Alex Verdugo comes through with clutch, go-ahead 3-run home run as Red Sox top Marlins, 5-2, in rain-shortened contest at Fenway Park

Rainy conditions in Boston could not stop the Red Sox from opening their weekend series against the Marlins with a 5-2 victory in 5 1/2 innings at Fenway Park on Friday night.

With the win, Boston improves to 31-20 (15-13 at home) on the season and moves to a half-game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Perez provides five solid innings

Martin Perez made his 10th start of the season for the Sox on Friday, marking his second straight outing of the interleague variety.

Over five innings of work, the veteran left-hander yielded just two earned runs — both of which were earned — on five hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts on the evening.

Both Miami runs Perez surrendered came via the home run ball, as the southpaw gave up a leadoff single to Corey Dickerson to begin things in the top of the second before serving up a 381-foot two-run home run to Jorge Alfaro moments later.

That miscue put the Sox in an early 2-0 hole, but Perez was able to rebound and wound up settling in nicely. That being the case because after giving up the homer to Alfaro, he retired 11 of the final 13 hitters he faced to prevent the Marlins from scoring anything else going into the middle of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (51 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his sinker a game-high 41% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing just one swing-and-miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 93 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw a total of nine times.

Able to improve to 3-2 on the season while maintaining a 3.55 ERA because of his efforts, Perez’s next start should come against the Astros in Houston next Wednesday.

Martinez pulls Sox even in third inning

After falling behind by a pair of runs early on, the bottom of the Red Sox lineup got things started in their half of the third inning.

Matched up against Marlins rookie starter Cody Poteet, a one-out double from Hunter Renfroe put a runner in scoring position as the order flipped back over and Enrique Hernandez drew a five-pitch walk.

An Alex Verdugo flyout put Poteet just one out away from getting out of the jam, but J.D. Martinez had other ideas.

On the fourth pitch he saw in his second at-bat of the night, the Sox slugger laced a 108 mph two-run double to dead center field to drive in both Renfroe and Hernandez and knot things up at two runs apiece.

Verdugo seals it with clutch homer

Fast forward to the fifth inning, and the bottom of the Boston lineup struck again, this time with Marwin Gonzalez drawing a leadoff walk and Hunter Renfroe advancing him up to third on his second double of the night.

With the go-ahead run just 90 feet away and the rate at which the rain was falling from the sky picking up, Alex Verdugo made up for his previous out by all but putting this game away.

On one swing of the bat, Verdugo absolutely crushed a hanging curveball from Poteet and sent it 408 feet over everything in right field with an exit velocity of 108.7 mph.

That three-run blast, Verdugo’s seventh big fly of the season, gave the Red Sox their first lead of the evening at 5-2.

Ottavino closes it out

Because of the worsening conditions in the Fenway-area, the Red Sox were essentially playing this game like it was a six- or seven-inning contest instead of a nine-inning one, and manager Alex Cora’s tactics reflected that.

As the sixth inning was about to begin, Cora deployed right-hander Adam Ottavino, who is usually reserved for the later innings, to face the Marlins’ 2, 3, and 4 hitters.

Ottavino recorded the first two outs of the frame relatively easily, but as the rain continued to pick up, it became clear that the veteran reliever was losing his grip on his breaking pitches.

Three straight walks came as a result of Ottavino’s struggles, meaning Miami was on the verge of tying things up or even re-taking the lead.

While attempts to dry off the baseballs with a towel initially seemed futile, they proved to be effective in the end as Ottavino fanned the last man he faced — Springfield High School product Isan Diaz — on three straight sliders to retire the side.

Rain delay leads to rain-shortened contest

Moments after the final out of the top of the sixth inning was recorded, the Fenway Park grounds crew rolled the tarp out onto the field and a rain delay began at approximately 9:19 p.m. eastern time.

At approximately 10:46 p.m. eastern time, this game was called after an 87-minute standstill. So the Red Sox are credited with the 5-2 win as Adam Ottavino winds up picking up his second save of the year.

Next up: Rogers vs. Eovaldi

Saturday afternoon’s pitching matchup between the Marlins and the Red Sox will feature left-hander Trevor Rogers (6-2, 1.75 ERA) getting the ball for Miami and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (5-2, 4.39 ERA) getting the ball for Boston.

Fenway Park will be back at full capacity on Saturday for the first time since September 2019.

