Red Sox’ decision to pick up Christian Vázquez’s 2022 team option was ‘not a no-brainer’, per report

The Red Sox may have exercised Christian Vazquez’s club option for the 2022 season back in November, but it apparently was not a simple decision for the team to make.

As part of the three-year, $13.35 million contract extension Vazquez signed with the Sox before the 2018 season, there was a team option attached for a potential fourth year in 2022.

The value of that option was dependent on the number of plate appearances Vazquez accrued during the 2020 and 2021 campaigns. Since he fell short of the threshold he needed to reach, the veteran catcher’s option for 2022 decreased from $8 million to $7 million.

Coming off a season in which he batted .258/.308/.352 with 23 doubles, one triple, six home runs, 49 RBIs, 51 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 84 strikeouts over 138 games (498 plate appearances) while leading all big-league backstops in innings caught (1,051 1/3), the Red Sox were put in a position where they had to decide if they wanted Vazquez back for $7 million.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. ultimately decided on having Vazquez return for 2022, but that resolution may not have been reached unanimously within the organization.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “sources indicate the decision to pick up Vázquez’s $7 million option was not a no-brainer, and that there was internal debate over whether he was worth that salary after a down year in 2021.”

The idea that Boston would decline Vazquez’s option and allow the 31-year-old to become a free agent can be backed up by a recent report from the Miami Herlad which states that the Red Sox made an offer “and at one point thought they had a deal” to acquire Gold Glove Catcher Jacob Stallings from the Pirates.

Stallings, who was dealt from the Marlins to the Pirates in late November, is slightly older than Vazquez as he turns 32 next week. He was also the best catcher in baseball this season when it comes to Defensive Runs Saved (21) and is under team control through the end of the 2024 season.

Because of the Sox’ reported interest in a controllable backstop such as Stallings, Cotillo writes that it would not be surprising if “the Red Sox make a surprising move to upgrade at catcher — and add a controllable player — sooner rather than later.”

At present, the Red Sox have four catchers on their 40-man roster between Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki, and prospects like Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez.

Although Vazquez and Plawecki are seemingly locked in to begin 2022 as Boston’s top two catchers with Wong and Hernandez waiting in the wings at Triple-A Worcester, the expectation seems to be that Bloom and his staff are not done adding.

Once the Major League Baseball lockout ends and the transaction freeze is lifted, it appears as though the Red Sox will continue to explore upgrading at catcher. And while the free-agent market may be decimated in that department, the trade market certainly is not.

The Padres, as noted by Cotillo, also have four catchers on their 40-man roster in Jorge Alfaro, Luis Campusano, Victor Caratini, and Austin Nola. The Athletics, who are expected to tear down their roster once the lockout is lifted, represent another intriguing match since they could offer Sean Murphy.

Murphy, 27, won the Gold Glove Award for American League catchers this season and is not slated to hit free agency until after 2025. His asking price would presumably be high, but it could be something worth exploring for the Red Sox.

(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Kevin Plawecki to one-year deal, thus avoiding arbitration; veteran catcher will earn $2.25 million in 2022

The Red Sox have signed catcher Kevin Plawecki to a one-year deal for the 2022 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration, the club announced Wednesday morning.

Plawecki, who turns 31 in February, will earn $2.25 million in 2022, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive $2 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Originally signed to a one-year deal last January, Plawecki has emerged as a stable presence behind the plate while backing up Christian Vazquez in his time with the Red Sox.

This past season, the 30-year-old backstop slashed a solid .287/.349/.389 to go along with seven doubles, three home runs, 15 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 12 walks, and 26 strikeouts over 64 games spanning 173 plate appearances.

Plawecki put up those numbers while earning $1.6 million in 2021, so the $2.25 million he will receive this coming season represents a a 40.6% increase from that amount.

The right-handed hitter out of Purdue University figures to once again slot in behind Vazquez as Boston’s No. 2 catcher going into the spring and is slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.

By locking up Plawecki for 2022, the Red Sox have now signed two of their eight arbitration-eligible players after inking right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier to a one-year pact and not tendering a contract to speedy outfielder Tim Locastro on Tuesday.

