Red Sox’ Matt Barnes open to in-season contract extension talks: ‘I’m sure that’s something that my agent and I can discuss and see if anything comes of that’

Matt Barnes has long been interested in remaining with the Red Sox past the 2021 season, when he is set to hit free agency for the first time.

Originally selected by Boston in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft out of UCONN, Barnes has spent the first 11 years of his professional career and first eight years of his big-league career with the Sox after debuting for them in 2014.

As he prepared for his eighth season in the majors this past spring, the right-hander and his camp were approached by the Red Sox about signing a potential contract extension with the club. The two sides also discussed an extension last spring before the COVID-19 pandemic-induced shutdown in March.

While contract extension talks are typically reserved for spring training and tabled as soon as the regular season starts, Barnes would be all for continuing those conversations with Boston in the coming weeks.

“I would be open to it,” Barnes said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros. “But I can tell you firmly nothing has happened. We haven’t had any discussions since spring training. So if the Red Sox want to make an offer and they want to start those conversations… then I’m sure that’s something that my agent and I can discuss and see if anything comes of that.”

In conversing with the Red Sox throughout spring training, Barnes did say that the talks were more than just those of the preliminary variety. Put another way, dollar figures were involved.

“There were numbers exchanged,” he said. “It was definitely serious enough. It wasn’t just a one or two phone calls and, ‘Hey, we’re interested,’ ‘Hey we’re interested,’ and that was the end of it.”

Barnes, who turns 31 next Thursday, is putting together a career year at just the right time. Through 26 relief appearances this season, the Red Sox closer has posted a 2.73 ERA and 1.36 FIP to go along with 47 strikeouts to just seven walks over 26 1/3 innings of work thus far.

One reason as to why Barnes has been so effective in 2021 is simply because he is throwing more strikes and is punching out more batters and walking less as a result of doing so.

Among qualified big-league relievers, Barnes comes into play Wednesday ranked second in strikeout percentage (49.5%), 49th in walk percentage (7.4%), ninth in batting average against (.136), first in expected ERA (1.33), first in xFIP (1.50), and first in fWAR (1.5), per FanGraphs.

“One of the things that he has done is actually throw more strikes this year,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora in regards to Barnes’ success. “Stuff-wise, very similar. His fastball is actually playing in the strike zone. I do believe the biggest adjustment that he has made is actually throwing competitive pitches.

“There were a lot of pitches whenever he went out there [before this season],” added Cora. “Now he’s more efficient — there’s quick innings. The fact that he can bounce back from that is a testament to where he’s at physically. We’re very happy with the way he is performing.”

If Barnes continues to impress with the way he has been pitching out of Boston’s bullpen, the 6-foot-4 hurler will certainly be in line for a hefty payday.

Whether that payday comes courtesy of the Red Sox or another team has yet to be determined. But in the meantime, Barnes is all ears when it comes to contract talks.

“Listen, I’ve always been a firm believer that listening to information is always free,” he said. “Whether that’s in baseball or life. Listening is free. … But as of right now, nothing has happened.”

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts leads Red Sox to comeback 6-5 victory over Yankees in extra innings; Boston sweeps New York at Yankee Stadium for first time since 2011

It took 10 innings to complete, but the Red Sox finished off their first sweep of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in nearly 10 years with a drama-filled 6-5 comeback victory over New York on Sunday.

With the win, their fourth straight and their 21st of the come-from-behind variety this year, Boston improves to 36-23 (20-10 on the road) this season. They remain one game behind the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Verdugo gets the Red Sox on the board first

Matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German to start things on Sunday, Alex Verdugo got the scoring started for the Sox by crushing a first-inning solo homer to deep right-center field to give his side the early lead.

Verdugo’s eighth home run of the season, which came on a 91.3 mph fastball down the heart of the plate from German, had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph off the bat and traveled 446 feet into the bleachers.

