Rafael Devers collects 3 hits, drives in winning run as Red Sox battle back for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox battled back to earn a series-opening win over the Rays on Monday night. Boston defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-3 to put an end to a three-game losing streak and improve to 76-84 on the season.

Pending free-agent Rich Hill ended his season on a strong note. Making his 26th and final start of the year for the Sox, the veteran left-hander allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

All three of those Rays runs came by way of the long ball. After recording the first two outs of the first, Hill served up a solo shot to Wander Franco to get Tampa Bay on the board first. He proceeded to retire eight of the next nine batters he faced.

With two outs in the fourth, Hill got Harold Ramirez to hit a groundball in the direction of Rafael Devers at third base. Devers fielded the ball cleanly, but he made a poor throw to first base that forced Triston Casas off the bag. Ramirez reached safely as a result and former Boston farmhand Manuel Margot followed by cranking a two-run blast over the Green Monster off a first-pitch cutter from Hill.

Margot’s fourth homer of the season gave the Rays a 3-0 lead through four innings. Hill, for his part, settled back into a groove by sitting down seven of the last eight hitters he faced. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with 80 pitches (60 strikes) and induced 12 swings-and-misses. Though he did not factor into the decision, Hill brought his final ERA on the season down to 4.27.

Moments after Hill ended things in the top of the sixth, the Red Sox lineup finally got going in the bottom half of the inning. After being held in check by Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, Devers led off the sixth with a hard-hit double off Kevin Herget. Devers moved up to third base on a one-out single from Alex Verdugo. Both runners then scored when Christian Arroyo roped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the deficit to one.

Representing the possible tying run, Arroyo advanced to third on a Casas groundout and scored on an RBI double from Hernandez. The bats got back to work after John Schreiber took over for Hill out of the bullpen and faced the minimum in the top of the seventh.

To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Reese McGuire laced a ground-rule double down the right field line. McGuire moved up an additional 90 feet on a Tommy Pham groundout. Devers then came through with a sacrifice fly that was hit deep enough to left field to plate McGuire and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 4-3.

From there, Ryan Brasier made quick work of the Rays in the eighth before Matt Barnes avoided disaster in the ninth. After yielding a one-out triple to Franco, Barnes got Ramirez to hit a grounder towards Devers. Franco took off from third in an attempt to score the tying run, but he was instead caught in a rundown and tagged out by Yu Chang, who had come on as a defensive replacement.

Ramirez was able to advance to scoring position on the play, but Barnes got Margot to ground out to second to end it. Barnes was credited with his seventh save of the season while Schreiber picked up the win.

Offensively, Devers led the way by going 3-for-4 with his 42nd double of the year. Hernandez also went 2-for-4 with an RBI. As a team, the Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Springs

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory on Tuesday by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the final time this season. The Rays will counter with an old friend in left-hander Jeffrey Springs.

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

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

Abraham Almonte and Alex Verdugo both homer, Rich Hill fans 9 over 6 scoreless innings as Red Sox defeat Orioles, 3-1

In rather uneventful fashion, the Red Sox won their second straight over the Orioles on Wednesday night. Boston bested Baltimore by a final score of 3-1 to improve to 74-81 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 25th start of the year, pitched well for the Sox. The veteran left-hander scattered five hits and one walk to go along with nine strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work.

The Red Sox provided Hill with an early lead. After Rafael Devers ripped a one-out ground-rule double off Orioles starter Dean Kremer, Alex Verdugo followed by lacing a run-scoring single to center field to get his side on the board first in the first inning.

Two innings later, Abraham Almonte took the fourth pitch he saw from Kremer and drilled a 421-foot solo shot to right field for his first home run in a Red Sox uniform.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Hill ended his night by retiring the final three batters he faced in order. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with exactly 100 pitches (67 strikes) and induced 15 swings-and-misses. He also picked up his eighth winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 4.41.

Shortly after Hill put an end to the top of the sixth, Verdugo led off the bottom half by sneaking a 331-foot liner past Pesky’s Pole for his 11th home run of the season. It left his bat at 102.6 mph and gave Boston a 3-0 lead heading into the seventh.