Besides Plawecki and Brasier, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Pivetta, and Josh Taylor are all arbitration-eligible players who remain unsigned, though they have been tendered contracts for the 2022 season.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kevin Plawecki expected to start over Christian Vázquez, catch Nathan Eovaldi in Tuesday’s Wild Card Game vs. Yankees

When the Red Sox take the field at Fenway Park for Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees, it will most likely be Kevin Plawecki — not Christian Vazquez — catching starter Nathan Eovaldi.

While Vazquez clearly established himself as the Sox’ top catcher this season by leading all major-league backstops in innings caught (1,051 1/3), Plawecki forged a better repertoire with Eovaldi over the course of the 2021 campaign.

Of the team-leading 32 starts Eovaldi made for Boston this year, 17 came with Plawecki behind the plate and 13 came with Vazquez catching him. With Plawecki, the right-hander posted a 3.28 ERA and .644 OPS against over 96 innings of work. With Vazquez, on the other hand, he put up a significantly higher 4.77 ERA and .766 OPS against in 66 innings.

“Those two have done an amazing job together,” Red Sox manager Cora said Monday in regards to the Eovaldi-Plawecki battery. “Nothing against Christian, but they have been good. I think that’s just the answer. You know, offensively, I think both have done a good job lately. You know, Kevin can catch up with the fastball, too. We know that.”

Though Cora did mention that Vazquez will be ready in the event that he is needed Tuesday, the decision to start Plawecki speaks to the level of confidence the Sox have in their backup.

Despite some defensive concerns, the 30-year-old veteran enjoyed another productive season at the plate in which he slashed .287/.349/.389 (102 wRC+) with seven doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI, 15 runs scored, 12 walks, and 26 strikeouts over 64 games (173 plate appearances) in limited playing time.

As Cora alluded to, Plawecki did have success against the fastball this season, as he hit .280 and slugged .410 while clubbing all three of his homers off that particular pitch.

Plawecki’s ability to handle the fastball should come in handy on Tuesday with ace right-hander Gerrit Cole on the mound for New York to start things off. Per Baseball Savant, Cole relied on his four-seam fastball more than any other pitch this season by turning to it more than 47% of the time.

In seven games — four of which were starts — against the Yankees this year, the right-handed hitting Plawecki slashed an impressive .313/.389/.563 across 18 trips to the plate.

Against Cole specifically, Plawecki is 1-for-3 with a single and strikeout, though all three of those plate appearances came back in 2015 — when Plawecki was a rookie with the Mets and Cole was still with the Pirates.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki and Nathan Eovaldi: Winslow Townson/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)

Darwinzon Hernandez gives up game-winning grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton as Red Sox squander late lead in 5-3 loss to Yankees

No longer donning their yellow City Connect threads, the Red Sox squandered a late lead and dropped their second straight to the Yankees in dramatic fashion at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Despite a strong performance from Nick Pivetta, Boston fell to New York by a final score of 5-3, marking their second consecutive defeat coming on the heels of a seven-game winning streak.

Pivetta, making his 29th start of the season for the Sox, rebounded from a rather short outing against the Orioles in his last time out by providing more length in Saturday’s contest against another American League East foe.

Over 5 1/3 frames of work, the right-hander surrendered just one run on three hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

One of the three hits Pivetta gave up came on a leadoff single off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to begin things in the top of the second, but he kept Stanton at first base by punching out the next three batters he faced.

Pivetta nearly ran into more leadoff trouble in the third when Rougned Odor lifted a 385-foot fly to ball to the deepest part of right field, but it was one that stayed in the park for Hunter Renfroe, as the right fielder took a potential home run away while up against the wall for the first out of the inning.

While the Yankees had a home run taken away from them in their half of the third, the Red Sox made sure the same did not happen to them in their half of the third.

To that point, Yankees starter Nestor Cortes Jr. had held the Sox hitless by retiring each of the first seven batters he faced, but Kevin Plawecki quickly changed things in that regard.

