Red Sox activate Martín Pérez from COVID-19 related injured list, return Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester

As expected, the Red Sox have reinstated left-hander Martin Perez from the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, right-hander Kaleb Ort was returned to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced earlier Tuesday evening.

Perez had been held out of action for a little more than two weeks after initially testing positive for COVID-19 while the Sox were in Tampa Bay on August 30. He became the third player on the team to test positive for the virus dating back to Aug. 27 and nine more have returned positive results since then.

After quarantining for 10 days, Perez was cleared to return to action and was sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester over the weekend. The 30-year-old southpaw made one appearance for the WooSox on Sunday, tossing a scoreless seventh inning in a 3-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park.

Prior to going on the COVID IL, Perez had made nine appearances as a reliever after being removed from Boston’s starting rotation and inserted into the bullpen in early August.

In those nine outings, the Venezuelan-born lefty posted a 6.43 ERA and .908 OPS against to go along with seven strikeouts to two walks over seven innings of work.

With the addition of Perez, the Red Sox now have eight players on the COVID IL. They are also back at full strength from the left side of the bullpen as Austin Davis, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor are all active.

Ort, meanwhile, initially had his contract selected from Worcester when Davis was placed on the paternity leave list and both infielder Jonathan Arauz and left-hander Chris Sale were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list this past Friday.

Though Ort was not called upon during this past weekend’s series against the White Sox, he did make his major-league debut in Seattle on Monday night. The 29-year-old righty was deployed in the eighth inning of a 5-4 game the Red Sox were losing and put two of the first three batters he faced on base via a leadoff single and one-out walk.

Only six of the 12 pitches Ort threw went for strikes, and he was relieved by Taylor, who escaped the jam he inherited by retiring the only two Mariners he faced in order.

While he was returned to the WooSox on Tuesday, it seems likely that Ort would remain on Boston’s taxi squad for the remainder of their road trip that concludes on Wednesday afternoon.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Martín Pérez, Matt Barnes placed on COVID-19 related injured list, Phillips Valdez recalled from Triple-A Worcester, Raynel Espinal selected to 40-man

Before opening a pivotal four-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday night, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, relievers Martin Perez and Matt Barnes were both placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Secondly, right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, while fellow righty Raynel Espinal had his contract selected from Worcester, the club announced earlier Monday evening.

Perez and Barnes become the the third and fourth Red Sox players to head to the COVID-related injured list within the last three days, as they join the likes of infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez and infielder Christian Arroyo, who tested positive on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose also tested positive on Sunday.

Perez, who opened the 2021 season in Boston’s starting rotation but was demoted to the bullpen earlier this month, tested positive for the virus on Monday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including’s Christopher Smith).

“We found out not too long ago,” Cora said. “So we’re going through the process, through protocol, close contact, people getting tested and everything else.”

On that note,’s Ian Browne reports that Barnes has indeed tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will be forced into a mandatory quarantine and miss the next 10 days despite being vaccinated against the virus.

Regardless of his vaccination status, though, the All-Star closer will head to the COVID-related IL for a second time this season after spending one day there earlier this month.

With both Perez and Barnes out of action for the time being, the Sox have added two right-handed hurlers from Worcester in the form of Valdez and Espinal.

Valdez, 29, is back up with Boston for the third time this year after he was most recently sent down to the WooSox on August 12.

Espinal, meanwhile, was able to be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster without a corresponding move being made since players on the COVID-related injured list do not count against the 40-man.

Originally acquired from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft, the 29-year-old out of the Dominican Republic has had a solid season for himself as a member of Worcester’s starting rotation.

In 18 appearances (16 starts) with the WooSox so far this year, Espinal has posted a 3.74 ERA and 4.09 FIP to go along with 89 strikeouts to 36 walks over 91 1/3 total innings of work.

Per his scouting report, Espinal — who is up at the major-league level for the first time in his professional career — operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball, an 83-86 mph slider, an 82-84 mph changeup, and a 77-79 mph curveball.

In addition to Espinal, who will wear the No. 80, and Valdez being added to the big-league roster, the Red Sox seem likely to activate recently-acquired right-hander Brad Peacock on Tuesday. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox move struggling Garrett Richards to bullpen with Chris Sale’s return on the horizon

The Red Sox have removed right-hander Garrett Richards from their starting rotation and have moved him to the bullpen, manager Alex Cora announced Wednesday.