In relief of Hill, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Brasier needed just 10 pitches to get through a scoreless seventh inning. Kaleb Ort, on the other hand, served up a solo homer to Robinson Chirinos to begin the eighth before settling down and retiring the next three Orioles he faced.

Matt Barnes was responsible for the ninth inning. The righty allowed two runners to reach base but ultimately held on to secure the 3-1 victory while also notching his sixth save of the year.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Baumann in series finale

The Red Sox will look to take this four-game series from the Orioles on Thursday afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi, who last pitched on August 13, will be activated from the injured list to make his penultimate start of the season for Boston. Baltimore will counter with fellow right-hander Michael Baumann.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rich Hill strikes out 7 over 5 scoreless innings as Red Sox take series from Orioles with 1-0 win

After breaking out for a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 21 hits on Saturday, the Red Sox needed just one run on four hits to secure a 1-0 series-clinching victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday.

A 72-minute rain delay did not affect Rich Hill, who made his 22nd start of the year for Boston and scattered two hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings of work.

Hill retired the first five batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Austin Hays in the bottom of the second. The veteran left-hander then worked his way around having runners on the corners with two outs in the third by getting Ryan Mountcastle to fly out to left field.

After stranding another base runner in the fourth, Hill plunked Rougned Odor and walked Robinson Chirinos to begin the fifth. But he did not falter as he got Ryan McKenna to pop out into foul territory before fanning Anthony Santander and Mountcastle back-to-back to end his day on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 77 (45 strikes), Hill ultimately picked up his seventh winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 4.56. The 42-year-old hurler has now allowed two or fewer runs to score in three of his last five starts.

It may have helped that the Red Sox had jumped out to an early 1-0 lead before Hill even took the mound on Sunday. Matched up against Baltimore right-hander Kyle Bradish, Tommy Pham led off the game with a line-drive single. He then stole second base, moved up to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout, and scored on a 348-foot sacrifice fly of Xander Bogaerts.

That one run turned out to be all Boston needed, as it recorded just one hit from the second and eighth innings before Verdugo and Bogaerts each singled in the ninth.

While the Sox lineup was unable to provide any sort of insurance, the bullpen held it down in relief of Hill. John Schreiber yielded just one single in a scoreless sixth inning, Matt Strahm put a runner at second with no outs before retiring the next three Orioles he faced in the seventh, Garrett Whitlock worked his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean eighth, and Matt Barnes struck out two while retiring the side in order in the ninth.

Barnes notched his fifth save of the season as the Red Sox improved to 7-8 against the O’s and to 69-72 on the 2022 campaign as a whole. With only 21 regular season games remaining, they still trail the Blue Jays by 10 games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Story day-to-day with left heel pain

Trevor Story left the game in the middle of the seventh inning after grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. He was later diagnosed with left heel pain and is considered day-to-day. Christian Arroyo took over for Story at second base and drew a walk in his only plate appearance.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will an enjoy an off day on Monday before opening a quick two game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to start the opener for Boston. New York has yet to name a starter.

Regardless, first pitch on Tuesday night is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts crushes grand slam, drives in 5 runs to power Red Sox to 6-5 win over Twins

The Red Sox avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins on Wednesday night. Boston held on for a 6-5 win over Minnesota at Target Field to end a three-game losing streak and improve to 63-68 on the season.

Matched up against Twins rookie starter Joe Ryan to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox drew first blood in their half of the third inning. Following a pair of back-to-back singles from Kevin Plawecki and Tommy Pham, Alex Verdugo reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with no outs for Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts, who walked in his first plate appearance, took a first-pitch strike from Ryan and then unloaded on a hanging slider by lacing it 392 feet over the left field wall for a grand slam. The ball left his bat at a blistering 113 mph (his hardest-hit ball of 2022) and cleared the fence in just 3.6 second. It was also good for his 12th home run of the season and gave the Red Sox an early 4-0 lead.

