Nick Pivetta allows just 1 run over 7 strong innings as Red Sox take series opener from Rangers with 7-1 win

The Red Sox opened the final leg of their road trip with a 7-1 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Friday night. By defeating Texas to kick off the weekend, Boston improved to 12-20 on the season.

Matched up against Rangers starter Dane Dunning to begin things on Friday, the Sox drew first blood in the third inning when Enrique Hernandez drew a two-out walk. A wild pitch allowed Hernandez to advance to second base, and he immediately scored from second on a softly-hit RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Devers extended his hitting streak to seven consecutive games while giving the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. Hernandez, on the other hand, picked up where he left off in the bottom of the third by recording all three outs in center field, including a sprawling grab into the right-center gap on a 106.9 mph line drive from Nick Solak that had an expected batting average of .930.

Fast forward to the sixth inning, and J.D. Martinez ignited a three-run rally by extending his hitting streak to 14 straight games with a one-out single to left field. Xander Bogaerts followed with a single of his own to put runners at first and second for Alex Verdugo, who kept the line moving by ripping an RBI double 354 feet to right field.

Verdugo’s 103 mph laser brought in Martinez and advanced Bogaerts to third. Trevor Story, the hometown kid, then pushed across Bogaerts on a sacrifice fly while Verdugo scored on an RBI double off the bat of Franchy Cordero that was sent down the right field line.

Following a pitching change that saw Brett Martin take over for Dunning, Cordero moved up to third on a wild pitch before Vazquez greeted the new Rangers reliever by lacing a run-scoring single to right. Cordero scored on the play and, by doing so, capped off a four-run inning that put the Sox up 5-0.

In the seventh, with old friend Garrett Richards on the mound for Texas, the Boston lineup tacked on two more runs. Devers reached base via a fielder’s choice and moved up to third on a ground-rule double from Martinez. Both Devers and Martinez scored on a two-run single from Bogaerts that gave the Red Sox a commanding 7-0 lead heading into the seventh-inning stretch.

To that point in the contest, Nick Pivetta was squarely in command in what was his seventh start of the season for the Sox. As was the case in his last time out, the right-hander impressed by allowing just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over seven impressive innings of work.

Pivetta retired 18 of the first 21 batters he faced leading up until the middle of the seventh. The righty surrendered a one-out triple to Kole Calhoun. He then scored from third on a wild pitch while Nathaniel Lowe was at the plate for his side’s first run of the night.

That was Pivetta’s one and only blemish. The 29-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 85 (61 strikes) while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.08.

In relief of Pivetta, Kutter Crawford received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the eighth inning. Crawford, making his first appearance out of the ‘pen in over a week, worked a pair of scoreless frames to close out the 7-1 victory.

Some notes from this win:

Moments before doubling in the sixth inning, Alex Verdugo took a foul ball off his right foot. The outfielder was obviously able to remain in the game, but was pinch-hit for by Bobby Dalbec in the top of the seventh. He was later diagnosed with a right foot contusion.

The Red Sox are now 10-5 when scoring four or more runs this season. They went 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Friday.

Enrique Hernandez reached base four times out of the leadoff spot with one hit, two walks, and one pitch off his left shoulder.

Next up: Hill vs. Otto

The Red Sox will go for the series victory over the Rangers on Saturday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is expected to come off the COVID-19 related injured list and take the mound for Boston while Texas will turn to right-hander Glenn Otto.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Rich Hill, Jason Varitek test positive for COVID-19

Red Sox left-hander Rich Hill and game planning coordinator/catching coach Jason Varitek have both tested positive for COVID-19, manager Alex Cora revealed before Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the White Sox at Fenway Park.

Hill was originally placed on the COVID-19 related injured list alongside Enrique Hernandez on Friday. Both players were exhibiting symptoms at that time but had yet to test positive for the virus.

Since then, Hernandez has been cleared to return to action. Hill, on the other hand, will need to register two negative tests or reach an appropriate CT (cycle threshold) value on-back-to-back days before he is eligible to return.