Richards, who would have in been line to start on Saturday, will be available out of the bullpen in Tuesday night’s contest against the Rays at Fenway Park.

Saturday’s game against the Orioles, of course, will be started by none other than ace left-hander Chris Sale, who will be making his 2021 debut for the Sox.

In his latest start against the Blue Jays in Toronto this past Sunday, the veteran right-hander surrendered four runs — three of which were earned — on six hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over five innings of work, bringing his ERA on the season up to 5.22 over 22 starts (110 1/3 innings pitched).

Richards, 33, originally signed a one-year, $10 million deal with Boston in February after spending the previous two seasons with the Padres. He got lit up for six runs over just two innings in his Red Sox debut in early April, but settled in nicely for a spell after that.

From April 10 through June 11 — a stretch of more than two months, the Oklahoma native put up a respectable 3.42 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 32 walks across 12 starts spanning 68 1/3 innings of work.

Things took a turn for the worst for Richards in mid-June, however, and it came right around the same time Major League Baseball began enforcing stricter policies in regards to pitchers using foreign substances (“sticky stuff”) to enhance their grip on the baseball.

Including an outing against the Braves on June 16 in which he allowed six runs (four earned) in just four innings, Richards has posted an unsightly 7.55 ERA and 1.056 OPS against over his last seven starts and 31 innings pitched, with that start against the Blue Jays over the weekend being the latest instance of his prolonged summer struggles.

Because of these struggles, the Red Sox obviously felt it was time to make a change and opted to move a member of their Opening Day starting rotation to the bullpen for a second time in less than a week as Richards joins the likes of left-hander Martin Perez, whose spot has essentially been handed over to Tanner Houck.

Like Perez, though, Richards does have major-league experience working as a reliever, and Cora believes both hurlers can benefit from the move to the ‘pen while also serving key roles for Boston’s pitching staff moving forward.

Prior to joining the Red Sox over the winter, Richards — who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds — made 59 total relief appearances over the course of 10 big-league seasons with the Angels and Padres.

Most recently, the former Oklahoma Sooner was used out of the bullpen by San Diego for the home stretch of the truncated 2020 campaign, as it was his first “full” season back since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2018 while he was still with the Angels.

In four appearances out of the Padres’ ‘pen last September, Richards pitched to the tune of a 1.80 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .167/.211/.389 slash line against over five total innings of work.

While it’s no sure thing Richards will find success as he transitions to a relief role with the Red Sox on account of the difficulties he has already endured this season, one would have to assume that his fastball and curveball, both of which possess elite spin rates, will play better out of the bullpen than they did the starting rotation. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Red Sox remove Martín Pérez from starting rotation; Tanner Houck expected to take left-hander’s spot

The Red Sox have removed left-hander Martin Perez from their starting rotation and moved him to the bullpen, manager Alex Cora announced Friday.

Perez recorded just four outs while surrendering three runs in his latest start against the Tigers in Detroit on Thursday, hence the move to demote him to the bullpen.

Including Thursday’s outing, the 30-year-old has posted an ERA of 4.77 and FIP of 4.90 with 85 strikeouts and 33 walks over 22 starts spanning exactly 100 innings of work this season.

After tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 3, Perez has struggled mightily since then, pitching to the tune of a 7.13 ERA and 1.073 OPS against in his last 11 starts and 41 2/3 innings pitched.

As The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier pointed out on Thursday, Perez has made nine starts of four innings or fewer so far this year, which is the most in the American League and tied for the most in all of Major League Baseball.

While Perez may have made his final start for the Red Sox this season, Cora still believes the veteran southpaw can provide value out of the bullpen, especially with fellow lefty Darwinzon Hernandez being sidelined with a right oblique strain at the moment.

“Obviously with Darwinzon (Hernandez) being down, having that third lefty (in the bullpen) is something I’ve been telling Chaim (Bloom) will be good, especially against a few teams in this division now,” Cora told reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) prior to Friday’s game against the Blue Jays. “Obviously New York is not as right-handed as they were early. Tampa, the Yankees and obviously we’re going to play some teams that have a lot of switch-hitters. So I do believe somehow, someway, he’s going to help us out of the bullpen.”

With Perez, who owns a lifetime 4.60 ERA in 16 career relief appearances (31 1/3 innings pitched) heading to the Boston bullpen, Tanner Houck will likely be taking the lefty’s spot in the Sox’ starting rotation.