Plawecki, catching Pivetta in place of Christian Vazquez, took the second pitch he saw from Cortes Jr. — a 1-0, 86 mph cutter on the inner half of the plate — and crushed it 408 feet off the leftmost light tower over the Green Monster.

Plawecki’s third homer of the season left his bat at a sizzling 106.9 mph, and it also gave the Red Sox their first lead of the day at 1-0.

Kyle Schwarber doubled that lead in the bottom of the fifth, as he led off against Cortes by drilling a single to right field. Bobby Dalbec, like Odor, nearly clubbed a two-run homer that was instead robbed by Aaron Judge in right field. Schwarber then advanced up to second on a base hit from Plawecki and an infield single from Jose Iglesias that loaded the bases with one out.

With right-handed reliever Michael King deployed to face off against Enrique Hernandez, Schwarber easily scored from third when a wild pitch from King that eluded Sanchez wound up rolling all the way towards the visitor’s dugout.

Though Schwarber was the only one to score in the inning, Pivetta was now given a 2-0 advantage to operate with. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to get through the sixth inning, as he issued back-to-back one-out hits to Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner that put the tying run in scoring position.

That sequence resulted in Pivetta getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, with the 28-year-old finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (60 strikes). Of those 90 pitches, 55 were four-seam fastballs — seven of which led to swings-and-misses from Yankees batters.

Cora, in a tough spot, turned to Hansel Robles, who promptly uncorked a wild pitch past Plawecki that allowed Urshela to score from third while Judge was at the plate.

Gardner also moved up an additional 90 feet on the play, but he was gunned down at home plate by Devers when he attempted to score on a soft grounder from Judge, thus keeping the 2-1 lead intact for Boston.

From there, Tanner Houck took over for Robles in the seventh, walked the first two Yankees he faced on eight straight balls, but escaped the jam by inducing a 4-6-3 double play before getting Sanchez to whiff on an 0-2 slider in emphatic fashion for the final out of the inning.

In the eighth, after recording the first two outs, Houck issued another walk to Gardner, who — while representing the tying run — successfully stole second base. The righty then issued another free pass to Judge to put runners at first and second, and that prompted Cora to roll with Darwinzon Hernandez with the left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo looming for New York.

Hernandez, however, plunked Rizzo to load the bases, meaning he was now tasked with facing the ever-dangerous Stanton, who wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunity in front of him even after Cora took the time to talk things over with the lefty on the mound beforehand.

On a first-pitch, 94 mph fastball that was grooved down the heart of the plate by Hernandez, Stanton absolutely demolished a 452-foot grand slam well over everything in left field.

Stanton’s go-ahead, bases-clearing grand slam, which had an exit velocity of 114.1 mph, put the Yankees up for the first time all day, as it gave them a commanding 5-2 lead.

Luis Severino took that brand-new three-run advantage and ran with it, tossing two scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth before making way for Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

Chapman, New York’s closer, got the first out of the inning before serving up a solo shot to Dalbec (his 24th) and plunking Plawecki on the right foot, which brought the tying run to the plate as Vazquez replaced his fellow backstop as the runner at first base.

Iglesias, representing that ever-important tying run, fanned on three straight strikes, leaving things in the hand of Hernandez.

Having gone 0-for-4 with two strikeouts to that point, Hernandez was unable to come through in the clutch — as he worked a full count before ultimately grounding out to seal the 5-3 defeat for the Sox.

With the loss, their second straight coming off a seven-game winning streak, the Red Sox fall to 88-67 on the season. They are now locked in a tie with the Yankees (also 88-67) for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Montgomery in rubber match

The Red Sox will wrap up the home portion of their regular season schedule by looking to salvage this series against the Yankees on Sunday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston in the finale of this three-game set, and he will be opposed by fellow southpaw Jordan Montgomery for New York.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox mash 4 homers, hold on to 8-5 victory over Indians for third straight win

It was no simple task, but the Red Sox kicked off Labor Day weekend in style with a series-opening, 8-5 victory over the Indians at Fenway Park on Friday night to extend their winning streak to three consecutive games.