After Rafael Devers flew out, J.D. Martinez went deep for the 11th time this year by depositing another slider from Ryan 394 feet into the left field bleachers. Martinez’s second big fly in his last four games made it a 5-0 contest in favor of Boston.

To that point, Michael Wacha had yet to allow a run two innings into his 17th start of the season. That changed in the third, as the veteran right-hander recorded two quick outs before giving up a softly-hit single to No. 9 hitter Sandy Leon. Moments later, Luis Arraeez made Wacha pay for extending the inning by cranking a three-run homer to right that trimmed Boston’s lead down to three runs at 5-2.

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Sox got one of those two runs back. Kevin Plawecki greeted new Twins reliever Jovani Moran by roping a leadoff double to right field. After Pham and Verdugo each struck out, Bogaerts came through yet again with an RBI single that would prove to be more important than it seemed at the time.

Wacha, who ended his night by escaping a jam in which Minnesota had runners at second third with only out, wound up yielding just two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts over six strong innings of work. The 31-year-old hurler threw 98 pitches (64 strikes) and induced eight swings-and-misses en route to picking up his 10th winning decision of the year.

In relief of Wacha, Garrett Whitlock received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Whitlock was not as sharp as he usually is, as he began the seventh inning by giving up a leadoff double to Nick Gordon. Gordon advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Arraez. Whitlock’s struggles extended into the eighth inning, as a pair of singles put runners on the corners with two outs for Gordon.

Gordon proceeded to rip a two-run double to right field that he attempted to extend into a triple. But Verdugo tracked the ball and, with his momentum carrying him towards the field, made a nice throw to gun down Gordon at third base and limit the damage to two runs.

Verdugo’s sixth outfield of the season allowed Matt Barnes to take the mound in the ninth with a 6-5 lead to protect. Barnes, in turn, made things interesting by putting the first two batters he faced on base before retiring Arraez and getting Carlos Correa to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. By doing so, Barnes notched his fourth save of the year while securing a one-run victory.

With the win, the Red Sox finish the month of August with a 12-16 record. Coming into September, they still trail the Blue Jays by eight games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Bogaerts’ third-inning slam was the first from a Red Sox hitter since May 22nd. It was also the sixth of Bogaerts’ career, which moves him into sole possession of first place for most among shortstops in Red Sox history. He was previously in a three-way tie with Nomar Garciaparra and Vern Stephens, who each hit five over the course of their respective careers.

Plawecki, meanwhile, went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored out of the nine-hole on Wednesday. He is now 11-for-21 (.524) over his last seven games dating back to Aug. 20.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will return home and open a four-game weekend series against the Rangers on Thursday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill, fresh off striking out a season-high of 11 across seven scoreless innings in his last time out, will start the series opener for Boston. On the opposite side of the spectrum, rookie right-hander Glenn Otto will take the mound for Texas.

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

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: David Berding/Getty Images)

Kutter Crawford, Ryan Brasier combine to give up 7 runs as Red Sox fall to Twins, 10-5

The Red Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins on Tuesday night. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 10-5 at Target Field despite having a 4-3 lead at one point.

Kutter Crawford, making his 12th start and 21st overall appearance of the season for the Sox, surrendered five runs — four of which were earned — on four hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

Three of those runs came within the first two innings. Crawford retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first before issuing a pair of two-out walks to Max Kepler and Jose Miranda. The rookie right-hander then gave up a two-run double to Nick Gordon that got the Twins on the board first.

An inning later, Jake Cave led off the bottom of the second by taking Crawford 400 feet deep to left-center field for just his third home run of the season. Crawford put together his first scoreless frame of the night in the third and did it again in the fourth.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, finally broke through against Twins starter Chris Archer in their half of the fourth. An Alex Verdugo leadoff single and Xander Bogaerts double put runners at second and third with no outs for Rafael Devers. Devers drove in Verdugo with a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game in favor of Minnesota. J.D. Martinez followed by drawing a six-pitch walk, but Trevor Story grounded into an inning-ending double play to extinguish the threat.