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

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Marwin Gonzalez: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers homers, collects 3 RBI as Red Sox come back to top Braves, 9-5, in rain-filled night at Fenway Park; Nick Pivetta records season-high 9 strikeouts

It took until the wee hours of Thursday morning on account of a 2 hour and 53 minute rain delay, but the Red Sox were able to salvage a series split against the Braves with a 9-5 win at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

With the victory, which took nearly six hours to see through to the end, the Red Sox snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 30-20 (14-13 at home) on the season. They remain a half-game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Shoutout to Dave Mellor and the rest of the Red Sox grounds crew for their efforts in this one.

Pivetta strikes out nine over six innings

Nick Pivetta made his 10th start of the season for Boston in Wednesday’s series finale, and despite getting hit relatively hard, he did keep his team in the game.

Over six innings of work, the right-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits and two walks to go along with a season-high six strikeouts on the night.

The first two of those four Atlanta runs came right away in the top of the first, as Pivetta walked Freedie Freeman on five pitches which was promptly followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Ozzie Albies.

Albies came into score on a two-out, run-scoring double from Dansby Swanson, and Boston found themselves down 2-0 just like that.

A Guillermo Heredia leadoff double an inning later would result in another Braves run crossing the plate when William Contreras picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly. 3-0 Atlanta.

Pivetta would settle in for a bit from there, with the only hiccup coming when he served up a solo home run to Austin Riley in the top half of the fifth.

Wednesday’s outing marks the second straight start in which Pivetta has allowed four or more runs, but he wrapped things up on a much more positive note by punching out four of the final five hitters he faced — which included striking out the side in his sixth and final frame of work.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (68 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing seven swings and misses while topping out at 97 mph with the pitch. He also induced eight swings-and-misses with his slider, a pitch he threw 20 times.

Able to improve to a perfect 6-0 on the season despite raising his ERA to 3.86 in what technically goes down as a complete game (the second of his career), Pivetta’s next start should come against the Astros in Houston next Tuesday.

Renfroe homers to get scoring started for Sox

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander Drew Smyly for the Braves, who came into play Wednesday sporting a 5.11 ERA through his first seven starts of the season.

After finding themselves in an early two-run hole, Hunter Renfroe got things started for the Sox in the second inning when unloaded on a hanging curveball from Smyly and deposited it 377 feet on a line over the Green Monster.

Renfroe’s sixth home run of the season, which made it a 2-1 game in favor of Atlanta, had an exit velocity of 102.4 mph.

Devers’ big fly to dead center ties it

Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth, and the long ball again proved to be Boston’s best friend, as a two-out walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts brought Rafael Devers to the plate, representing the tying run in a 3-1 contest.

On the third pitch he saw from Smyly — yet another hanging curveball — the dangerous left-handed slugger crushed a booming, game-tying two-run shot 434 feet (107. 1 mph off the bat) to deep center field for his team-leading 14th home run of the year.

Four-run rally in sixth proves to be pivotal

The Braves went up by a run on the heels of Devers’ two-run blast to re-take the lead at 4-3, but the Boston bats would not be silenced.

With one out in the bottom half of the sixth, the Sox had Smyly on the ropes with Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez each lacing a sharply-hit single to put runners at first and second.

A wild pitch with Bogaerts at the plate allowed Verdugo to advance to third. That miscue would prove to be costly for Atlanta when Bogaerts plated Verdugo on a softly-hit fielder’s choice to third base moments later.

Verdugo — aggressive as ever — was going on contact, and on a headfirst slide he managed to slip under Contreras’ tag at home plate to score and knot things up at four runs apiece.

Devers took responsibility for the go-ahead run by driving in Martinez on an RBI double down the left field line, while Christian Vazquez provided some much-needed insurance by greeting new Braves reliever Luke Jackson with a bases-loaded, opposite field two-run single that scored both Boagaerts and Devers and gave the Red Sox a commanding 7-4 advantage.

Inclement weather results in long delay

As the sixth inning came to a close, the rate at which the rain was falling from the Boston skies picked up. That led to the Red Sox grounds crew rolling out the tarp on the field at a Fenway.

A rain delay began at approximately 9:08 p.m. eastern time. And after a 173-minute standstill, the game resumed shortly after midnight.

Red Sox bullpen closes it out

When the tarp came off the field, it was Josh Taylor who got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the start of the seventh inning.

The left-handed reliever plunked the first hitter he faced in Ronald Acuna before recording the first two outs. Adam Ottavino was deployed to face the right-handed hitting Riley and got him to pop out to retire the side.

Ottavino also worked a 1-2-3 top of the eighth. The Sox tacked on two more insurance runs on a Danny Santana RBI and Vazquez sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning to give Matt Andriese a five-run lead to operate with.

Andriese, making his first appearance since May 23, got the first out, gave up a towering solo home run to Contreras, and a single to Acuna, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to turn to his closer, Matt Barnes, to finish things up in a non-save situation.