Matched up against Indians starter Cal Quantrill to begin things on Friday, the Sox received an immediate boost from leadoff man Kyle Schwarber, who crushed a 428-foot solo shot to dead center field on just the second pitch he saw in the bottom half of the first inning.

Schwarber’s 29th home run of the season, which left his bat at 106.8 mph, gave Boston an early 1-0 lead.

Kevin Plawecki doubled his side’s advantage an inning later, as he, too, took Quantrill deep by drilling a 390-foot solo homer over the Green Monster to make it a 2-0 contest.

Those two home runs took some off the pressure off Nathan Eovaldi out of the gate, and that proved to be quite beneficial.

Eovaldi, making his 27th start of the season for Boston, was — for the most part — exceptional on Friday night, allowing a total of three runs on six hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 solid innings of work.

The veteran right-hander began his evening by retiring nine of the first 11 Indians he faced, but saw his shutout bid come to an end when he served up a leadoff home run to the dangerous Jose Ramirez in the top of the fourth.

The Red Sox offense, however, returned the favor in the bottom half of the fourth, as Jonathan Arauz clubbed his second big fly of the year — both of which have come against the Indians — to right field off a Quantrill sinker, thus allowing his side to maintain its two-run lead.

After giving up the home run to Ramirez, Eovaldi responded by putting together another impressive run in which he strung together two more scoreless frames, but ran into some trouble with one out in the seventh.

At that point, Eovaldi had given up a one-out single to Bobby Bradley which was promptly followed by a game-tying, two-run blast off the bat of Austin Hedges moments later.

Having seen a 3-1 lead become a 3-3 stalemate, Eovaldi’s night came to a close after he yielded another base hit to Andres Gimenez, which led to him getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (66 strikes), the 31-year-old did raise his ERA on the season to 3.73, though he did not factor into Friday’s decision.

In relief of Eovaldi, Adam Ottavino got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, and — after allowing Jimenez to steal second base — he stranded the lone runner he inherited by punching out Myles Straw and Amed Rosario back-to-back to end the inning.

While the Sox did lose hold of their lead over the Indians momentarily, they quickly got it back in their half of the seventh, and it all started when the pinch-hitting Travis Shaw drew a leadoff walk off Quantrill.

Arauz followed by lacing double to center field that put runners at second and third base with no outs for Schwarber, who greeted new Indians reliever Trevor Stephan by ripping a two-run double to the right-center field gap.

With an exit velocity of nearly 109 mph, Schwarber’s second run-scoring hit of the night put the Red Sox back in front at 5-3.

Stephan did manage to get the first two outs of the frame by punching out Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez, but Cleveland opted to intentionally walk the left-handed Alex Verdugo so that their right-handed reliever could face Hunter Renfroe.

The right-handed hitting Renfroe made the Tribe pay dearly for that decision, as he worked a nine-pitch at-bat and — on the ninth and final pitch he saw — deposited a 2-2, 84 mph slider on the outer half of the plate a nice 369 feet over everything in left field.

Renfroe’s 26th homer of the year gave the Sox a commanding 8-3 lead going into the eighth, and it gave Ryan Brasier a comfortable cushion to work with as well.

Brasier, making his 2021 debut on Friday after dealing with a plethora of injuries, got the first two outs of the eighth inning rather quickly, but allowed the next three batters he faced to reach base, with the third and final one — Bradley — lifting an RBI single to left field to cut Boston’s lead down to four runs.

That set the stage for rookie sensation Garrett Whitlock to come on in an attempt to get the final out of the eighth, and he did just that by getting Hedges to fly out to right field.

Coming back out for the ninth, Whitlock did surrender a run that made things even more interesting, but ultimately slammed the door on the Indians with two clutch strikeouts to notch his second save of the year while also securing an 8-5 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 78-59 on the season as their lead over the Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot increases to three games.

Brasier’s 2021 debut

Of the 21 pitchers Brasier threw in his season debut on Friday, 11 went for strikes. The right-hander turned to his four-seam fastball 71% of the time he was on the mound in the eighth inning and averaged 94.4 mph with the pitch.