In the fifth, however, the Sox were able to mount a rally. With Enrique Hernandez and Reese McGuire on the corners following a pair of one-out singles, Tommy Pham trimmed Boston’s deficit to one with a run-scoring base hit through the right side of the infield. That knocked Archer out of the game in favor of Caleb Thielbar.

McGuire moved up to third base when Verdugo grounded into a force out at second. With runners at the corners yet again, Bogaerts greeted the new Twins reliever by blooping a 241-foot game-tying single to left field to push across McGuire and move Verdugo to third. Devers then drew a bases-filling walk, prompting another Minnesota pitching change.

Michael Fulmer was dispatched to face Martinez, but he first airmailed a wild pitch to the backstop that allowed Verdugo to score the go-ahead run on a feet-first slide. The Red Sox had a chance to add to their newfound 4-3 lead, but Martinez struck out against his former teammate to leave things there.

Crawford came back out for the fifth and got Luis Arraez to fly out to Pham for the first out of the inning. It appeared as though Crawford was going to get the second out when he got Carlos Correa to lift a 318-foot flyball to Verdugo in right field.

Verdugo failed to make a clean catch, though, as the ball deflected off his glove, allowing Correa to reach first base safely. Correa then issued another walk to Kepler, which is how his night would come to an end as Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled the righty for Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, in turn, made a sticky situation even worse by plunking the first batter he faced in Jose Miranda to load the bases. Gordon, already in the midst of a productive evening at the plate, took full advantage of the spot he was in by unloading the bases with a 416-foot grand slam over everything in right field.

Gordon’s sixth homer of the season officially closed the book on Crawford, who finished with a final pitch count of 76 (43 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler managed to induce just seven swings-and-misses while raising his ERA on the season to 5.47 (7.58 ERA in August). He was also hit with his sixth losing decision of the year.

Brasier, on the other hand, was tagged for two runs after getting through the rest of the fifth inning unscathed. The recently-turned 35-year-old has now allowed 14 runs (13 earned) to cross the plate in 14 relief appearances (12 innings) this month. That is good for an ERA of 9.75.

Boston’s bullpen struggled continued into the sixth inning, as Jeurys Familia served up a solo shot to Gary Sanchez. The Red Sox got that run back in the top of the seventh, when Verdugo plated Pham all the way from first base on a 410-foot RBI double to right-center field that would have been a home run in 16 of 30 MLB ballparks.

Verdugo’s second hit of the contest brought the Sox back to within three runs of the Twins at 8-5. Bogaerts moved Verdugo up to third base on a groundout, but Devers stranded him there by striking out.

Following a 1-2-3 seventh inning from Zack Kelly in his second big-league appearance, a resurgent Matt Barnes ran into more trouble in the eighth by walking one and giving up three straight hits to Sanchez, Arraez, and Correa. Arreaz and Correa each drove in runs with their singles, which gave the Twins a commanding 10-5 lead going into the ninth.

Down to their final three outs, Hernandez led off with a walk, but McGuire, Pham, and Verdugo went down quietly against Emilio Pagan to seal another defeat.

With the loss, the seventh in their last nine games, the Red Sox drop to 62-68 on the season. The Blue Jays won on Tuesday, so Boston now sits nine games back of Toronto for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Wacha vs. Ryan in series finale

The Red Sox will look to salvage something out of this series with the Twins on Wednesday night. Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston. Fellow right-hander Joe Ryan is expected to do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: David Berding/Getty Images)

Franchy Cordero and Xander Bogaerts both homer as Red Sox avoid disaster, hold on for 9-8 win over Rays

The Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak with a series-opening win over the Rays on Friday night. Boston avoided disaster and defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 9-8 at Fenway Park to improve to 61-65 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 16th start of the year for the Sox, allowed four runs on five hits, one walk, and two hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over six innings of work. All four of those runs were scored within the first three innings.

The veteran right-hander got his night off to a tough start, as his very first pitch was deposited 411 feet over the Green Monster courtesy of a leadoff home run off the bat of Yandy Diaz.