Richards struggles out of the gate, but eventually settles in and goes five innings

Despite going up right away on the Yankees in this one, the Red Sox found themselves down a run going into the second inning on account of Garrett Richards’ early struggles.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston, the right-hander yielded three consecutive one-out singles in the first inning to load the bases for Gary Sanchez, who drove in two runs on a hard-hit double to left field.

At that moment, it did not look like things were going to go well for Richards in his first outing at Yankee Stadium since 2018, but he was able to settle in fairly nicely.

The only other run the veteran righty gave up came on an RBI groundout from Aaron Judge in the bottom of the fourth. From there, he was able to escape the jam by getting Gleyber Torres to ground into another forceout before retiring the side in order in the fifth to end his night on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (66 strikes), Richards ended his day having allowed three earned runs on eight hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work to raise his ERA on the year to 3.88.

The 33-year-old’s next start should come against the Blue Jays back at Fenway Park on Friday.

Gonzalez comes through in the seventh

With Richards holding the Yankees to three runs, the Sox lineup bounced back in their half of the seventh after German held them in check in his 5 2/3 innings pitched.

Hunter Renfroe led things off by drawing a four-pitch walk off left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge, which set the stage for Marwin Gonzalez, who was already having himself a memorable weekend in the Bronx.

Batting from his preferred right side of the plate, the switch-hitting Gonzalez cranked a game-tying, two-run home run down the left field line on a hanging slider from Luetge that knotting things up at 3-3.

Bogaerts delivers first of two clutch moments in the eighth

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was presumably very pleased with what he saw out of his lineup in the top half of the eighth.

The pinch-hitting Christian Arroyo led off with a pop-up double that very well should have been caught, advanced to third base on a Verdugo groundout, and then came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Bogaerts that put Boston ahead 4-3 late.

Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in. That’s what happened there.

Barnes blows second save of season in the ninth

While the likes of Darwinzon Hernandez, Adam Ottavino, and Josh Taylor each tossed a scoreless inning in relief of Garrett Richards, Red Sox closer Matt Barnes ran into some trouble in the bottom half of the ninth.

Working in his third straight game, the right-hander issued a one-out walk to Aaron Judge and proceeded to serve up a game-tying, RBI double to Gleyber Torres.

With this contest now in a 4-4 deadlock, Barnes was able to get out of the inning while stranding the potential winning run at third base, though he was charged with his second blown save of the season.

Bogaerts does it again, this time to seal it

Heading into the top of the 10th, Christian Vazquez — who recorded the final out of the ninth — was placed at second base. Bobby Dalbec followed by drawing a six-pitch walk off Luis Cessa, and both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Christian Arroyo.

Alex Verdugo was unable to do anything in the clutch, as he grounded out to second, but Xander Bogaerts certainly did — again.

On a 2-1, 83 mph slider from Cessa, Bogaerts cleared the bases by drilling a two-run single to center field, scoring both Vazquez and Dalbec in the process of picking up his second and third RBI of the night to make it a 6-4 game in favor of Boston.

Valdez notches first career save to close it out

Having already exhausted the vast majority of his available bullpen options, Alex Cora turned to right-hander Phillips Valdez to close this one out in the bottom of the 10th.

With a two-run lead to protect, Valdez plunked the first hitter he faced, but induced a potentially pivotal double play — the third the Yankees hit into Sunday — before allowing one unearned run to score on a Marwin Gonzalez throwing error.

Valdez was able to rebound though, as he got D.J. LeMahieu to ground out to secure the 6-5 win for the Red Sox and pick up his first career save while doing so.

Some notes from this victory:

From MLB’s Sarah Langs:

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up: Make-up against Marlins to kick off homestand

Monday was originally supposed to be an off-day for the Red Sox, but May 30th’s rainout against the Marlins changed that.

The Sox will instead welcome the Marlins back into Fenway Park on Monday evening to conclude their three-game series that began late last month, with Boston taking the first two from Miami.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston, while fellow righty Pablo Lopez will do the same for Miami.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. A unique start time for what is sure to be a balmy day in the Fenway-area.