John Schreiber, who was called up in place of Hill on Friday, remains on Boston’s major-league roster. Garrett Whitlock, meanwhile, will take the veteran left-hander’s spot in the Sox’ starting rotation for Tuesday’s contest against the Braves in Atlanta.

As for Varitek, who tested positive a few days ago, Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Saturday that the former catcher was “feeling better.”

This should not come as a surprise, but both Hill and Varitek will remain away from the team until they are cleared to return.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Kiké Hernández from COVID-19 related injured list, option Jarren Duran to Triple-A Worcester

Before losing to the White Sox on Saturday night, the Red Sox announced that they had activated center fielder Enrique Hernandez from the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran was optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

The Red Sox initially placed Hernandez on the COVID IL on Friday after the 30-year-old had been feeling under the weather the previous day, which left him out of Boston’s lineup for their series finale against the Angels at Fenway Park.

At that time, Hernandez had yet to test positive for COVID-19 despite exhibiting virus-like symptoms. That must have remained the case through Friday and into Saturday since he was able to make his return to the lineup on Saturday afternoon.

Starting in center field and batting sixth, Hernandez went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in Boston’s 3-1 loss to Chicago. The right-handed hitter is now slashing a meager .182/.252/.293 with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 12 runs scored, nine walks, and 23 strikeouts over 25 games (111 plate appearances) this season.

Duran, on the other hand, made his 2022 debut in place of Hernandez on Friday night. The 25-year-old reached base two times via a triple and HBP while also striking out once in five trips to the plate.

Though Duran’s first big-league stint of the season was a short one, it would not be surprising if he made his way back up to the Red Sox later in the year, especially if the team remains uncompetitive. Before being promoted on Friday, the speedy left-handed hitter had batted .397/.478/.638 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored, seven stolen bases, nine walks, and 13 strikeouts across 15 games (67 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Kiké Hernández and Rich Hill on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Jarren Duran and John Schreiber from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the White Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox placed center fielder Enrique Hernandez and left-hander Rich Hill on the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran and right-hander John Schreiber have been recalled from Triple-A Worcester.

Neither Hernandez nor Hill, who are both vaccinated, have yet to test positive for COVID-19. However, the two veterans have been exhibiting virus-like symptoms and will remain away from the team as they continue testing.

Hernandez first started feeling ill on Thursday and was left out of the Sox’ lineup for their series finale against the Angels. Hill, on the other hand, made his fifth start of the season on Thursday and pitched well. Garrett Whitlock will take Hill’s spot in Boston’s rotation and start against the Braves in Atlanta next Wednesday.

Even though Hernandez or Hill have not yet registered positive test results, the Red Sox are allowed to place them on the COVID-related injured list since both players have exhibited symptoms. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston is acting out of an abundance of caution after three players — Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki, and Jonathan Arauz — and manager Alex Cora all missed games last month after testing positive.

With Hernandez and Hill down for the time being, Duran and Schreiber are up. As was first reported by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Duran is up for the first time this season after getting off to a strong start in Worcester. The left-handed hitting 25-year-old was batting .397/.478/.638 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored, seven stolen bases, nine walks, and 13 strikeouts over his first 15 games (67 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

Upon making his big-league debut for Boston last July, Duran struggled to the tune of a 215/.241/.336 slash line with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, 10 RBIs, 17 runs scored, four walks, and 40 strikeouts across 112 plate appearances as a rookie. The speedster will be looking for redemption this time around as he will bat leadoff and start in center field in his 2022 debut on Friday.

Schreiber, meanwhile, is up with the Sox for the second time this season after being used as a COVID substitute in Toronto. In two relief appearances against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 27 and 28, the righty retired seven of the eight batters he faced while allowing just one hit and recording one strikeout. With the WooSox this year, he has posted a 1.46 ERA with 15 strikeouts to three walks over seven appearances spanning 12 1/3 innings of work.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox expected to call up outfield prospect Jarren Duran from Triple-A Worcester, per report

The Red Sox are expected to call up outfield prospect Jarren Duran from Triple-A Worcester ahead of Friday’s series opener against the White Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, Duran is on his way from Toledo to join the big-league club in Boston and will be added to the active roster at some point on Friday. At this time, a corresponding roster move has yet to be revealed. However, fellow outfielder Enrique Hernandez, who missed Thursday’s game against the Angels after falling ill, could very well be placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Hernandez, as noted by Speier, initially tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday but continues to exhibit virus-like symptoms. Given recent events that have seen manager Alex Cora, catchers Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki, and infielder Jonathan Arauz contract COVID, the Red Sox will be acting out of an abundance of caution.