An inning later, Wacha yielded a one-out double to Jose Siri. After fanning Francisco Mejia, he promptly served up a 431-foot shot to Ji-Man Choi that gave the Rays an early 3-0 lead.

Boston responded in the bottom of the second. Christian Arroyo led off against Ryan Yarbrough by ripping a 105 mph double to left field. He then moved up to third base on an Enrique Hernandez base hit and scored from there on an infield single from Kevin Plawecki that was deflected by Diaz at third base. Tommy Pham drew a two-out walk off Yarbrough to load the bases, but Alex Verdugo popped out to second to end the rally there.

Diaz returned the favor in the third with a leadoff double of his own. Wacha then plunked the next two batters he faced to fill the bases for Harold Ramirez, who brought Tampa Bay’s lead back to three runs with a sacrifice fly to right field. Wacha managed to limit the damage by getting David Peralta to ground into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play.

Perhaps that sequence helped Wacha settle into a groove, because the righty proceeded to retire nine of the final 11 Rays hitters he faced through the middle of the sixth. The 31-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 93 (63 strikes). He induced 10 swings-and-misses while averaging 93 mph with his four-seam fastball.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, took full advantage of Wacha putting up those zeroes. Franchy Cordero led off the fourth inning by wrapping his seventh home run of the season — and third of the week — 356 feet around Pesky’s Pole to make it a 4-2 game. Hernandez and Plawecki followed with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners for Jarren Duran.

Duran drove in Hernandez on a sacrifice fly to right field. In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts led off with a single and Bobby Dalbec, who was pinch-hitting for Cordero, drew a one-out walk. Following a Tampa Bay pitching change that saw Shawn Armstrong take over for Yarbrough, Hernandez greeted the new reliever by lacing a game-tying single through the left side of the infield. Dalbec advanced to second on the play and scored the go-ahead run on a 104.3 mph RBI double off the bat of Plawecki.

After Verdugo and J.D. Martinez each reached base with no outs in the sixth, Bogaerts broke it open by cranking a no-doubt, 386-foot three-run home run over the Green Monster. Bogaerts’ 11th big fly of the season left his bat at 100.1 mph to give the Red Sox a four-run advantage at 8-4.

Matt Strahm took over for Wacha — who later picked up the winning decision — out of the Boston bullpen in the seventh inning. The left-hander worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame of work. The Red Sox then received what would prove to be some much-needed insurance in the latter half of the inning on a run-scoring triple from Verdugo.

Taking a 9-4 lead into the eighth inning, Ryan Brasier nearly let that five-run cushion slip away. Celebrating his 53rd birthday on Friday, Brasier failed to record an out in the process of giving up a leadoff walk, a base hit, an RBI single to Peralta, and a three-run home run to Siri.

Brasier’s meltdown gave the Rays life and forced Red Sox manager Alex Cora to turn to Matt Barnes for the third time in as many days. As has been the case since he returned from the injured list earlier this month, though, Barnes proved reliable yet again by striking out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect inning of relief.

That paved the way for Garrett Whitlock to enter in the ninth, and he wasted no time in slamming the door on the Rays to secure the one-run victory and earn his sixth save of the year.

All told, the Red Sox went 7-for-20 with runners in scoring position on Friday. Pham, Verdugo, and Bogaerts each had two hits while Hernandez and Plawecki each had three.

Next up: Hill vs. Springs

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is slated to start for Boston while fellow southpaw (and old friend) Jeffrey Springs is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

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

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta allows just 1 hit over 7 scoreless innings as Red Sox hold on for 5-3 win over Pirates

The Red Sox scored four runs out of the gate and held on for a series-opening win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday night. Boston defeated Pittsburgh by a final score of 5-3 to improve to 58-59 on the season and 7-9 in interleague play.

Making their first trip to Pittsburgh in nearly seven years, the Sox received an early boost from the top half of their lineup. Matched up against Mitch Keller to begin things on Tuesday, Tommy Pham led off the first inning with a line-drive single.