Barnes, making his first relief appearance since May 22, induced a game-ending double play from Freeman to secure the 9-5 win for his side.

Next up: An off day on Thursday, then a weekend series against the Marlins

The Red Sox will enjoy their second off day of the week on Thursday before welcoming the Miami Marlins into town for a three-game weekend series that begins Friday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to get the ball for Boston in the series opener, while rookie right-hander Cody Poteet is lined up to do the same for Miami.

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

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo celebrates 25th birthday by breaking out of slump, crushing home run as Red Sox blank Angels, 9-0

Alex Verdugo celebrated his birthday in style at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.

Coming into the day in the midst of a chilly 2-for-24 slump, the newly-turned 25-year-old set the tone for the Red Sox by taking Angels starter Dylan Bundy deep to right field for his fifth home run of the season right away in the first inning.

Verdugo’s solo blast put Boston up by a run early on in what would turn out to be a commanding 9-0 victory over Los Angeles.

With the win — their third straight, the Sox improved to 25-16 on the season and 13-11 at Fenway Park.

Dalbec, Cordero collect two doubles each

As was the case on Friday night, the bottom of the Red Sox lineup continued its recent run of success thanks to the efforts of Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero on Saturday.

Dalbec added on the Sox’ early lead by plating two more runs in the bottom half of the fourth, driving in Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers on a sharply-hit double off the base of the Green Monster.

Franchy Cordero followed with a hard-hit double of his own that had an exit velocity of 110 mph and brought in Dalbec from second to make it a 4-0 game.

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Dalbec-Cordero combination struck again. This time with the former leading off the inning with his second two-base hit of the day and the latter scoring him on his second two-base hit of the day as well.

In total, Dalbec — who now has multiple hits in two of his last three games — and Cordero combined to go 4-for-8 on Saturday with four doubles, two runs scored, and four RBI.

Bogaerts, Devers homer

Boston’s No. 8 and No. 9 hitters were not the only dynamic duo the Red Sox rode to a blowout win on Saturday, as the No. 4 and No. 5 hitters enjoyed productive days at the plate as well.

Bogaerts took advantage of Verdugo and J.D. Martinez reaching base with no outs in the fifth by clubbing a monstrous 446-foot three-run shot over everything in left field to give his team a 7-0 lead.

Devers, meanwhile, wrapped up the scoring for his side and put the finishing touches on this one when he crushed his team-leading 10th home run of the season to right-center field in the seventh.

The 24-year-old’s 408-foot big fly put the Red Sox up 9-0, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Perez picks up first win of season

Backed by an offensive outpouring, Martin Perez had plenty of run support on his way to tossing six solid innings in his eighth start of the season.

Over those six frames, the left-hander kept the Angels off the scoreboard while scattering three hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

For how shaky of a first inning Perez had by issuing two walks to the first three hitters he faced, he settled in nicely and wound up retiring 14 of the final 18 Angels who came to the plate against him.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (60 strikes) while getting through six full innings for the first time this season, the 30-year-old hurler threw 31 cutters, 24 sinkers, 21 changeups, 11 curveballs, and 10 four-seam fastballs. He topped out at 95.1 mph with his heater.

Able to pick up his long-awaited first win of the season in addition to lowering his ERA to 3.40, Perez’s next start should come against the Phillies in Philadelphia next Friday.

Red Sox bullpen preserves the shutout

In relief of Perez, the three three relievers the Red Sox turned to were able to see the club’s second shutout of the season through to its completion.

Despite dealing with their collective fair share of traffic on the base paths, Phillps Valdez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Austin Brice combined to toss three scoreless frames to secure the 9-0 victory for the Red Sox.

Next up: Going for the sweep

The Red Sox will go for the series sweep over the struggling 16-22 Angels and their fourth consecutive win overall back at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston in the series finale, and he will be opposed by left-hander Jose Quintana for Los Angeles.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Hunter Renfroe, Bobby Dalbec each crush 2-run homers as Red Sox come back to top Angels, 4-3

Going into the 2021 season, the Red Sox were aware of the power potential the bottom third of their lineup had, particularly from the right side of the plate.

In yet another come from behind 4-3 victory over the Angels at Fenway Park on Friday, the Sox showed just how dangerous their No. 7, 8, or 9 hitters can be on any given night.

Matched up against right-handed starter Griffin Canning for the first of three against Los Angeles, Hunter Renfroe got Boston on the board first crushing a two-run home run 430 feet to dead center field for his fifth homer of the season.

Renfroe’s blast, which had an exit velocity of 108.6 mph off the bat, put the Red Sox up 2-0 early on.