Red Sox will be going for their fifth consecutive win before opening up a three-game set against the Astros on Tuesday.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández delivers with go-ahead RBI double, Bobby Dalbec crushes 453-foot homer as Red Sox come back to take series from Yankees with 7-3 win

Kiké Hernández made sure to make his first hit in nearly two weeks count.

After not playing on Thursday or Friday, Hernández came into the weekend in the midst of an 0-for-21 slump and was dropped to seventh in Alex Cora’s lineup as a result.

In the eighth inning of a 3-3 game Friday night, Hernández came to the plate for the fourth time with two outs and Rafael Devers at first following a leadoff single with reliever Chad Green on the mound for New York.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Green — a 2-2, 95 mph fastball at the top of the zone — Hernández laced a go-ahead RBI double down the left field line that allowed a husting Devers to score all the way from first.

Hernández’s late-game heroics gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead, but they were not done there.

Christian Vazquez followed with a run-scoring double of his won to drive in Hernández, while Bobby Dalbec put this one to bed by crushing a 453-foot two-run home run to deep center field.

Dalbec’s sixth homer of the season, which had an exit velocity of 115.6 mph to make it the hardest-hit ball of his career to this point, put the Red Sox up 7-3, which would go on to be Friday’s final score in the team’s series-clinching victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Five straight hits in the sixth

Before the eighth-inning rally, Boston put up their first three runs of the night earlier in their half of the sixth.

There, five straight one-out hits courtesy of Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe resulted in some serious offensive production, with Devers driving in a pair off Yankees starter Jameson Taillon on a two-run single and Gonzalez plating Devers on yet another run-scoring double off reliever Jonathan Loaisiga.

That little outburst gave the Sox a 3-2 lead going into the middle of the sixth inning.

Rodriguez’s no-decision

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 11th start of the season for the Red Sox on Friday. The left-hander took a perfect game into the third inning before giving up back-to-back two-out singles, though nothing came of it.

The fourth inning, however, was a different story for Rodriguez, as he served up a two-run blast to Gleyber Torres to give the Yankees their first lead of the night at 2-0.

Rodriguez ran into some more trouble in the sixth when he issued a one-out walk to Aaron Judge and yielded a ground-rule double to Gio Urshela to put runners in scoring position. With Torres due to hit next for New York, Rodriguez’s outing came to a close.

Garrett Whitlock was deployed from the Red Sox bullpen to replace Rodriguez, and he allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly before ending the inning.

With that third run being charged to Rodriguez, the 28-year-old hurler finished the day having surrendered three earned runs on one walk and seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work on 88 pitches — 55 of which were strikes.

Able to lower his ERA on the season to 5.59 despite not being involved in the decision, his next start should come against the Astros back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Whitlock and Ottavino impress against former organization

Whitlock, who the Red Sox selected from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, came back out for the seventh inning after finishing things in the sixth.

Facing off against the team that selected him in the 18th round of the 2017 draft, the right-hander wound up facing the minimum three batters in the seventh by inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Gary Sanchez.

Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, had spent the previous two seasons with the Yankees prior to getting traded to the Red Sox over the winter.

In his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since that trade went down, the Brooklyn native continued the dominating run he has been on of late by sitting down the only three hitters he faced in order in the bottom half of the eighth.

Workman struggles with walks, which leads to Barnes closing it out

From there, the Sox had already jumped out to a late 7-3 lead and turned to Brandon Workman to wrap things up.

Workman, making his second appearance out of the Boston bullpen since re-joining the club on Thursday, got the first two outs of the ninth rather easily, but then proceeded to walk the next two Yankees who came to the plate.

That resulted in Cora making the call for closer Matt Barnes, who fanned the lone hitter he faced on five pitches to secure the 7-3 win for his side and notch his 14th save of the season.