Lopez’s first major-league hit

Since making his big-league debut earlier this week, infielder Jack Lopez had been hitless in eight plate appearances leading into Friday. The 28-year-old rookie came through in the second inning, though, as he picked up his first career hit — a 370-foot double — with two outs in the frame.

A first for Devers at second

After Shaw pinch-hit for Lopez to lead off the seventh inning, Danny Santana was inserted as a pinch-runner once Shaw reached base upon drawing a six-pitch walk.

As a result of that substitution, Santana took over for Bobby Dalbec at first base and Dalbec slid over to third base, leading Devers to fill in for Lopez at second base.

That being said, Friday night marked Devers’ professional debut at second base, as he had never played the position at the minor- or major-league level beforehand.

Next up: Houck vs. Morgan

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Tanner Houck as they go for the series win over the Indians on Saturday afternoon.

The Indians, meanwhile, will hand the ball to fellow rookie righty Eli Morgan as they look to prevent that from happening.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo, and Hunter Renfroe: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Christian Vázquez on bereavement list, recall Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Rays at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, the Red Sox placed catcher Christian Vazquez on the bereavement list.

In a corresponding move, fellow catcher Connor Wong was recalled from Triple-A Worcester to take Vazquez’s place on the major-league roster, the club announced.

Per MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, “it’s unclear how much time Vázquez will miss” on account of the fact that “the announcement was made approximately an hour before Wednesday’s game.”

Vazquez was not in Boston’s starting lineup for Wednesday’s contest against the Rays, as Kevin Plawecki will catch right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and bat out of the six-hole.

Plawecki has been hot at the plate as of late. The 30-year-old backstop is slashing a sizzling .448/.500/.552 over his last 10 games (eight starts) and 32 plate appearances dating back to July 24.

Wong, meanwhile, is back up with the Red Sox for a fourth time this season after previously being used as a COVID fill-in over the weekend in Toronto.

Across his three prior stints with the big-league club, the 25-year-old rookie has gone 3-for-12 at the plate (.250) with one double, two runs scored, one walk, and seven strikeouts over five games, three of which were starts.

(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox storm back with 5-run 8th inning to take series from Yankees in dramatic 5-4 victory

After figuratively getting their hearts ripped out in a 4-3 loss on Saturday, it appeared as though the Red Sox were well on their way to dropping their second straight to the Yankees at Fenway Park on Sunday.

Yankees starter Domingo German absolutely dominated the Sox lineup through the first seven innings of Sunday’s contest, as he failed to yield a single hit while only allowing a pair of base runners on a walk and passed ball on a strikeout.

In addition to not being able to get anything done offensively, Boston found themselves in a four-run hole through the first 7 1/2 innings in their series finale against New York.

Red Sox starter Martin Perez had pitched well enough opposite German, giving up three runs on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over six solid innings of work thanks to a pair of double plays.

In relief of Perez, however, Yacksel Rios came on in the seventh and struggled mightily with his control, as he walked two batters and plunked another to load the bases before Josh Taylor was deployed and got through the rest of the innins unscathed.

Brandon Workman, meanwhile, saw the Yankees’ three-run lead increase to four in the eighth by serving up a leadoff triple to Gary Sanchez that was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Gleyber Torres.

So, there the Red Sox were, trailing by four runs with just nine more outs to work with against an opposing pitcher they had yet to record a hit off of.

Somehow, someway, Boston’s fortunes changed in their half of the eighth, as Alex Verdugo led things off with a hard-hit double to right field that saw German’s no-hit bid end and his day subsequently come to a close.

Matched up against Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga now, Hunter Renfroe put an end to New York’s attempt at a shutout, as he laced another line-drive double that brought in Verdugo from second to make it a 4-1 game.

Christian Vazquez kept the line moving, plating Renfroe on an RBI single to right field and moving into scoring position on another base hit courtesy of Franchy Cordero.