Between then and the next time the Sox got anything going offensively, Boston starter Nick Pivetta put together another quality showing in what was his eighth start of the season.

Over six-plus innings of work, the right-hander yielded just two runs on four hits and a season-low zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two runs Pivetta gave up came off the bat of Shohei Ohtani in the top of the sixth, when the two-way phenom took the righty deep to left field for a solo blast to make it a 2-1 game.

After recording the final out of the sixth, Pivetta came back out for the seventh, but served up a leadoff double to Anthony Rendon that would see his evening come to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (68 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 54% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing seven swings-and-misses while topping out at 97. 4 mph with the pitch.

Able to lower his ERA on the season to 3.16 despite being hit with the no-decision due to what transpired in the seventh inning, Pivetta’s next start should come against the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Thursday.

In relief of Pivetta, Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Matt Andriese, who allowed Jared Walsh to reach base on a single before surrendering a one-out, two-run double to old friend Jose Igleseias.

The Angels went up 3-2 on Iglesias’ two-run knock, thus closing the book on Pivetta’s outing.

Dalbec homers for second straight night

Now trailing by a run heading into their half of the seventh, the Red Sox were put in a spot where they needed some offense relatively quickly.

With left-handed reliever Tony Watson on the mound for Los Angeles, Boston seemingly took advantage of a simple matchup when the right-handed hitting Renfroe laced a one-out single to bring the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec to the plate.

Having already picked up his first career stolen base earlier, Dalbec did something he had yet to do this season: hit a home run two nights in a row.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Watson, an 84 mph changeup on the inner half of the plate, the 25-year-old slugger clubbed a 419-foot two-run shot over the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.

Dalbec, who has raked against lefties this season, received a curtain call from the Fenway faithful upon rounding the bases and returning to the Red Sox dugout.

Ottavino and Barnes close it out

With a brand-new one-run lead to protect, Adam Ottavino came on for the top of the eighth, matched up against the heart of the Angels’ order in David Fletcher, Ohtani, and the vaunted Mike Trout.

On just 18 pitches, Ottavino got through the inning with relative ease as he stucked out a pair on his way to retiring the side in 1-2-3 fashion.

That paved the way for Red Sox closer Matt Barnes to get the call for the ninth, and the flame-throwing right-hander was even more dominant considering the fact that he punched out the only three hitters he faced on 11 pitches (10 strikes) to preserve the 4-3 victory and notch his ninth save of the season.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 24-16 on the season and 12-11 at Fenway Park.

Next up: Bundy vs. Perez

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory over the struggling Angels on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston in the middle game, and he will be opposed by right-hander Dylan Bundy for Los Angeles.

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

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Billie Weiss/Boston/Red Sox/Getty Images)

Martín Pérez tosses 5 solid innings, but Red Sox are limited to just 4 hits in 4-1 loss to Orioles

After taking the first three games of their four-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore, the Red Sox were unable to come away with the series sweep following a 4-1 loss at Camden Yards on Monday.

Martin Perez made his seventh start of the season for Boston and was impressive, allowing just one run on four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over five innings of work.

The one run Perez gave up came on a leadoff home run off the bat of Ryan Mountcastle to begin things in the second inning.

Outside of that, Perez held the O’s in check and retired nine of the last 11 hitters he faced going into the end of the fifth.

At that point, the 30-year-old had thrown just 74 pitches (53 strikes) through five one-run innings. But with the middle of Baltimore’s lineup — including Mountcastle — due to hit in the sixth, Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to pull Perez, who lowered his ERA on the season to 4.01, in favor of right-hander Matt Andriese.

That decision would prove to haunt Cora almost immediately, as Andriese served up a solo homer to the very first hitter he saw in Trey Mancini, whose seventh big fly of the season gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead.

In the eighth, Andriese induced a pop fly off the bat of Cedric Mullins, but because the Red Sox were playing in a shift and had third baseman Rafael Devers playing in in the event of a bunt, that pop fly wound up going for a 70.7 mph, 161-foot triple that Xander Bogaerts was unable to come up with cleanly.

Mullins came into score on an RBI single from Mancini, and the Orioles tacked on yet another run to their lead on a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-1 game.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles right-hander Jorge Lopez, someone they got to for seven runs on eight hits last month.

This time around, however, Lopez proved to be a much tougher opponent considering he held Boston to one run — a Devers sacrifice fly — over five innings on Monday.

The Sox had the chance to add to their run total in Lopez’s final frame of work when Hunter Renfroe blistered a leadoff double to the opposite field in the top half of the fifth.

