J.D. Martinez comes through with game-winning single as Red Sox come from behind to defeat Royals, 2-1

The Red Sox battled back for a series-opening win over the Royals on Friday night. Boston defeated Kansas City by a final score of 2-1 to improve to 70-74 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 20th start of the year for the Sox, pitched well yet again. The veteran right-hander allowed just one run on seven hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over seven strong innings of work.

That lone Royals run came in the top half of the sixth. After giving up a leadoff triple to M.J. Melendez that got over the head of Enrique Hernandez in center field, Wacha yielded a one-out, opposite field RBI single to Salvador Perez that pushed across the first run of the contest.

Wacha then got Vinnie Pasquantino to ground into an inning-ending 6-5-3 double play. Michael Taylor led off the seventh inning with a single, but Wacha retired the next three batters he faced to end his night on a solid note. The 31-year-old hurler finished with 88 pitches (65 strikes) and induced 10 swings-and-misses. He did not factor into Friday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA to 2.61.

In relief of Wacha, Garrett Whitlock received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean inning of work.

To that point in the contest, a Trevor Story-less Red Sox lineup had been held in check by the Royals pitching staff despite having their fair share of scoring opportunities.

In the fifth inning, for instance, Alex Verdugo and Triston Casas each drew a walk off Kansas City starter Jonathan Heasley while Christian Arroyo reached on a groundball single to fill the bases for Hernandez, who grounded into 6-4-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

Two innings later, J.D. Martinez and Casas drew a pair of two-out walks, bringing Arroyo to the plate to face off against Royals reliever Amir Garrett. With the potential tying run at second base, Arroyo fanned on four pitches to send things along to the eighth.

Following Whitlock’s scoreless frame, the Sox finally broke through in the latter half of the eighth. Hernandez led off by drawing a five-pitch walk off Dylan Coleman. Abraham Almonte, who was pinch-hitting for Kevin Plawecki, drew a free pass of his own to put runners at first and second.

After Tommy Pham popped out, Rafael Devers drew yet another walk off Scott Barlow to fill the bases. Xander Bogaerts struck out swinging, but Verdugo delivered by taking ball four to drive in the tying run (Hernandez) from third.

On the very next pitch from Barlow, Martinez dealt the finishing blow by ripping a game-winning RBI single through the left side of the infield to plate Almonte and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-1.

Taking a one-run lead into the ninth, Boston turned to Matt Strahm to close it out. The lefty issued a two-out walk to Michael Massey to put the tying run on base, but followed that up by getting Hunter Dozier to fly out to Hernandez in center.

Strahm picked up his fourth save of the season as the Red Sox put an end to their two-game losing streak. Whitlock earned the winning decision.

Next up: Hill vs. Singer

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Royals on Saturday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is expected to start for Boston while right-hander Brady Singer is in line to do the same for Kansas City.

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

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox commit 3 costly errors in 5-3 loss to Yankees

The Red Sox committed three errors and were swept by the Yankees on Wednesday night. Boston fell to New York by a final score of 5-3 at Fenway Park to drop to 69-74 on the season and 20-42 against American League East opponents.

Brayan Bello, making his eighth start of the year for the Sox, was the victim of poor defense behind him. The rookie right-hander immersed himself into the rivalry by allowing three unearned runs on six hits and just one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

All three of those runs came in the top of the fifth. Bello fanned Jose Trevino to begin the inning, but Aaron Hicks followed by reaching on a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts. Hicks moved up to second base on an Aaron Judge single before Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Gleyber Torres ripped a line drive to Alex Verdugo in right field. Verdugo attempted to gun down Hicks at home plate, but instead made an inaccurate throw that got past cutoff man Christian Arroyo and rolled to catcher Connor Wong.

As Hicks crossed the plate, Wong tried to get Torres caught in a rundown between first and second base. He instead made a poor throw that Arroyo had no chance of getting to and wound up in right field.

While Judge had already scored, Torres was on his horse and scored on a head-first slide to complete a Little League three-run home run that gave the Yankees a 3-0 plate.

Bello got through the rest of the fifth unscathed, but the damage had already been done. The 23-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 98 (59 strikes) and induced 14 swings-and-misses. He was the tough-luck loser on Wednesday, though he did lower his ERA on the season down to 5.10.

Shortly after Bello’s night came to an end, the Red Sox got one of those three runs back in their half of the fifth. Rob Refsnyder led off with a hard-hit single off Yankees starter Nestor Cortes. He then scored all the way from first on a two-out RBI double from Wong.