Duran, meanwhile, has gotten his 2022 season in Worcester off to a scorching start. The 25-year-old is batting a red-hot .397/.478/.638 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored, seven stolen bases, nine walks, and 13 strikeouts over 15 games (67 plate appearances) for the WooSox.

Boston first called up Duran to make his major-league debut last July. In 33 games with the Red Sox, the left-handed hitter struggled to the tune of a .215/.241/.336 slash line with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, 10 RBIs, 17 runs scored, four walks, and 40 strikeouts across 112 plate appearances as a rookie.

This time around, the Sox will be hoping for better results. And they have reason to believe so since Duran has altered his approach at the plate to become more of a line-drive hitter who can rely on his elite speed to make an impact.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts leads the way with 4 hits as Red Sox snap skid with 7-1 win over Blue Jays

With Alex Cora back in the dugout, the Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak on Wednesday with a much-needed win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Boston defeated Toronto by a final score of 7-1 to snap their skid and improve to 8-11 on the season by doing so.

Matched up against Jays starter Ross Stripling to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox got right to work when Xander Bogaerts reached base via a two-out double in the top of the first inning. Rafael Devers followed with a sharply-hit double of his own that scored Bogaerts and made it a 1-0 game in favor of the visitors.

That sequence provided Michael Wacha with an early one-run cushion and he took advantage of it while making his fourth start of the year for the Sox. Over six quality innings of work, the veteran right-hander allowed just one run on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The lone run the Blue Jays got off Wacha came in the third inning following a pair of back-to-back leadoff singles from Tyler Heineman and George Springer. Bo Bichette advanced Heineman to third on a fielder’s choice and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove the catcher in on a fielder’s choice that was nearly an inning-ending double play.

Instead, Wacha gave up the tying run at the time. But the righty rebounded by getting through the rest of the third unscathed, stranding a runner in scoring position in the fourth, and retiring each of the final six batters he faced from the fifth through the end of the sixth to end his outing on a high note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), Wacha ultimately improved to 2-0 while lowering his ERA on the season to 1.77. The 30-year-old hurler threw 42 four-seam fastballs, 26 changeups, 11 curveballs, nine cutters, and four sinkers. He induced eight swings and misses with his changeup and averaged 93.6 mph with his heater.

Shortly before his night came to a close, the Red Sox put Wacha in position to earn the win by pushing across two more runs in their half of the sixth. Greeting new Blue Jays reliever Trent Thornton, Bogaerts led of with a single, moved up to third on a Bogaerts single, and scored on an RBI single off the bat of J.D. Martinez. Devers, meanwhile, scored on an Enrique Hernandez sacrifice fly that gave Boston a 3-1 lead.

In relief of Wacha, Jake Diekman got the first call from Cora for the bottom of the seventh and sandwiched a six-pitch walk of Santiago Espinal in between the first two outs of the inning. Hirokazu Sawamura then came on to face George Springer, who ripped a single to center field to put runners on the corners. To his credit, Sawamura escaped the jam by fanning Bichette on a 96.5 mph four-seamer.

Moments after that happened, Martinez led off the top of the eighth with a blistering 106.2 mph double off Julian Merryweather. Hernandez laced a 105.2 mph double of his own to plate Martinez. A well-executed sacrifice bunt from Jackie Bradley Jr. allowed Hernandez to move up to third and Bobby Dalbec brought him in on a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Red Sox up 5-1.

John Schreiber took over for Sawamura in the bottom half of the eighth and impressed in his 2022 debut by sitting down the side in order on 14 pitches.

The ninth inning was all about insurance for the Sox. Bogaerts drove in Trevor Story with his fourth hit of the night and Rob Refsnyder, who was pinch-hitting for Martinez, drove in Alex Verdugo on his first. That made it a 7-1 game going into the bottom of the ninth for Tyler Danish.