A slumping Franchy Cordero was able to advance Renfroe 90 feet on a groundout, but neither Bobby Dalbec nor Marwin Gonzalez could do anything from there as they both went down swinging to end the inning and strand the runner at third.

All in all, the Red Sox collected just four hits as a team on Monday and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position while leaving four runners on base.

Boston is now 6-1 at Camden Yards this season as their four-game winning streak was snapped.

Next up: Welcoming in the A’s

The 22-14 Red Sox will head back to Boston and welcome the 21-15 first-place Athletics into town for the first of a three-game series at Fenway Park Tuesday night.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Chris Bassitt for Oakland.

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

(Picture of Martin Perez: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Despite having their chances to complete comeback, Red Sox fall to Tigers, 6-5, in 10 innings

The Red Sox were given multiple opportunities to come away with a come-from-behind win over the worst team in the American League on Wednesday, but were unable to do so in what would go down as a 6-5 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings at Fenway Park.

Trailing 3-1 going into their half of the seventh inning after pushing across just one run against Tigers starter Casey Mize, J.D. Martinez got his side back in the swing of things by belting a game-tying, two-run home run to right field off reliever Bryan Garcia.

Down to their final out in the ninth inning, Enrique Hernandez, Rafael Devers, and Martinez all reached base one way or another to fill the bases for Xander Bogaerts, who laced a line drive to left field — but a liner that was catchable for Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman.

Moments later, rookie right-hander Garrett Whitlock came on for the top half of the 10th inning in what was his eight appearance of the season — and his first when working on just two days rest.

With a runner already on second base (extra-inning rule), Whitlock gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan Schoop before serving up a crushing three-run home run to Jeimer Candelario on the outer half of the plate.

Since beginning his major-league career with 13 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, the Rule 5 pick has now surrendered home runs in back-to-back outings going back to Sunday.

Even though they were put in a three-run hole, the Sox did nearly stage an epic comeback in the 10th. Marwin Gonzalez drove in a run on a single and later scored on a fielding error committed by Willi Castro.

Boston cutting things close led Detroit to make an interesting pitching change, as Michael Fulmer — Tuesday’s starter — was inserted into the game to face Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec lined out to third for the second out of the inning and Hernandez went down looking on four pitches to end the game.

All in all, the Sox went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 12 men on base as a team.

Perez’s winless streak at Fenway continues

Martin Perez made his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox in this one. The left-hander yielded three runs — two of which were earned — on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 solid innings of work.

The first run Perez gave up was scored by the Tigers in the fourth inning, when JaCoby Jones ripped a single to left field that Franchy Cordero could not come up with cleanly, which in turn allowed Candelario to score from second base on the play. Cordero was charged with a fielding error.

In the sixth, Perez was just one out away from completing his first six-inning start of the year, but after giving up a pair of singles, he allowed two more Tigers runs to score on a two-run base knock from Jones to make it a 3-1 game.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (57 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.

Ultimately hit with the no decision in this one while lowering his ERA on the season to 4.40, Perez has still yet to win a game at Fenway Park since signing with the Red Sox before the start of the 2020 season.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Perez, Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and recorded the final out of the sixth inning.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura, Adam Ottavino, and Matt Barnes combined to punch out six batters over three scoreless frames before making way for Whitlock in the 10th.

Arroyo removed due to hand contusion

Starting at second base for Boston on Wednesday, Christian Arroyo had to be removed from the game after seven innings after taking a 92 mph sinker off his left hand — the same hand he injured late lost month — in the sixth inning.

Arroyo was later diagnosed with a left hand contusion and X-rays came back negative.

The fact that Arroyo had to be removed after Alex Verdugo had already been scratched from Wednesday’s lineup — meaning the Sox had a short bench — resulted in Christian Vazquez moving from catcher to second base, Gonzalez moving from first base to left field, Dalbec taking over at first after pinch-hitting for Cordero, and Kevin Plawecki taking over behind the plate for Vazquez.

Next up: Series finale

Thursday’s pitching matchup between the 18-13 Red Sox and 9-22 Tigers will feature a pair of right-handers, with Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and Spencer Turnbull doing the same for Detroit.

First pitch for Thursday’s series finale is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox manage just three hits off Kyle Gibson; Hirokazau Sawamura gets taken deep twice in 4-1 loss to Rangers

The Red Sox did not arrive in Arlington until about 2:30 a.m. local time on Thursday morning, just hours ahead of their series-opening matchup against the Rangers at Globe Life Field.

In said contest, the Sox bats could manage all of one run on three hits as they saw their three-game winning streak come to an end following a 4-1 loss to Texas.