Trailing by two runs going into the sixth inning, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Zack Kelly out of the Boston bullpen. Kelly issued a leadoff walk to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who promptly stole second base and scored from second on an RBI double off the bat of Trevino.

Following shutdown innings from Kaleb Ort and Eduard Bazardo, the pinch-hitting Reese McGuire led off the bottom of the eighth with a groundball single off Jonathan Loaisiga. Tommy Pham followed with a single of his own to put runners at first and second for Verdugo.

Verdugo grounded into a force out at third base, but Bogaerts filled the bases by blooping a single to right field. Pham then scored from third on a Rafael Devers groundball that got through the legs of Yankees first baseman Marwin Gonzalez.

The bases were still loaded with one out for J.D. Martinez, who seemingly drove in Verdugo by beating out a 6-4-3 double play. New York challenged the ruling on the field, however, and it turns out Martinez’s left foot missed the first-bag completely. The call on the field was overturned, meaning the inning ended without Boston tacking on additional run.

Ryan Brasier allowed one unearned run in the ninth on an Abraham Almonte fielding error in center field. Almonte, who had pinch-hit for Refsnyder in the seventh, led off the bottom of the inning with a line-drive double. He moved up to third and then scored on an Enrique Hernandez groundout. McGuire struck out against Clay Holmes to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left six men on base as a team.

Next up: A weekend with the Royals

The Red Sox will have the day off on Thursday before welcoming the Royals into town for a three-game weekend series. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston in Friday’s opener while fellow righty Jonathan Heasley will take the mound for Kansas City.

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

(Picture of Connor Wong: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers crushes grand slam as Red Sox rack up season-high 21 hits in 17-4 romping of Orioles

The Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak on Saturday with a commanding win over the Orioles. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 17-4 to even the three-game series and improve to 68-72 on the season.

With Jordan Lyles on the mound for the O’s, the Sox did not waste any time in jumping out to an early lead. After Tommy Pham drew a leadoff walk, Alex Verdugo singled, and Xander Bogaerts was plunked by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs in the first inning for Rafael Devers.

Devers, who had not homered in his last 21 games, got ahead in the count at 2-0 and promptly cranked a 425-foot grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in deep left-center field. The 26th home run of the season for Devers had an exit velocity of 104.6 mph and put Boston up, 4-0.

Michael Wacha, making his 19th start of the season for the Sox, already had a four-run lead to work with when he took the mound for the first time on Saturday. The veteran right-hander put together yet another quality outing, allowing three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts over six innings.

The first of those three runs came in the bottom of the third, when Wacha served up a solo shot to Cedric Mullins. The Red Sox lineup, however, responded by putting up another four-spot in their half of the fourth.

After Enrique Hernandez and Kevin Plawecki traded places on back-to-back one-out doubles, Verdugo plated Plawecki on a line-drive single to right field. Verdugo moved up to second base on a Bogaerts single and then scored from there when Devers greeted new Orioles reliever Keegan Akin by ripping a run-scoring base hit to left-center field. Trevor Story capped the four-run inning off with another RBI single that drove in Bogaerts left his bat at 99.6 mph.

An inning later, J.D. Martinez led off with a softly-hit double and was immediately driven in when Christian Arroyo clubbed a two-run homer 396 feet over the left field wall for his sixth big fly of the year.

Wacha, meanwhile, ran into some more trouble in the bottom of the fifth. After Gunnar Henderson reached on a leadoff single and moved up to third on a Ramon Urias double, Wacha yielded a sacrifice fly to Jorge Mateo that scored Henderson. Urias, who advanced to third on the play, came into score on an RBI single from Mullins.

Though he was charged with both of those runs, Wacha stranded Mullins by punching out Adley Rutschman before retiring three of the final four batters he faced in the sixth. The 31-year-old hurler wound up throwing 82 pitches (60 strikes) while inducing a total of swings-and-misses. He picked up his 11th winning decision of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.69.

Following a scoreless seventh inning from Ryan Brasier, Boston tacked on additional run off Baltimore reliever Yennier Cano in the top of the eighth. Abraham Almonte led off with a single, marking his first hit in a Red Sox uniform. Almonte went from first to third on a two-out single from Devers and then came into score on a 100.7 mph base hit from Story.

Taking a sizable 11-3 lead into the latter half of the eighth, Matt Strahm took over for Brasier. The left-hander got the first two outs of the inning and was well on his way to getting his third, but Story misplayed a 197-foot flyball off the bat of the pinch-hitting Ryan McKenna and was charged with a fielding error. McKenna was able to take second as a result, and then scored from second on a Ryan Mountcastle RBI single.