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez followed by drawing back-to-back walks to fill the bases for Alex Verdugo, who drove in his side’s first run on a groundball single to right field. Christian Arroyo and Eric Hosmer tacked on two more with run-scoring singles of their own, though Hosmer’s — a 214-foot fly ball — deflected off the glove of Pirates rookie Oneil Cruz before landing in left field.

With the bases still full, Enrique Hernandez came through in his first plate appearance in more than two months by lifting a 350-foot sacrifice fly to left field to plate Verdugo. An inning later, Pham reached base again on a one-out single. He moved up to second base when Martinez drew a walk and scored from there after Pirates centerfielder Bryan Reynolds failed to catch a 366-foot line drive off the bat of Verdugo.

That sequence of events gave the Red Sox a five-run lead, which was plenty big for Nick Pivetta. Making his 24th start of the season on Tuesday, Pivetta allowed just one hit and three walks to go along with six strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work.

The one hit Pivetta surrendered came with two outs in the bottom of the first and put runners at first and second. The right-hander did not buckle, though, as he proceeded to get Kevin Padlo to ground out to himself to extinguish the threat.

From there, Pivetta settled in by retiring 18 of the next 20 batters he faced through the end of the seventh. Of the 99 pitches the 29-year-old threw on Tuesday, 63 went for strikes. He induced a total of eight swings-and-misses in the process of picking up his ninth win and lowering his ERA on the season to 4.28.

In relief of Pivetta, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander made things interesting in the eighth by loading the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. That prompted Cora to turn to John Schreiber, who struck out Reynolds on a nasty slider and was one strike away from ending the inning.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Schreiber served up a bases-clearing, three-run double to Gamel on another slider at the bottom of the strike zone. All three of those runs were charged to Davis as the Pirates trimmed the deficit down to two runs at 5-3.

Matt Barnes was called upon to end it in the ninth. He did just that by punching out Cruz and Rodolfo Castro and retiring Greg Allen on 12 pitches to earn his third save of the season (and first since May 21) to secure the win.

So, despite going hitless from the second inning on, the Red Sox picked up their fourth win in their last five games. Pham led the way with two singles and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot while Verdugo, Arroyo, and Hosmer, had one hit and one RBI between them.

Next up: Hill vs. Contreras

The Red Sox will go for their third straight series victory in Wednesday’s contest against the Pirates. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston and rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski will follow out of the bullpen. Fellow righty Roansy Contreras is slated to take the mound for Pittsburgh.

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

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Kevin Plawecki from COVID-19 related injured list, option Connor Wong to Triple-A Worcester; Matt Barnes transferred to 60-day injured list

Another day, another series of roster moves for the Red Sox.

Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox announced that backup catcher Kevin Plawecki had been reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In order to make room for Plawecki on the major-league roster, fellow backstop Connor Wong was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for him on the 40-man roster, right-hander Matt Barnes was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Plawecki returns to action after missing the last two games on the COVID-related injured list. The 31-year-old exhibited COVID-like symptoms but never tested positive for the virus. He will be active for Wednesday’s contest at Tropicana Field.

Wong filled in for Plawecki in the first two games of this four-game set. The 26-year-old made his third appearance of the season while pinch-hitting for Jarren Duran in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. He went 0-for-1 with a strikeout and finished the game behind the plate.

While on the COVID-related injured list, Plawecki did not count against Boston’s 40-man roster. So the club created a spot for him by moving Barned to the 60-day injured list. Barnes was originally placed on the 15-day injured list because of right shoulder inflammation on June 1, though the move was made retroactively to May 31.

With that, the soonest Barnes could return to the Red Sox would be Saturday, July 30. The 32-year-old reliever began a rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League on Saturday. In two starts with the Fort Myers-based affiliate, he has allowed four runs on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over two innings.

Prior to getting injured in late May, Barnes had struggled to the tune of a 7.94 ERA and 5.29 FIP with 14 strikeouts to 12 walks across 20 relief appearances (17 innings) with the Red Sox this season.