Rafael Devers was responsible for that lone Red Sox run. The 24-year-old plated Alex Verdugo from second on a two-out RBI double off Rangers starter Kyle Gibson in the top half of the sixth.

Devers’ 20th RBI of the year knotted things up at one run apiece. But outside of that, Gibson proved to be a tough opponent in this one. The veteran right-hander worked his way around three hits and three walks while limiting Boston to one run over six innings of work.

Perez puts together solid outing

Opposing Gibson was a former teammate of his in the form of Martin Perez for Boston.

Coming off back-to-back outings in which he pitched just 3 2/3 innings, the left-hander put together his best start of the season on Thursday.

Over 5 2/3 innings, Perez yielded two runs — only one of which was earned on zero walks and one hit batsman to go along with a season-high seven strikeouts on the night.

Fielding errors prove costly

In Perez’s fourth inning of work, the Rangers’ Joey Gallo laced a one-out double to the opposite field.

Alex Verdugo tracked down the ball in the left field corner, appeared to bobble it for a moment, and then made a casual throw back to the infield.

Verdugo’s throw was a casual one at best, and it wound up eluding the cutoff man in Devers and rolled to the other side of the infield, allowing Gallo to advance to third.

The Rangers took full advantage of the Red Sox’ sloppiness, as Adolis Garcia plated Gallo on a sacrifice fly to deep center field to give his side an early 1-0 lead.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Xander Bogaerts failed to come up with a groundball off the bat of Garcia, which allowed the Rangers outfielder to reach base safely with one out in the inning.

Perez’s outing came to an end after he retired Nate Lowe for the second out of the inning, leading to Hirokazu Sawamura coming on with one out to get in the sixth.

Sawamura wound up serving up a two-run home run to the very first man he faced in Nate Lowe, and the Red Sox suddenly found themselves down by two runs at 3-1.

In the seventh inning, Sawamura got taken deep once again, this time by Isiah-Kiner Falefa to raise his ERA on the year to 3.18.

Hernandez strikes out the side

In relief of Sawamura, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez needed all of 13 pitches to punch out Texas’ 3-4-5 hitters in order in a scoreless bottom half of the eighth.

Martinez dealing with migraine

J.D. Martinez left Thursday’s game in the eighth inning due to migraine-like symptoms. He was pinch-hit for by Christian Arroyo. It sounds like the Red Sox will be staying away from Martinez on Friday.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Arihara

Friday’s pitching matchup between the 16-10 Red Sox and 11-15 Rangers will feature a pair of right-handers, with Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and Kohei Arihara doing the same for Texas.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta takes no-hitter into sixth inning, but Red Sox still fall to Mariners, 7-3, in extras

Despite giving up just three hits over 10 innings, the Red Sox’ struggles at Fenway Park continued on Thursday with a 7-3 loss at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

The Sox are now 12-8 on the season, 6-7 at home, and 3-5 in their last eight games coming off that nine-game winning streak earlier this month.

Nick Pivetta is not to blame for Boston’s second consecutive defeat. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and retired 16 of the first 17 hitters he faced Thursday before issuing a pair of two-out walks to J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger in the top half of the sixth.

Moments after walking Haniger, Pivetta surrendered his first hit — a two-run double off the bat of Ty France that appeared catchable for left fielder Franchy Cordero — and saw the Mariners take a 2-0 lead before France was tagged out between second and third base.

That would turn out to be Pivetta’s final inning. So over six frames of work in total, the 28-year-old yielded two runs on one hit, three walks, and four strikeouts. 55 of the 86 pitches he threw went for strikes.

His next start should come against the Mets in Queens on Wednesday.

Ottavino charged with blown save

After Matt Andriese tossed a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Pivetta, Adam Ottavino got the call for the top half of the eighth with a 3-2 lead to protect.

The veteran righty put the first two Mariners he faced in Luis Torrens and a pinch-hitting Jose Marmolejos on base via a pair of free passes.

Crawford, Seattle’s No. 9 hitter, followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt towards the left side of the infield. Ottavino fielded the ball rather quickly and attempted to make the throw to the third to get the lead runner out.

The throw instead got away from Ottavino, which allowed Sam Haggerty (pinch-running for Torrens) to score from third base and knot things up at three runs a piece.

Hernandez gives up three-run bomb in extras

Matt Barnes managed to hold the M’s at three runs and needed all of 12 pitches to toss a 1-2-3 top half of the ninth. But even after getting through that portion of the game rather effortlessly, Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Darwinzon Hernandez rather than Barnes for the 10th.

Hernandez, in turn, allowed the runner who starts each extra inning at second base to score on a sac bunt and an RBI double from Haggerty, then proceeded to walk Crawford with two outs as the Mariners lineup flipped back over.