With the 7-3 triumph, the Red Sox guarantee their first series victory in the Bronx since the 2018 ALDS. They also pick up their third straight win to improve to 35-23 and remain within a game of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Richards looks to complete the sweep

The Red Sox will send right-hander Garrett Richards to the hill on Sunday night as they look to complete the sweep against their divisional foes.

The Yankees will be going with fellow righty Domingo German as they look to avoid a three-game sweep.

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

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Richard Schultz/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers mashes 3-run homer, Marwin Gonzalez enjoys 2-hit night as Red Sox open series against Yankees with 5-2 win

It would appear that Rafael Devers has gotten his fastball back.

After struggling with the heater in Houston this week, Devers got this weekend’s series against the Yankees started with a bang at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

With two outs and runners at first and second in the top of the first, the 24-year-old greeted Yankees starter Michael King by crushing an 0-2, 96 mph fastball at the top of the zone to deep right field for a three-run home run.

Devers’ team-leading 15th homer of the season traveled 429 feet off the left-handed hitter’s bat and had an exit velocity of 112.4 mph, which would turn out to be the second hardest-hit ball of the night. It also gave the Red Sox an early 3-0 lead.

Gonzalez breaks out of slump with two-hit night

To his credit, King settled in for New York after a rough first inning. The Rhode Island native strung together four consecutive scoreless frames before allowing a one-out single to Xander Bogaerts in the sixth. That resulted in the Yankees turning to left-hander Lucas Luetge.

Hunter Renfroe greeted Luetge by advancing Bogaerts to second on a single, while Hunter Renfroe — who came into Friday’s contest in the midst of a 1-for-24 skid — scored both runners by lacing a two-run double down the left field line.

The Sox went ahead 5-0 on Gonzalez’s first hit since May 22, and the switch-hitter also reached base again on a one-out double later on in the ninth.

Eovaldi tosses six solid innings, but scuffles towards the end

Nathan Eovaldi made his 12th start of the season for the Red Sox on Friday, matched up against one of his former teams at a ballpark he knows quite well.

Over six innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded two runs — only one of which was earned — on eight hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered came in his final frame of action, with Aaron Judge getting his side on the board with a two-out solo home run to the short porch and Gio Urshela scoring on a Marwin Gonzalez fielding AND throwing error later in the inning.

For how impressive he was in the beginning, Eovaldi gave up four of his eight hits in the sixth. Still, six quality innings is six quality innings.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (59 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler’s next start should come against the Astros back at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

Strikeouts galore from the Red Sox bullpen

In relief of Eovaldi, right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the bottom half of the seventh inning.

Sawamura needed all of 12 pitches to punch out Gary Sanchez, Brett Gardner, and D.J. LeMahieu in order, and he also picked up two more strikeouts in a scoreless bottom of the eighth as well to pave the way for Matt Barnes.

Barnes, making his 24th appearance of the season, dominated to the tune of a three-strikeout inning in which he secured his 13th save of the year while also preserving a 5-2, series-opening victory for the Red Sox.

With the win, their second straight, the Sox improve to 34-23 on the season and move to a game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Taillon

A struggling Eduardo Rodriguez will take the hill for the Red Sox against the Yankees on Saturday night. He will be opposed by right-hander Jameson Taillon.

Rodriguez is coming off the worst month of his career. In six May starts, the left-hander went 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA and .957 OPS against over 29 2/3 innings pitched. The Sox went 1-5 in those six starts.

Saturday will mark Rodriguez’s first outing at Yankee Stadium since August 2, 2019.

Tallion, meanwhile, carries with him a 5.10 ERA through his first 10 starts (47 2/3 innings) in a Yankees uniform. The 29-year-old has only made one prior start against the Red Sox, which came when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in April 2017.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: The Providence Jorunal’s Bill Koch joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Bill Koch, who covers the Red Sox for The Providence Journal.