Danish, in turn, wrapped things up with a 1-2-3 frame to lock down the commanding, six-run victory.

Some notes from this win:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

Next up: Whitlock vs. Manoah in series finale

The Red Sox will go for a series split with the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon when they send right-hander Garrett Whitlock to the mound for his second career big-league start. Whitlock will be opposed by fellow second-year righty for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Red Sox score early, but not often in 5-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox dropped the finale of their three-game weekend series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday. Boston fell to Tampa Bay in the rubber match by a final score of 5-2, marking their fourth loss in their last five games to drop to 7-9 on the season.

Both runs the Sox scored on Sunday came right away in the first inning off Rays starter Shane McClanahan. Trevor Story led off with a hard-hit double and immediately scored on a groundball single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Xander Bogaerts advanced Hernandez into scoring position and Alex Verdugo brought him in on an RBI single of his own.

So, on nine pitches, the Red Sox found themselves in possession of an early 2-0 lead to give Rich Hill a nice cushion out of the gate. Hill, making his third start of the year and first since returning to the bereavement list, managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard while scattering four hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

Rob Refsnyder, starting in right field, aided Hill in the second inning when he gunned down Randy Arozarena, who was trying to stretch a two-out single into a two-out double, at second base for the final out of the frame.

Hill finished his day retiring five of the final eight batters he faced. 35 of the 62 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes.

Before first pitch on Sunday, it was expected that Tanner Houck would piggyback off of Hill since Boston cannot use the right-hander during their series in Toronto. Rather than have Houck take the mound in the fifth, however, acting manager Will Venable first turned to Phillips Valdez out of the bullpen.

Valdez, in turn, recorded just one out while loading the bases on one walk and two hit batsman. Ryan Brasier then came on and allowed all three of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run double from Ji-Man Choi and RBI groundout from Manuel Margot that gave Tampa Bay their first lead of the day at 3-2.

Matt Barnes got the call for the sixth inning and yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Arozarena. Kiermaier, the hero of Saturday’s contest, moved up to third on a Wander Franco groundout. Following a pitching change that saw Jake Diekman take over for Barnes, the speedy outfielder scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-2 game.

Diekman remained in the game in the seventh and served up a solo home run to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays a 5-2 edge. It was not until later in the inning when Houck finally emerged and sat down the only five hitters he faced in order to keep the three-run deficit intact at the end of eight.

Down to their final three outs of the ninth, Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, and Travis Shaw went down in order against Ryan Thompson to seal a 5-2 defeat for the Red Sox.

Next up: On to Toronto

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto while leaving unvaccinated players such as Houck behind to open a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night.

In the opener, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jose Berrios doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centere is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Red Sox close out road trip by holding on to defeat Tigers, 9-7

The Red Sox improved to 3-3 on the young season with a series-clinching 9-7 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Battling rainy conditions, Nathan Eovaldi made his second start of the year for Boston. The veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered on Wednesday came by way of the home run ball, as Jonathan Schoop got the scoring started with a two-out solo shot in the bottom of the first.

Two innings later, the Sox lineup responded. After going down quietly the first time through the order, Enrique Hernandez took old friend Eduardo Rodriguez deep on a solo homer of his own in the top half of the third to tie things back up at 1-1.

Rodriguez, making his first start against his former team after signing a five-year deal with the Tigers over the winter, ran into more trouble in the fourth. Following a leadoff walk from J.D. Martinez and groundball single from Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo advanced both runners into scoring position on a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Alex Verdugo plated Martinez on a sacrifice fly to left field.

With two outs in the frame, Christian Vazquez grounded into what should have been the final out of the inning. Instead, Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario committed a throwing error that allowed Vazquez to reach base safely and keep the inning going.