In the top of the ninth, Almonte provided some late scoring with an RBI single that pushed across Hernandez from second base. Connor Wong, who came off the bench to pinch-hit for Devers, followed with an infield single that brought in Plawecki and kept the bases loaded for Story, who drew a four-pitch walk to plate Almonte.

That prompted an Orioles pitching change, as McKenna — the right fielder — took over for Cano. Martinez, Arroyo, and Hernandez kept the line moving by driving in three more runs before Plawecki grounded out to mercifully end the inning. Eduard Bazardo closed it out with a scoreless bottom of the ninth to secure a one-sided 17-4 victory.

All told, the Red Sox went 11-for-17 with runners in scoring position on Saturday while racking up a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 21 hits. Almonte, Verdugo, Story, Martinez, Arroyo, and Plawecki each had two hits. Devers went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Hernandez went 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Pham exits with left shin contusion

Tommy Pham exited Saturday’s game in the middle of the fourth inning because of a left knee shin contusion he sustained in the top of the first. He went 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored prior to getting pulled and is considered day-to-day. In his place, Abraham Almonte went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Next up: Hill vs. Bradish in rubber match

The Red Sox will look to close out a series win over the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will start the finale for Boston while right-hander Kyle Bradish will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo homers and Michael Wacha deals, but Red Sox blow late lead in 4-3 loss to Rays

The Red Sox saw their five-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Rays on Monday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field by a final score of 4-3 to drop to 67-69 on the season.

Alex Verdugo got the Sox on the board right away in the first inning. With one out and the bases empty, Verdugo clubbed a 368-foot solo shot to right field off Rays starter Luis Patino for his ninth home run of the year. It left his bat at a blistering 106.5 mph.

Michael Wacha, making his 18th start of the year for Boston, gave that run right back in the latter half of the first. Former Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot led off with a line-drive single. He then went from first to third on a David Peralta base hit and scored on a blooper of an RBI single from Harold Ramirez to tie things up at one run apiece.

That stalemate did not last long, though, as the Red Sox responded with two more runs in the third. With two outs and runners on first and second after Tommy Pham and Verdugo each drew a walk, Rafael Devers and Trevor Story went back-to-back on a pair of run-scoring hits. Devers advanced to third base on Story’s 22nd double of the year, but was stranded there after Triston Casas popped out to end the inning.

Wacha, meanwhile, settled in and spun three consecutive scoreless frames before running into some trouble in the fifth. After reaching base on a leadoff single, Jose Siri scored all the way from first on a 358-foot double off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

Franchy Cordero had been tracking that fly ball in left field, but he went down awkwardly after colliding with and getting his right cleat caught in the wall’s padding. Cordero remained on the ground in visible pain before manager Alex Cora and team trainers came out to check on him. Unable to put any weight on his right foot, Cordero was carted off and replaced in left field by Rob Refsnyder. He was later diagnosed with a right ankle sprain and will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

With Siri scoring on Arozarena’s double, Tampa Bay had cut the deficit down to one run at 3-2. But Wacha did not buckle and wound up retiring the final five batters he faced through the end of the sixth. The veteran right-hander gave up just the two runs on seven hits, zero walks, and seven strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

While Wacha did not factor into Monday’s decision, he did reach a personal milestone. By punching out Taylor Walls to end the sixth, the 31-year-old recorded the 1,000th strikeout of his major-league career.

In relief of Wacha, Jeurys Familia received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from Cora. With the likes of Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber unavailable after a busy weekend, Familia struggled in a high-leverage spot in the seventh.

After a questionable hit-by-pitch of the pinch-hitting Vidal Brujan, who stole second base and moved up to third on a groundout, Familia surrendered a game-tying double to Margot. He was then pulled in favor of Zack Kelly, who got the second out of the inning but could not escape before allowing the go-ahead run to score on a Peralta RBI double down the right field line.

Kelly bounced back by tossing a 1-2-3 eighth inning, giving the Red Sox a chance to tie it in the ninth. With two outs and Verdugo at second base representing the tying run, Xander Bogaerts got ahead in the count at 2-0 before striking out looking on a 99 mph heater at the bottom of the zone.

Despite coming up short there, Bogaerts made history by going 2-for-5, thus extending his multi-game hitting streak to nine consecutive games. He becomes the fourth player in Red Sox history to accomplish the feat, joining the likes of Kevin Youkilis (2009), Jim Rice (1978), and Roy Johnson (1934).