Among the topics Bill and I discussed were how his New England roots shaped his interest in sports journalism, what led him to covering the Red Sox for The Providence Journal, how he goes about writing and tweeting about the Red Sox, his thoughts on Boston’s season thus far, what Alex Cora will have to deal with in the Bronx this weekend, his prediction for what Chaim Bloom will do before next month’s trade deadline, when Jarren Duran could be making his major-league debut, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thank you to Bill for taking some time out of his busy in-season schedule to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Bill on Twitter (@BillKoch25) by clicking here. You can check out his work for the Providence Journal by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ride bullpen to 3-1 victory over Marlins in Will Venable’s managerial debut

With Alex Cora in Puerto Rico for his daughter’s graduation from high school and a paid attendance of over 25,000 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were able to hold on and secure a series victory over the Marlins with a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Nathan Eovaldi made his 11th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set and provided the Sox with 5 1/3 quality innings of work.

Over those 5 1/3 innings, the veteran right-hander kept Miami off the scoreboard while scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the evening.

While he did retire 16 of the 22 hitters he faced on Saturday, Eovaldi also dealt with his fair share of foul balls — 26 to be exact — which ultimately led to an uneconomical outing, if that makes sense.

By the time he issued a one-out single to Garrett Cooper in the top half of the sixth, Eovaldi’s pitch count was already over 100, and that resulted in his day coming to a close right then there.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (71 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 46% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six swings-and-misses while topping out at 98.2 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 6-2 on the season while lowering his ERA to 4.01, Eovaldi’s next start should come against his hometown Astros in Houston next Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he stranded the runner he inherited by retiring the side in the sixth before allowing two of the three batters he faced in the seventh to reach base.

Of the three hits Taylor gave up (a single, a ground-rule double, and an infield single, the average exit velocity on those balls put into play was 58.4 mph, so it goes without saying that the lefty was the recipient of some tough luck.

Adam Ottavino came on to face the right-handed hitting Starling Marte, who he walked on five pitches to fill the bases for the meat of the Marlins’ order.

A lengthy battle with Jesus Aguilar wound up going Ottavino’s way, as he got the Miami slugger to whiff on a 3-2 slider. He followed that by fanning Cooper on four pitches, with the fourth and final pitch being an 82 mph slider that got a fiery reaction out of the usually-tepid righty as he made his way back to the Red Sox dugout.

From there, Darwnizon Hernandez got the first two outs of the eighth before handing things over to Hirokazu Sawamura, who, like Ottavino, induced a dramatic, inning-ending strikeout that got him to emphatically pound his chest as he took his leave.

An inning later, Matt Barnes was deployed with a three-run lead to protect, and despite surrendering a run, the Sox closer did just that when he got Cooper to ground into a game-sealing 4-6-3 double play to preserve the win and pick up his 12th save of the year.

All in all, bench coach Will Venable — filling in for Cora — and the rest of the Red Sox coaching staff pieced together a pitching performance in which five relievers were used, only one run was given up, and the final 11 outs were recorded by the Boston bullpen. Not too shabby.

Because of the impressive showing from the Sox’ pitching staff, the Red Sox lineup did not need to do much in terms of offensive firepower on Saturday.

Matched up against Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers, Bobby Dalbec got the scoring started for Boston with an RBI single in the bottom half of the second.

In the fourth, Kevin Plawecki doubled his side’s lead with another run-scoring that plated Hunter Renfroe from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Renfroe himself delivered with an RBI base hit later on in the bottom of the eighth off Miami reliever Adam Cimber, this time driving in Rafael Devers on his third knock of the day.

That put the Red Sox up 3-0, and 3-1 would go on to be Saturday’s final score from Fenway.

Next up: Alcantara vs. Rodriguez

Sunday’s starting pitching matchup between the 24-28 Marlins and 32-20 Red Sox will feature right-hander Sandy Alcantara getting the ball for Miami and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez doing the same for Boston.