Following a brief mound visit as the Boston lineup flipped back over, Kiké Hernández got ahead in the count against Loaisiga at 2-0 and took full advantage of that by ripping a run-scoring double down the left field line that drove in Vazquez, cutting the deficit down to one run at 4-3.

With the Yankees opting to go with left-hander Zack Britton out of the bullpen in place of Loaisiga, Red Sox manager Alex Cora countered by pinch-hitting Kevin Plawecki for the left-handed hitting Jarren Duran.

Plawecki answered the call accordingly, scoring Cordero from third on a game-tying RBI groundout that also advanced Hernández up to third base, though he did not stay there long.

Yes, with a sacrifice fly hit just deep enough to right field, Xander Bogaerts was able to drive in a sliding Hernández from third to give his side their first lead of the afternoon at 5-4.

Given the fact that there was now a one-run lead to protect, Matt Barnes got the call for the ninth inning and promptly slammed the door on the Yankees to seal the comeback 5-4 victory for the Red Sox as well as his 21st save of the season.

With the win, their 32nd of the come-from-behind variety, the Red Sox secured a series victory and the season series with the Yankees to improve to 61-39 on the season. They also regained a one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays

The Red Sox will next welcome the Blue Jays into town for a four-game series that begins on Monday night.

Canadian-born right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while Toronto has yet to name a starter.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández and Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Kevin Plawecki activated from injured list, Connor Wong optioned to Triple-A Worcester; Danny Santana placed on IL, Michael Chavis recalled

Before opening up a three-game series against the Phillies at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, backup catcher Kevin Plawecki was activated from the 10-day injured list. In a corresponding move, catching prospect Connor Wong was optioned to Triple-A Worcester following Wednesday’s game against the Angels.

Secondly, utility man Danny Santana was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left quad strain. Santana’s stint on the IL was backdated to July 7. To fill Santana’s spot on the active roster, infielder/outfielder Michael Chavis was called up from Triple-A Worcester.

The Red Sox made all these transactions official earlier Friday afternoon.

Plawecki returns from the injured list after missing nearly three weeks of action on account of a left hamstring strain he sustained while chasing down an errant throw in Kansas City on June 20.

The 30-year-old backstop did not require a rehab assignment after traveling and working out with the team during their six-game West Coast road trip. He will be available off the bench if needed on Friday with Christian Vazquez getting the start behind the plate.

Coming into play on Friday, Plawecki has hit .254/.319/.349 with one home run, three doubles, three RBI, seven runs scored, five walks, and 12 strikeouts over 26 games (70 plate appearances) so far this season.

Wong, meanwhile, heads back down to Worcester after a rather successful first major-league stint with the Red Sox.

One of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts/David Price trade, Wong was called up from Triple-A on June 22 and went 3-for-11 (.273) at the plate with one double, two runs scored, zero walks, and seven strikeouts across four games.

The 25-year-old, who is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 catching prospect in Boston’s farm system, made his major-league debut as a pinch-runner against the Rays on June 22 and wound up scoring the winning run in a 9-5 victory. He then caught Nathan Eovaldi on three separate occasions on June 26, July 1, and July 6, and drew praise from both the right-hander and Sox manager Alex Cora while doing so.

As he makes his return to the WooSox, Wong will take what he learned in Boston and look to apply that to his game while getting more consistent playing time.

Through 16 games (64 plate appearances) with the WooSox this season, the Houston-area native is slashing just .148/.188/.246, though he did miss some time due to a hamstring injury of his own.

Turning to the next roster move now, veteran utility man Danny Santana was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a left quad strain suffered in Anaheim earlier this week.

Santana sustained the injury late in Tuesday’s loss to the Angels, and while he was available in an emergency on Wednesday, he ultimately lands on the IL because of it.

The speedy 30-year-old attempted to beat out a throw to first base while running out a ground ball hit to second in the seventh inning on Tuesday, but came up limp after the out was recorded.

While Red Sox manager Alex Cora had been cautiously optimistic that Santana might be able to avoid a trip to the injured list, he was also aware that the switch-hitter had a history when it cane to issues pertaining to his left quad.