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

Red Sox’ Chaim Bloom explains why Matt Barnes landed on 15-day injured list

In case you missed it, the Red Sox somewhat surprisingly placed struggling reliever Matt Barnes on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation on Wednesday.

Barnes, who turns 32 later this month, has had an abysmal season to date. The right-hander has posted a 7.94 ERA and 5.32 FIP to go along with 14 strikeouts to 12 walks over 20 appearances spanning 17 innings of work.

In his last three outings alone (two of which came in blowouts), Barnes surrendered five runs in less than three innings. He served up a three-run home run to Anthony Santander in the ninth inning Monday’s 10-0 loss to the Orioles at Fenway Park.

According to Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, Barnes first felt his throwing shoulder flare up ahead of that appearance on Memorial Day.

“He came to us with this yesterday,” Bloom told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “He said when he was warming up for that last appearance, he felt it, worked through it, and it didn’t bother him during the game. Then, yesterday, his shoulder was bothering him. He tried to play a little light catch and was feeling it.

“We tried to get our arms around it and see how he came in today,” added Bloom. “It’s still bothering him today so the prudent thing to do here is just to back off here and make sure we can calm this down. We’ll go from there and get him built back up.”

While some may question the timing of Barnes’ placement on the injured list, this will give the former All-Star a chance to work on some things without taking up a spot on Boston’s major-league roster.

The Red Sox can activate Barnes from the injured list as soon as June 15 if so choose. At the same time, they could send the righty out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester to give him even more time to reset.

If they were to take that route, Barnes could spend up to 30 days with the WooSox while rehabbing and working with pitching coach Paul Abbott at Polar Park.

In the meantime, the Red Sox currently have Ryan Brasier, Tyler Danish, Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, Tanner Houck, Hirokazu Sawamura, John Schreiber, Matt Strahm, and Phillips Valdez available out of the bullpen.

Like Barnes, fellow righty Hansel Robles (back spasms) is on the 15-day injured list and has been since May 28. He is eligible to return as soon as June 9, at which point the Red Sox will be in Anaheim taking on the Angels.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Matt Strahm from COVID-19 related injured list, place Matt Barnes on 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation

Before wrapping up their two-game interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway Park on Wednesday, the Red Sox activated left-hander Matt Strahm from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In order to make room for Strahm on the active roster, right-hander Matt Barnes was placed on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation, the team announced.

Strahm’s stay on the COVID-related IL lasted all of 48 hours after he was placed on it before Monday night’s 10-0 loss to the Orioles. The 30-year-old southpaw has been one of Alex Cora’s most trusted relievers this season, posting a 3.68 ERA and 1.77 FIP with 16 strikeouts to just three walks over 18 appearances spanning 14 2/3 innings of work.

Barnes, meanwhile, is in the midst of his worst season as a big-leaguer. The 31-year-old has posted a dismal 7.94 ERA and 5.32 FIP with 14 strikeouts to 12 walks across 20 outings and 17 innings pitched in 2022.

That Barnes has struggled as much as he has this year can be attributed to the difficulties he also endured during the second half of last season. Since signing a two-year, $18.75 million extension with the Sox in July, the former first-round draft pick has pitched to a 7.01 ERA and 5.49 FIP over his last 34 2/3 innings.

Since Barnes’ stint on the injured list is retroactive to May 31, the hard-throwing righty would be eligible to return to action as soon as June 15, when the Red Sox host the Oakland Athletics in Boston.

On the flip side of that, though, the Sox could elect to send Barnes out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester to have him work on things there with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, any rehab assignment can last up to 30 days, ” so the Red Sox can keep Barnes off their roster for a significant amount of time if they so choose.”

Following Wednesday’s transaction, the Red Sox now have Strahm, Ryan Brasier, Tyler Danish, Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, Tanner Houck, Hirokazu Sawamura, John Schreiber, and Phillips Valdez in their active bullpen.

Hansel Robles, who was placed on the 15-day injured list because of back spasms on Saturday, could be activated during Boston’s upcoming west coast road trip, Cora told reporters (including Cotillo) on Tuesday.

(Picture of Matt Strahm: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)