts with the WooSox this season.

As noted by Cotillo, Winckowski is a leading candidate to re-join the Red Sox when rosters expand from 26 to 28 players on September 1. In the meantime, he will serve as top-level rotation depth in Worcester and could be called upon again soon if Eovaldi (who is now scheduled to start on Tuesday) winds up going on the injured list.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Josh Winckowski allows 6 runs as Red Sox manage just 5 hits, fail to finish off sweep of Pirates in 8-2 loss

The Red Sox were unable to complete a three-game sweep over the Pirates on Thursday night. Boston fell to Pittsburgh by a final score of 4-2 at PNC Park, thus marking the end of its three-game winning streak.

Josh Winckowski made his 12th start of the season for the Sox after Nathan Eovaldi was scratched due to trap soreness. The rookie right-hander allowed six earned runs on seven hits and one walk to go along with just two strikeouts over five innings of work.

The Pirates got to Winckowski right away in the first inning. After Kevin Newman reached base on a one-out single, Bryan Renolds crushed a two-run home run to give his side an early 2-0 lead for the second night in a row.

Winckowski managed to retire the side in order in the second, but ran into more trouble in the third by giving up back-to-back two-out singles to Newman and Reynolds. Ben Gamel followed by lacing a two-run double over Tommy Pham’s glove in deep left field, scoring both Newman and Reynolds to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

The Newman-Reynolds combination got to Winckowski again in the fifth, as the former ripped a one-out single to center field before the latter clubbed another two-run home run. Reynolds’ 20th homer of the season gave Pittsburgh a commanding 6-0 lead. Winckowski’s night came to an end after he recorded the final out of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (53 strikes), Winckowski managed to induce just six swings-and-misses while averaging 94.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. The 24-year-old hurler was ultimately charged with the loss and saw his ERA on the season rise to 5.19.

In relief of Winckowski, Austin Davis received the first and only call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander surrendered two runs, both of which came in the bottom of the sixth inning.

After issuing a one-out walk to Greg Allen, Davis gave up an RBI double to the pinch-hitting Michael Chavis (who he was traded for last July). Chavis proceeded to score from second on an RBI single off the bat of Tyler Heineman, which made it a 8-0 contest in favor of the Pirates.

It took until the seventh inning for the Sox to put a runner in scoring position. After being completely held in check by Pirates starter J.T. Brubaker, Alex Verdugo advanced to second base with one out in the seventh on a throwing error by shortstop Oneil Cruz.

Verdugo was stranded at second in the seventh, but the Boston bats finally got on the board in the eighth. Reese McGuire and Bobby Dalbec greeted new reliever Zach Thompson with back-to-back one-out singles. Jarren Duran then drew an eight-pitch walk to fill the bases for Pham, who plated McGuire on a chopper to third base.

Rafael Devers promptly drove in Dalbec on a sacrifice fly to center field before Xander Bogaerts re-loaded the bases by drawing another walk off Manny Banuelos. But Verdugo struck out on six pitches to extinguish the threat.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, J.D. Martinez, Christian Arroyo, and McGuire went down quietly against Colin Holderman to wrap up another lifeless defeat in which the Red Sox tallied just five hits. None of those hits went for extra-bases.

With the loss, Boston drops to 58-59 on the season and 8-10 in interleague play.

Next up: Baltimore awaits

The Red Sox will next travel to Balitmore to take on the Orioles in a three-game weekend series that concludes in Williamsport, Pa. with the annual Little League Classic on Sunday night. Kutter Crawford is slated to get the ball for Boston in Friday’s opener while fellow right-hander Jordan Lyles is expected to do the same for Baltimore.

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

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)