That being the case because Santana missed a significant portion of the 2017 season with the Braves due to a left quadriceps strain that ultimately required a stay on the 60-day IL.

“With him, obviously, speed is part of his game, and moving in the outfield and all that,” Cora said Tuesday night. “So we’re going to be very careful. He has past history with that.”

With Santana’s stint on the injured list being backdated to July 7, the soonest the versatile Dominican can be activated is July 17, though it remains to be seen if he will require more than the minimum 10 days.

As for Michael Chavis, the 25-year-old is back with the Red Sox for a fifth time this season after being optioned to Worcester on July 5.

Chavis did not appear in a game for the WooSox in the four days he was there, but he is slashing .207/.230/.328 to go along with one homer, four RBI, one walk, and 22 strikeouts across 20 games (61 plate appearances) with the Red Sox so far this year while seeing time at both first and second base.

He, like Kevin Plawecki, will be available off the bench for Cora in Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. First pitch of that game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

Also, Marwin Gonzalez, who dealt with tightness in his right hamstring earlier this week, appears to be a full-go now that he faces no restrictions, per Cora.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana removed from Tuesday’s game against Angels due to left quad injury: ‘We’re going to be very careful,’ Alex Cora says

Red Sox utility man Danny Santana was forced to exit Tuesday night’s game against the Angels in the seventh inning due to a left quad injury, manager Alex Cora said.

Santana, who started at first base for Boston in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to Los Angeles, sustained the injury while running out a ground ball he hit to second base off Angels starter Shohei Ohtani.

In the process of trying to beat the throw to first, however, Santana came up limp, resulting in Bobby Dalbec taking over for him at first base.

When asked about how the veteran utility man was holding up during his postgame media availability, Cora hinted that a stint on the injured list could be possible.

“It’s his left quad, you saw him limping towards the end,” Cora said over Zoom. “Hopefully, he slowed down enough that it wasn’t that bad. Obviously, he’s getting treatment. It will come back tomorrow and see how he feels.”

Santana, who came into play Tuesday hitting .286 (8-for-28)/.310/.429 over his last seven games, is known for his speed, as evidenced by his 74 career stolen bases at the major-league level.

The 30-year-old switch-hitter also has a history when it comes to issues pertaining to his left quad, as he missed a significant portion of the 2017 season with the Braves due to a left quadriceps strain that ultimately required a stay on the 60-day IL.

“With him, obviously, speed is part of his game, and moving in the outfield and all that,” said Cora. “So we’re going to be very careful. He has past history with that. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and we’ll decide what we do.”

Santana being removed from Tuesday’s game because of injury comes one day after fellow utility man Marwin Gonzalez was forced to leave Monday’s contest at Angel Stadium on account of right hamstring tightness.

Cora had been hopeful that Gonzalez would be ready to return to action for Wednesday’s series finale against the Angels, but the possibility that he is not would put the Sox in a tough position with a short bench.

Calling up someone — like Michael Chavis or Franchy Cordero, for instance –from Triple-A Worcester would be a feasible option in this scenario were it not for the fact that the WooSox are currently taking on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Allentown, Pa., which is approximately 2,690 miles Northeast of Anaheim.

“That’s what we were talking about,” Cora said. “There’s not too many bodies around here, and I don’t think they’re going to make it on time if we have to bring in somebody from outside.”

Backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who has been on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain since June 22, has been traveling and working out with the team during this West Coast road trip.

With that in mind, the 30-year-old backstop could be activated off the IL before Wednesday’s game in the event that Boston would need a fresh body available off the bench in place of Santana and/or Gonzalez.

“Kevin is probably available,” said Cora. “If that’s the case, maybe. He ran the bases today, he’s been hitting. Tomorrow, he was going to have a heavy load of workouts behind the plate, throwing the bases and all that. If that goes well and we have to make a move, most likely it’s going to be Kevin. To have a body with Connor (Wong), who we can move around and Christian (Arroyo), too. So we feel comfortable if that’s the case.”

The Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Angels on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Theoron W. Henderson/Getty Images)