First pitch Sunday (weather permitting) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time at Fenway Park. Red Sox will be looking to complete the sweep.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/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)

J.D. Martinez delivers in clutch as slugger’s 250th career homer lifts Red Sox to 8-7 victory over Blue Jays

The Red Sox will board their late-night flight to Philadelphia having gotten away with what feels like highway robbery following a drama-filled, come-from-behind 8-7 victory over the Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla. on Thursday.

Down to their final out in the ninth inning while trailing 7-6, J.D. Martinez crushed a go-ahead two-run home run to deep right-center field off Jays closer Rafael Dolis.

Martinez’s clutch two-run blast — the 250th homer of his major-league career — resulted in the Red Sox going from trailing by a run to leading by a run in what would ultimately go down as an 8-7 triumph.

With the win — which also secured a series victory over Toronto — Boston improves to 27-18 on the season and maintains a one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Early second-inning offense

Matched up against Blue Jays left-hander Steven Matz to begin things on Thursday, the Red Sox lineup got off to another fast start by pushing across a bevy of runs in their half of the second inning, all with two outs, to get out to an early lead.

After Xander Bogaerts struck out and Rafael Devers grounded out, Matz appeared to be on the verge of his second straight 1-2-3 inning. A Christian Vazquez single halted those plans, though, and Hunter Renfroe followed with a two-out single of his own.

Bobby Dalbec’s recent hot stretch continued when he brought in both Vazquez and Renfroe on a 349-foot three-run shot to right field that was good for his fifth home run of the season that also put the Red Sox up 3-2.

Michael Chavis ripped another extra-base hit, a double, and quickly came into score on an RBI single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Boston’s leadoff man and Alex Verdugo both scored moments later on a two-run single courtesy of Martinez.

In total, the Sox collected seven straight two-out hits off Matz in the second inning before Bogaerts drew a walk and Devers was called out on strikes.

Pivetta’s tough outing

Having yielded two runs to the Blue Jays in the first inning Thursday night, Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta was gifted a three-run lead as he came back out for his second frame of work.

Things did not get any easier for Pivetta, though, as the right-hander surrendered another run in the second. He did manage to settle in a bit by stringing together two consecutive scoreless innings, but more trouble arose in the fifth when the Jays tacked on two more runs on two hits and a Rafael Devers fielding error — the first of three Red Sox errors on the night.

Pivetta’s outing would come to a close after he recorded the final out of the fifth. The 28-year-old wound up being charged with five runs — four of which were earned — on seven hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts over five innings of work that saw his ERA on the season inflate to 3.59.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the bottom half of the sixth, and he could only record two outs. But not before giving up two runs — none of which were earned — on three hits, one walk, a fielding error committed by Hunter Renfroe, and a missed catch error committed by Michael Chavis that allowed the Blue Jays to take a 7-5 lead.

From there, Darwinzon Hernandez got the final out of the sixth and first two outs of the seventh inning before Phillips Valdez was dispatched to finish up the bottom of the seventh and toss a scoreless eighth inning, too.

Resilient Red Sox

Trailing by two runs at 7-5 going into the ninth inning, the Red Sox had no choice but to rely on the bottom of their lineup to ignite a late rally.

Dalbec and Chavis answered that call, as they led things off with back-to-back singles off Doilis as the lineup flipped back over.

Verdugo drove in Dalbec on an RBI groundout, which put Martinez in position to be the hero by mashing the game-winning, three-run home run.

The Red Sox now have 17 come-from-behind wins this season

Barnes rebounds and shuts the door on Toronto

Making his first relief appearance since blowing his first save of the season against the Angels on Sunday, Red Sox closer Matt Barnes bounced back by closing things out against the Blue Jays on Thursday.

The flame-throwing right-hander maneuvered his way around a two-out walk of Rowdy Tellez to otherwise punch out the side and preserve the 8-7 win for the Sox in the process of notching his 10th save of the year.