As the adage goes, “walks will haunt.” And the walk to Crawford did indeed haunt Hernandez when he served up a three-run home run to Haniger moments later.

That three-run blast from Haniger put the Mariners up 7-3 and would prove to be the final dagger in this one.

Devers homers, but team’s offensive struggles continue

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn, who pitched at Boston College from 2014-2016 before getting drafted by the Mets.

Rafael Devers greeted Dunn by crushing a 427-foot solo home run to lead off the second inning to give the Sox a 1-0 advantage. His sixth homer of the season left his bat at 108.2 mph.

In the fourth, Devers would again prove to be the catalyst for more offensive production, as he led things off with a single and would later come in to score on an RBI knock off the bat of Hunter Renfroe.

Enrique Hernandez tacked on his side’s third run of the night when he led off the bottom of the seventh with a hard-hit triple off the Green Monster and scored from third on a wild pitch from Mariners reliever Casey Sadler.

At the time, Seattle’s blunder put the Sox up 3-2, but the Boston bats were unable to do anything from that point forward and wound up recording nine consecutive outs from the eighth inning on.

All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position Thursday.

Next up: Kikuchi vs. Perez

Friday’s pitching matchup between the Mariners and Red Sox will feature a pair of foreign-born southpaws.

Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be getting the ball for Seattle, and he will be opposed by Venezuelan left-hander Martin Perez for Boston.

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

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox set starting rotation for Patriots’ Day weekend series against White Sox

Even after Friday’s game was postponed due to “winter-like conditions” in Boston, the Red Sox still (kind of) set their starting rotation for their Patriots’ Day weekend series against the White Sox at Fenway Park.

Coming off a week in which they used four starters in the span of three days in Minnesota, the Red Sox pitching staff — and Alex Cora — will once again be put to the test beginning on Saturday for the first of four against the South Siders.

Game 1 (Saturday)

In Game 1 of the series on Saturday, it will be right-hander Nick Pivetta making his third start of the season for Boston. He will be opposed by fellow righty Dylan Cease for Chicago.

The Red Sox have yet to lose a game Pivetta has started since the 28-year-old was called up from the alternate training site last September.

This season alone, Pivetta boasts a 2-0 record and 3.27 through his first two turns through Boston’s rotation, though he has also walked seven and struck out 11 over 11 total innings of work thus far.

Pivetta will be making his first career start against the White Sox come Saturday afternoon. The former Phillies hurler has made two career relief appearances against Chicago and has allowed one unearned run over three total innings pitched in those outings.

Cease, meanwhile, was reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list on Friday after just a two-day absence.

The 25-year-old out of Georgia has only gone 4 2/3 innings deep in each of his first two starts of the season, yielding a total of four runs on nine hits, six walks, and nine strikeouts in the process of doing so. He will be making his first career start against the Red Sox on Saturday.

Games 2 & 3 (Sunday)

Things start to get a little complicated for Sunday’s split doubleheader. Game 1 of the twin bill will start at 1:10 p.m. eastern time as it was scheduled to, while Game 2 — the makeup of Friday’s postponed contest — will start at approximately 5:10 p.m. ET. Both games will be seven innings long.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to get the starting nod in Game 2 for the Red Sox, and fellow lefty Dallas Keuchel will be starting one of the two games for the White Sox, though which game will be his has yet to be determined.

Outside of that, the expectation seems to be that Tanner Houck will be recalled from the alternate training site in Worcester to make his second start of the season on Sunday afternoon.

The rookie right-hander thoroughly impressed in his first start of the year back on April 3, striking out eight Orioles over five solid innings in which he gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk. He also was charged with an unearned run while pitching in relief in the 11th inning of an April 6 game against the Rays.

Houck, who turns 25 in June, was optioned to the alternate site last Tuesday, which — as noted by the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier — would mean the soonest he could be called up again would be this Saturday.

Had Friday’s game against the White Sox gone on as planned, that likely would have been the case since the Red Sox would have needed a starter for Saturday. But with Friday’s contest being pushed back to Sunday, and Sunday becoming a doubleheader day as a result, Boston can just recall Houck as the 27th man for the twin bill and send him back down to the alternate site at the conclusion of the second game.

Game 4 (Monday)

Monday is Patriots’ Day, meaning first pitch for the Red Sox’ series finale against the White Sox is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. eastern time.

Nathan Eovaldi will be getting the ball for Boston to close out the four-game set, and he will be matched up against a talented opponent in right-hander Lucas Giolito for Chicago.