Houck, who threw a simulated game in Detroit on Monday, will start the night cap of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Over six appearances (four starts) for the Red Sox this season, the 25-year-old right-hander has produced a 2.45 ERA and 1.71 FIP to go along with 30 strikeouts and just five walks in 22 1/3 innings of work.

In addition to Houck essentially re-joining Boston’s starting rotation this weekend, Chris Sale’s return is on the horizon as the ace left-hander prepares to make what should be his final rehab start with Triple-A Worcester on Saturday.

That being said, one has to wonder if Garrett Richards’ spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy as well if Cora and Co. want to roll with five starters (Sale, Houck, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Eduardo Rodriguez) relatively soon.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Martín Pérez allows 3 runs in just 1 1/3 innings as Red Sox get blown out by Tigers, 8-1, in series finale

Any good vibes the Red Sox accumulated while snapping their five-game losing streak on Wednesday night were immediately wiped off the board in Thursday’s series finale against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

The Sox fell to the Tigers by a final score of 8-1, dropping the three-game series in the process of getting hit with their sixth loss in their last seven games.

Martin Perez, making his 21st start of the season for Boston, was hit hard in what was his shortest outing of the year to date.

Managing to record just four outs, the veteran left-hander surrendered three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, zero walks, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts over his 1 1/3 innings of work.

Right out of the gate, Perez was rudely greeted by Detroit, as he served up a leadoff home run to Robbie Grossman to begin things in the very first inning.

More leadoff trouble did Perez in in the second, with Victor Reyes leading off with a triple and Zack Short following with a sacrifice fly to give his side the early 2-0 lead.

After yielding back-to-back singles to the Tigers’ No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Perez plunked Grossman on a 90 mph cutter that subsequently ended his day much sooner than expected.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 37 (25 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler raised his ERA on the season to 4.77 in what could very well be one of — if not his last start in a Red Sox uniform for the time being.

In relief of Perez, Phillips Valdez got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he inherited quite a mess with the bases loaded and two outs to get in the second.

Valdez officially closed the book on Perez’s start by allowing one of those inherited runners to score on a groundout, making it a 3-0 game in favor of Detroit. He did, however, fan Miguel Cabrera to get out of the second inning before tossing two more scoreless frames.

From there, Hansel Robles got roughed up for the first time since being traded to the Red Sox, as he served up a two-run, ground-rule double to Jeimer Candelario in the fifth that was followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Reyes. Both back-breaking hits came with two outs in the inning.

Fellow deadline acquisition Austin Davis did not fare much better over the next two innings, with the lefty issuing a run-scoring base hit to Jonathan Schhop in the sixth as well as an RBI groundout to Reyes in the seventh that put Detroit up 8-0.

Yacksel Rios took over for Davis with two outs in the seventh, and he ended the inning while also striking out one in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, though it did not make much of a difference in the end.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Tigers rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal, making his first ever start against Boston.

Dealt a 3-0 deficit after just two innings, the Sox really were not able to get much going against Skubal.

They had an early opportunity in their half of the third, with Enrique Hernandez reaching base via a one-out walk and Rafael Devers following with an infield single. Both runners advanced an additional 90 feet on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, but J.D. Martinez was called out on strikes and Xander Bogaerts lined out to extinguish the threat.

All in all, the Boston bats went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position against Skubal and three Detroit relievers, with Alex Verdugo taking responsibility for his side’s lone run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly that brought in Franchy Cordero from third base.

That cut the Sox’ deficit down to seven runs at 8-1, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 64-46 on the season while dropping to 1 1/2 games back of an idle Tampa Bay Rays team for first place in the American League East.

Next up: On to Canada

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto as they head north of the border for the first time in nearly two full years for the start of what has the makings to be a pivotal four-game weekend series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Friday night.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be matched up against fellow righty Alek Manoah for Toronto.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox need to turn things around quickly.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Martín Pérez gives up 3 homers as Red Sox fall to Rays, 7-3, in first game after trade deadline

Hours after seeing the trade deadline come and go without acquiring a starting pitcher, the Red Sox were rocked by the Rays by a final score of 7-3 at Tropicana Field on Friday night.

Martin Perez, making his 21st start of the season for the Sox, was shelled for six runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts over four innings of work.

The one walk proved to be what did Perez in out of the gate, as he issued a two-out free pass to Austin Meadows before serving up a two-run home run to Yandy Diaz in the first inning, giving Tampa Bay an early 2-0 lead.