The Boston bats took full advantage of that Detroit miscue, as Jackie Bradley Jr., Hernandez, and Rafael Devers drove in a total of four runs on back-to-back-to-back hard-hit doubles, which ultimately knocked Rodriguez out of the game. Following a Tigers pitching change, Trevor Story came through with his first RBI in a Red Sox uniform as he plated Devers on a single to cap off a six-run inning.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, worked his way around a one-out single in the fourth before yielding another solo blast to Akil Baddoo in the fifth that cut the Sox’ lead down to five runs at 7-2. He then punched out the final two batters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (72 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday and averaged 96 mph with the pitch. He also induced five swings-and-misses with his curveball, a pitch he threw 24 times.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the sixth inning. The righty needed just 14 pitches to retire the side in order and he did so while hovering around 93-95 mph with his heater.

After Vazquez and Bradley Jr. provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance on a sacrifice fly and RBI single, the Tigers began to mount a rally in their half of the seventh.

With Austin Davis in the game for Boston, Harold Castro led off with a single that was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Spencer Torkelson. The first home run of Torkelson’s career cut Detroit’s deficit down to five runs at 9-4.

Davis and Kutter Crawford were able to get through the rest of the seventh unscathed, but Crawford encountered some difficulties in the eighth as he issued an RBI single to Eric Haase before loading the bases with no outs.

Jake Diekman was then called upon to take over for Crawford and recorded the first two outs of the inning. But the lefty gave up a two-out, run-scoring single to Victor Reyes before plunking Austin Meadows with the bases loaded as the Tigers made things even more interesting at 9-7.

Hansel Robles was next to get the call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and he proceeded to get Schoop to pop out to Story for the final out before coming back out for the ninth and tossing a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save.

Some notes from this win:

Nathan Eovaldi has given up four home runs through his first two starts of the season. It took until June 26 to reach that point last season.

After dealing with food poisoning the last few days, Trevor Story went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Tuesday.

Enrique Hernandez began his season 0-for-17 at the plate. Over the last two days, he has gone 4-for-9 with three doubles, one homer, three RBIs, four runs scored, and two walks.

Next up: Home opener at Fenway

The Red Sox are off Thursday and head back to Boston having won three of their last four games. They will open up a four-game series against the Twins at Fenway Park to kick off Patriots’ Day weekend festivities on Friday, which is also Jackie Robinson Day.

For Friday’s home opener, it will be right-hander Nick Pivetta getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Joe Ryan doing the same for Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers homers twice as Red Sox snap skid with 5-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox put an end to a three-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 win over the Rays at JetBlue Park. Boston improved to 7-3 in Grapefruit League play on the back of four home runs from a trio of expected regulars.

Matched up against Corey Kluber to begin things on Saturday, the Sox got to the Rays starter right away in the first inning. With no outs and the bases empty, Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a solo shot over the right field wall and into the Boston bullpen.

An inning later, Bobby Dalbec reached base via a one-out single and came into score when Jackie Bradley Jr. clubbed a towering two-run homer off Kluber to give his side an early 3-0 advantage.

Those two home runs provided Red Sox starter Michael Wacha with a bit of a cushion out of the gate. Making his second start of the spring, the veteran right-hander retired six of the first even Rays batters he faced before running into some trouble in the third.

There, Wacha yielded a single and double in consecutive order to lead off the frame. Randy Arozarena then drove in Tampa Bay’s first run of the day on an RBI groundout before young phenom Wander Franco plated another on a line-drive single that Christian Arroyo could not come up with at second base.

As a result, Boston’s lead was cut down to just one run at 3-2. The Sox quickly got one of those runs back, though, as Devers came through and led off the bottom of the third with his second big fly of the afternoon and third of the spring.

Wacha, in turn, came back out for the fourth and finished his outing on a positive note with a 1-2-3 frame. The 30-year-old hurler wound up allowing two earned runs on four hits, no walks, and one strikeout.

In relief of Wacha, Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the fifth. After a rough spring debut on Wednesday, the righty issued a leadoff walk to Brett Phillips, who proceeded to steal second base and score on an RBI double off the bat of Ford Proctor.

That again, trimmed the Sox’ lead down to one run at 4-3, but the Boston bats responded immediately when Enrique Hernandez led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo blast over the Fenway South Green Monster off of newly-inserted reliever Matt Wisler.