Eovaldi, who joined teammate Chris Sale in getting some work in at snowy Fenway Park on Friday, has been solid through his first three starts of the 2021 campaign.

Coming into the weekend, the 31-year-old righty carries with him a 2.08 ERA and .503 OPS against as he is fresh off tossing five innings of two-run ball against the Twins on Wednesday.

For his career, Eovaldi has made just three appearances (two starts) against the White Sox. In those three outings, the Houston-area native has posted a 5.59 ERA over 9 2/3 total innings pitched.

Giolito, meanwhile, is just a few days removed from his best start of the young season to this point.

The 26-year-old, who finished in the top-seven in American League Cy Young voting in each of the last two seasons, put together seven shutout frames against the Indians while scattering all of three hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts in a game his side somehow lost.

Giolito, a product of the baseball factory that is Harvard-Westlake High School, has made just one prior start at Fenway Park.

In that one start, which came back on June 24, 2019, the Southern California native surrendered three runs on six hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings pitched.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec comes through with 2 clutch hits, Hunter Renfroe and Rafael Devers both homer as Red Sox come back to defeat Twins, 4-2, and pick up seventh straight win

An unexpected off-day on Monday and frigid, snowy conditions in Minneapolis on Tuesday could not halt the Red Sox’ early-season momentum, as the club extended its winning streak to seven consecutive games following a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over the Twins at Target Field.

Improving to 7-3 to start the 2021 campaign, the Sox become the first team since the 1991 Mariners to begin a season with a losing streak of three-plus games and follow it by winning seven-plus games in a row.

Tuesday’s win in Minnesota was not easy to come by. The Sox were held off the scoreboard until the fifth inning and did not plate the go-ahead run until their half of the eighth.

Bobby Dalbec was responsible for the two-most important Boston runs of the afternoon.

The 25-year-old slugger came into the week in the midst of a 3-for-25 slump to begin his first season in the majors, but came through in the clutch during his first visit to Target Field by driving in the tying and go-ahead runs on a pair of RBI doubles in the fifth and eighth innings.

Christian Arroyo was the one who scored on both of those two-base hits from Dalbec. The young second baseman enjoyed a successful day at the plate batting out of the eight-hole, as he he went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.

Arroyo also turned a nifty double play in the sixth when he fielded a 105 mph scorcher off the bat of Andrelton Simmons while playing in a defensive shift behind second base.

Renfroe gets on the board while Devers stays hot

Before Dalbec’s heroics, the Red Sox first got on the board courtesy of Hunter Renfroe.

With two outs in the top half of the fifth, the right-handed power threat that is Renfroe took a 1-1 slider from Twins starter J.A. Happ 416 feet deep to dead center field for his first home run in a Sox uniform.

Fast forward to the ninth, after Boston had already taken a 3-2 lead over Minnesota, and Rafael Devers wrapped things up by extending his homer-streak to four consecutive games.

The 24-year-old deposited a 1-2, 89 mph slider from Twins reliever Jorge Alcala 404 feet over the left field wall — with an exit velocity of 108.4 mph off the bat — for his fifth big fly of the season.

Perez gets off to shaky start, but pulls through with five strong frames

Martin Perez’s second start of the year looked like it was going to be a short one, for the veteran southpaw allowed four of the first six hitters he faced on Tuesday to reach base.

Command issues for Perez resulted in the Twins jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first, but the Venezuelan-born hurler was able to settle in once he got more adjusted to the freezing temperatures.

That being the case because over his final four innings of work, Perez only faced more than four hitters in one frame on one occasion en route to keeping his former team off the board through the end of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (49 strikes), Perez’s next start should come against the White Sox back at Fenway Park on Sunday.

Bullpen holds steady, preserves winning streak

Between Hirokazu Sawamura, Adam Ottavino, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Matt Barnes, the Red Sox bullpen combined to toss four scoreless, one-hit innings of relief on Wednesday afternoon.

Barnes, in particular, was sharp once again as the right-hander needed all of 14 pitches to retire the side in order in the ninth, pick up his first save of the season, and preserve his side’s 4-2 series-opening win.

Next up: Straight doubleheader on Wednesday

The Red Sox and Twins will be playing a straight doubleheader on Wednesday to make up for Monday’s game being postponed.

Each game of the twin-bill will be seven innings long with the second contest beginning approximately 30 minutes after the first one ends.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston in Game 1, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Kenta Maeda.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, meanwhile, will start Game 2 for the Sox. He will be opposed by Twins ace right-hander Jose Berrios.

First pitch of the first game Wednesday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be going for their eighth straight win, and then their ninth if they come out on top in Game 1.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe and Rafael Devers: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)