More two-out trouble arose for Perez in the bottom half of the third, with the veteran left-hander nearly maneuvering his way around a one-out single to Nelson Cruz, but instead gave up a two-out base hit to Diaz, which was followed by a two-run double off the bat of rookie phenom Wander Franco.

The Boston bats, matched up against Rays starter Josh Fleming, battled back in the fourth, as Xander Bogaerts led things off with a groundball single and came into score his side’s first run of the night following a Hunter Renfroe walk and Christian Vazquez RBI single.

Vazquez, however, was thrown out as second base as he attempted to extend his single into a double, though Bobby Dalbec was able to drive in Renfroe to cut the Sox’ deficit in half at 4-2.

Despite cutting into the Rays’ lead, Perez fell victim to the long ball once more in the bottom of the fourth, as he served up a pair of solo homers to Mike Zunino and Randy Arozarena before recording the final out of the inning in what had become a 6-2 game.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (45 strikes), the 30-year-old southpaw was ultimately hit with his seventh loss of the year while seeing his ERA on the season inflate to 4.56.

Another run-scoring double courtesy of Renfroe off Fleming pulled Boston back to within three runs in their half of the fifth, but Red Sox reliever Yacksel Rios gave that run right back by giving up a one-out triple to Franco that was followed by a wild pitch that allowed Franco to easily score and make it a 7-3 contest in favor of Tampa Bay.

From there, Rios tossed a scoreless sixth inning, Hirokazu Sawamura stranded a pair of runners in the seventh in his return from the injured list, and Josh Taylor twirled a shutout bottom of the eighth to hold the Rays at seven runs.

That said, the Sox offense was not able to get anything going against the Rays bullpen, and 7-3 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

With the loss, their second straight, the Red Sox fall to 63-42 on the season while their lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East decreased to just 1/2 a game.

Some additional notes from Friday night:

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Yarbrough

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi as they look to halt their two-game losing streak in the middle game of this pivotal three-game weekend series.

The Rays will counter with left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who has allowed 14 runs (11 earned) over seven innings of work spanning two outings (one start) against the Sox this season.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Douglas P. DeFelice/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)

Martín Pérez gets rocked for 6 runs in shortest outing of season as Red Sox go down quietly to Astros, 7-1

Unlike his last time out, Martin Perez did not have his way with the Houston Astros in his 12th start of the season.

After tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a win in Houston last week, Perez got rocked by the Astros lineup at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox fell to the Astros by a final score of 7-1, which snapped their five-game winning streak. With the loss, Boston drops to 37-24 on the season and falls to 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.

Martin Perez’s struggles

In just two innings of work, the veteran left-hander yielded a season-high six runs — all of which were earned — on six hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts.

The first run Perez gave up was a rather cheap one, as he served up a first-inning solo homer to Carlos Correa that traveled 310 feet down the left field line and just snuck over the Green Monster to give the Astros an early lead.

The other five runs, however, were not. That being the case since Perez allowed the first four hitters he faced in the second to reach base on two doubles, a two-run single, and walk. He followed that ugly sequence by getting beat by Carlos Correa — who this time laced a run-scoring single — once again before issuing an intentional walk to Alex Bregman to load the bases and plunking Yordan Alvarez to walk in a run.

A Yuli Gurriel bases-loaded single added on the Astros’ rally to put Houston up 6-0, and Perez’s night came to a close as soon as he got the final two outs of the second in consecutive order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 59 (33 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler did not induce a single swing-and-miss while only managing to retire six of the 16 Astros he faced.

Ultimately falling to 4-3 on the season in addition to raising his ERA from 3.09 to 3.88, Perez’s next start should come against the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Andriese and the bullpen shoulder the workload

With his starter only providing two innings, Red Sox manager Alex Cora had to turn to his bullpen earlier than he likely anticipated.

Matt Andriese, who had last worked on May 31, got that first call in relief of Martin Perez, and the right-hander was solid while providing three innings out of the bullpen.

The lone run the right-hander surrendered in his third relief appearance of three or more innings came on a booming 451-foot solo blast off the bat of Yordan Alvarez in Houston’s half of the fourth.

Brandon Workman took over for Andriese by tossing two scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh innings, while Phillips Valdez did the same in the eighth and ninth to hold the Astros at seven runs.

Sox bats held in check by Framber Valdez

While Martin Perez could not replicate his performance from last week, Astros starter Framber Valdez certainly did.