Hernandez’s second homer of the Grapefruit League campaign gave the Red Sox another two-run lead at 5-3. From there, the Sox bullpen held the Rays at bay as Zack Kelly tossed a scoreless sixth and Phillips Valdez closed things out with a good, old-fashioned three-inning save.

All told, four different Red Sox pitchers (Wacha, Brasier, Kelly, and Valdez) limited the Rays to just three runs on seven hits, four walks, and nine strikeouts over nine combined innings of work.

Next up: Whitlock vs. Ryan

The Red Sox will make the crosstown trek to take on the Twins at Hammond Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Boston currently leads the race for the 2022 Chairman’s Cup at two-games-to-one.

In an intriguing twist, Garrett Whitlock will make his first start and second overall appearance of the spring for the Sox. He will be opposed by fellow right-hander Joe Ryan for the Twins.

First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta allows two homers in second start of spring as Red Sox fall to Orioles, 8-5

The Red Sox fell to 6-2 in Grapefruit League on Thursday night following an 8-5 loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Their six-game winning streak has been met with a two-game losing streak.

Enrique Hernandez was one of the few regulars who made the trek to Sarasota for Thursday’s contest, and he made his impact felt right away by crushing a leadoff home run off Orioles starter Bruce Zimmermann to begin things in the first inning.

Hernandez’s first homer of the spring provided Sox starter Nick Pivetta with an early 1-0 lead. A red-hot Ryan Fitzgerald added on to that by clubbing a two-run shot off Zimmermann an inning later.

Fitzgerald’s team-leading fourth big fly of the spring gave Pivetta an even bigger lead to work with, but the right-hander ran into some trouble in the bottom of the second.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Pivetta — to no fault of his own — allowed the first batter he faced in the second in Anthony Santander to reach base via a throwing error committed by Fitzgerald. Pivetta then issued a one-out walk to Ramon Urias before surrendering two runs on a pair of RBI knocks off the bats of Jorge Mateo and Kelvin Gutierrez.

An inning later, Baltimore knotted things back up at three runs apiece when Ryan Mountcastle took Pivetta deep to right-center field for a solo homer. Urias did the very same in the fourth to give the O’s their first lead of the evening at 4-3.

Pivetta, in turn, recorded the first two outs of the fourth before making way for fellow righty Joan Martinez. The 29-year-old finished his day having given up four runs (two earned) on four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work.

In relief of Pivetta, Martinez came on and got the final out of the fourth. Moments later, Alex Binelas (one of two prospects acquired in the Jackie Bradley Jr. trade) led off the top of the fifth with a ground-ball single and was pinch ran for by the speedy Ceddanne Rafaela, who proceeded to steal second base and score on an RBI single from Kevin Plawecki.

That sequence allowed the Red Sox to tie things back up at 4-4, and it also prompted manager Alex Cora to have Jake Diekman make his spring debut out of the bullpen in the fifth inning.

Diekman, however, was not at his sharpest. The veteran lefty yielded a one-out single and walk before serving up a three-run blast to New Hampshire native Ryan McKenna that made it a 7-4 game in favor of Baltimore.

Fellow newcomer Matt Strahm was deployed for the sixth inning. The southpaw plunked one batter and walked another, but got through the frame unscathed.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura tossed a scoreless seventh inning. Power-hitting infield prospect Nick Northcut then mashed a booming home run to dead center field off old friend Travis Lakins with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth.

The Orioles got that run back off Kutter Crawford in their half of the eighth, though, and Marcos Diplan closed things out by retiring the likes of Nick Yorke, Rafaela, and Marcelo Mayer in order in the ninth.

Some notes from this loss:

Mayer, arguably Boston’s top prospect, came off the bench as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and went 0-for-1 with a walk and strikeout.

Yorke, on the other hand, went 0-for-2 with a punchout after pinch-hitting for Fitzgerald in the sixth inning as well.

Next up: Houck vs. Anderson

The Red Sox will travel to North Port to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park on Friday afternoon. Tanner Houck is slated to get the ball for Boston and fellow right-hander Ian Anderson is lined up to the same for Atlanta.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised, but only on Bally Sports South.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)