Next up: Perez vs. Nola

The Red Sox will arrive in Philadelphia early Friday morning and open up a three-game series against the 22-22 Phillies later that night at Citizens Bank Park.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while ace right-hander Aaron Nola is set to do the same for Philadelphia.

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

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Matt Barnes gives up two-run home run to Shohei Ohtani, blows first save of season as Red Sox fail to close out series against Angels in 6-5 loss

The Red Sox were one out away from securing a three-game sweep over the Angels at Fenway Park on Sunday, but fell short of doing so in heart-breaking fashion.

With two outs and the bases empty in the top of the ninth inning, Sox closer Matt Barnes got a struggling Mike Trout to hit a pop fly to right field for what looked to be the final out of the game.

Rather than fall into a Red Sox fielder’s glove, though, the 75.9 mph bloop found a patch of grass and landed between right fielder Marwin Gonzalez, center fielder Hunter Renfroe, and second baseman Michael Chavis, all of whom were playing Trout in a shift.

Representing the tying run in a 5-4 game, Trout’s single brought Shohei Ohtani to the plate, who proceeded to wrap a go-ahead, two-run home run around Pesky’s Pole in right field to give the Angels a 6-5 lead.

Barnes was charged with his first blown save of the season as the Red Sox would go on to fall to 25-17 on the year overall and 13-12 at home.

Plawecki, Devers lead comeback

Well before a drama-filled ninth inning, the Sox found themselves in a four-run hole early on against Los Angeles.

Matched up against veteran left-hander Jose Quintana, the bottom third of Boston’s lineup provided the first offensive jolt of the day when Jonathan Arauz drove in Marwin Gonzalez from second on an RBI double — and his first hit of the season — in the bottom of the third.

Fast forward to the fifth, and the bottom of the order took charge once more, this time with Kevin Plawecki clubbing his first home run of the season 389 feet over the Green Monster to cut the Halos’ lead to two runs.

Arauz and leadoff man Michael Chavis both singled with one out in between a pitching change that saw righy Aaron Slegers take over for Quintana, which set up Rafael Devers in a prime scoring spot.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Slegers — an 0-2, 93 mph fastball — Devers crushed it 400 feet to right field for his 11th big fly of the season. The three-run blast, which had an exit velocity of over 104 mph, put the Sox ahead by a run at 5-4.

Eovaldi allows four runs over five innings, Martinez notches outfield assist

The reason the Red Sox were trailing by four runs as early as they were was due in part to the struggles Nathan Eovaldi endured in his second inning of work Sunday.

After retiring the side rather easily in the first, the veteran right-hander plunked the first hitter he faced in the second in Anthony Rendon. That would prove to be costly for Eovaldi, as he wound up surrendering four runs on four hits and a walk in the frame.

Despite the early troubles, however, Eovaldi was able to settle in to the point where he sat down eight of the final 11 Angels he faced.

He did give up a two-out double to Jared Walsh in his final inning of work that very well could have scored Ohtani all the way from first, but J.D. Martinez prevented that from happening when he threw a dart from left field and Kevin Plawecki snuffed out the two-way phenom at home plate.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (63 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 51% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 99.3 mph with the pitch.

Hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA on the season to 4.50, the 31-year-old’s next start should come against the Phillies on Saturday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Eovaldi, Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the sixth inning. The right-hander tossed a scoreless frame, while left-hander Josh Taylor got the call for the seventh and put away the only three hitters he faced in order.

From there, Adam Ottavino issued a one-out single and walk in the top of the eighth before recording the second out and making way for Barnes.

Barnes escaped the inning and stranded both runners he inherited by getting Jose Iglesias to line out to right field. He then gave up that two-run homer to Ohtani in the ninth.

Next up: Off day, then six-game road trip

The Red Sox will enjoy an off day on Monday and head down to Dunedin, Fla. to open up a three-game series against the 22-17 Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is slated to get the start for Boston, and fellow southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Fenway Park: 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)