Fresh off an outing in which he hurled seven innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park last Wednesday, Valdez was once again locked in over 7 1/3 more strong innings on Tuesday.

The Boston bats only managed to push across one run off the left-hander, and that one run came on a Hunter Renfroe RBI groundout in the fourth inning.

Sure, the fact that Martin Perez put his side in an early hole does not exactly help things, but the Sox finishing the day having gone 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight men on base as a team is not exactly encouraging, either.

Plawecki removed with jaw contusion

Kevin Plawecki originally started Tuesday’s contest behind home plate, but had to be removed in the fourth inning after taking a pitch that bounced in the dirt off his chin/jaw area. Christian Vazquez took over at catcher and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

Later diagnosed with a jaw contusion, Plawecki is considered day-to-day. He does not have a concussion, per Alex Cora.

Next up: Odorizzi vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox will send right-hander and Houston-area native Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the middle game of this three-game set on Wednesday night.

He will be opposed by fellow righty Jake Odorizzi, who will be making his sixth start of the year for the Astros.

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

(Picture of Martin Perez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Martín Pérez tosses 7 2/3 scoreless innings, Christian Arroyo crushes 3-run homer as Red Sox salvage series against Astros with 5-1 win

Powered by Martin Perez’s strongest showing of the season to date, the Red Sox were able to avoid a four-game sweep and salvage their series against the Astros with a 5-1 victory at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.

Perez, making his 11th start of the season, pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his Red Sox career.

Over 7 2/3 impressive frames of work, the veteran left-hander kept the Astros off the board while scattering just six hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

Five of the six hits Perez gave up were singles. The only extra-base hit was snuffed out right away when he yielded a two-out double to Aledmys Diaz and immediately picked him off trying to steal third base.

The fifth inning presented a little bit more trouble for Perez when he put on two of the first three hitters he faced in the frame. Nevertheless, the southpaw got Myles Straw to pop out to the infield before inducing an inning-ending grounder off the bat of Garrett Stubbs. Bobby Dalbec made a nice diving play on the ball and Perez did a quality job of getting over to first base in time.

From there, Perez held things in check. But a one-out single and two-out walk — his first free pass of the contest — in the bottom of the eighth would mark the end of his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler improved to 4-2 on the year while lowering his ERA down to 3.09. His next start should come against this same Astros team back at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

In relief of Perez, Adam Ottavino got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and needed all of five pitches to record the final out of the inning.

With a five-run lead going into the last of the ninth, the Sox were able to go to Brandon Workman to close this one out on the same they promoted him from Triple-A Worcester.

Workman served up a solo homer to Yuli Gurriel, but was otherwise up to the challenge of preserving a 5-1 win for his side.

Red Sox offense wakes up

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in the form of Astros right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Unlike the first three games of this series, the Boston bats were actually able to take advantage of early scoring opportunities.

That being the case because with no outs and runners on first and second in the top of the second, a resurgent Christian Arroyo crushed his first home run of the season on a hanging cutter from Odorizzi.

Arroyo’s three-run shot traveled 339 feet over the left field fence and had an exit velocity of 93.2 mph off the bat. It also cleared the bases and gave the Red Sox a 3-0 advantage early on.

Fast forward to the seventh, and the Sox found themselves in a nearly-identical situation.

With no outs and runners at second and third, Xander Bogaerts put an end to one of the worst offensive skids of his career (0-for-his-last-24) by lacing a two-run double off Astros reliever Cristian Javier. He also singled in the ninth to finish the day with his first multi-hit game since May 21.

Bogaerts’ seventh-inning two-base hit put the Red Sox up 5-0 and, as previously mentioned, 5-1 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

By breaking out of a three-game losing streak, the Sox improve to 33-23 on the season (17-10) on the season to get back to 10 games over .500. They remain two games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Alex Cora ejected

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth inning. He was tossed by home plate umpire Lance Barrett after Kevin Plawecki struck out looking on a questionable third called strike.

Cora has now been ejected two times this season, with Thursday marking his first ejection since April 15. Bench coach Will Venable took over managerial responsibilities for the remainder of the ballgame.

Next up: Big weekend series in the Bronx

The Red Sox will depart Houston for New York, where they will open up a three-game weekend series against the 31-26 Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Michael King for New York.

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

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Sox bullpen takes over

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

Next up: Perez vs. Odorizzi

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

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

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

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