All told, the Red Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base as a team. With Monday’s loss, they are now 4-10 against the Rays this season and 18-37 against divisional opponents.

Next up: Hill vs. Rasmussen

The Red Sox will look to bounce back against the Rays on Tuesday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston while right-hander Drew Rasmussen will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Ehrmann/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)

Red Sox squander plethora of scoring opportunities, fall to Blue Jays, 6-5, in 10 innings

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays on Thursday night. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-5 in 10 innings at Fenway Park to drop to 60-65 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his 11th start of the year for the Sox, allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Two of those four runs came right away in the first inning. After giving up a one-out single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a two-out walk to Teoscar Hernandez, Crawford surrendered a scalding, 104.7 mph two-run double to Bo Bichette that gave the Jays an early 2-0 lead.

The Red Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the second. With Kevin Gausman on the mound for Toronto, Xander Bogaerts and Christian Arroyo led off with back-to-back singles. After Arroyo stole second base and Rob Refsnyder struck out, Reese McGuire got his productive night at the plate started with an RBI single that scored Bogaerts. Bobby Dalbec followed with a single of his own to drive in Arroyo and knot things up at two runs apiece.

In the third, Tommy Pham led off with a single and immediately went from first to home on a 106.7 mph RBI double off the bat of Rafael Devers. That gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2, though it did not last long.

Crawford got the first two outs of the fourth inning with the help of a double play. The rookie right-hander then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, which brought Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the plate in a prime spot. Guerrero Jr. proceeded to lift a pop fly into foul territory that could have ended the inning. But Dalbec, the first baseman, failed to make the tough catch, which further prolonged the inning.

Guerrero Jr. took full advantage of Dalbec’s blunder, as the young slugger promptly roped a two-run single to right field to put the Blue Jays back up by a run at 4-3. Again, the Sox responded in the latter half of the fourth. Following a pair of singles from Refsnyder and McGuire that put runners on the corners with no outs, Dalbec drove in Refsnyder on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Crawford came back out for the fifth and recorded the first two outs of the inning via strikeout. He then gave up a two-out double to Matt Chapman, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to hand things over to his bullpen. Crawford finished with a final pitch count of 85 (53 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced 11 swings-and-misses while averaging 94.6 mph with his four-seam fastball. His ERA on the season now sits at 5.30.

Matt Strahm was first used in relief of Crawford and officially closed the book on the righty’s night by punching out Raimel Tapia. The lefty then came back out for the sixth and served up a 388-foot solo shot to Danny Jansen that travelled over the Green Monster and put the Blue Jays back up, 5-4.

The Red Sox responded in their half of the sixth. After reaching base and taking second on a two-out throwing error, Dalbec moved up to third on a wild pitch from Blue Jays reliever Trevor Richards. Jarren Duran then plated him from third on an RBI double over the head of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left field.

Duran, however, was stranded at second base, which proved to be the ongoing theme for Boston on Thursday. After Jeurys Familia, who recorded the final two outs of the sixth, struck out the side in the top of the seventh, the Sox had two runners in scoring position with two outs in the bottom half. Franchy Cordero was deployed to pinch-hit for Refsnyder, but he fell victim to Anthony Bass to extinguish the threat and keep things knotted up at 5-5.

Following a scoreless top half of the eighth from Hirokazu Sawamura, McGuire led off the bottom half with his first career triple, which was misplayed by Hernandez in right field. Enrique Hernandez, who came on to run for McGuire, was then stranded at third base, as Adam Cimber punched out Dalbec and Pham and Tim Mayza got Devers got Devers to ground out to first.

More frustration arose in the ninth. After getting another scoreless frame from Matt Barnes, J.D. Martinez led the inning off with a hard-hit single off Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano. Alex Verdugo took over for Martinez and went from first to third on a sharply-hit double from Bogaerts.

With no outs and runners at second and third, the Red Sox were just one hit away from winning this. Toronto elected to intentionally walk Arroyo, which filled the bases for Cordero. Romero, like Bass, fanned Cordero, bringing Hernandez to the plate for the first time. Hernandez proceeded to ground into a back-breaking inning-ending 5-3 double play, sending this one into extras.

John Schreiber allowed the automatic runner at second base — in this case, Cavan Biggio — to advance to third on a Jansen groundout. He then got Springer to hit a soft groundball in the direction of Bogaerts. Bogaerts fielded the ball cleanly, but made an off-balance throw to Kevin Plawecki at home plate.

Biggio beat Plawecki’s tag to give the Blue Jays a 6-5 lead. Romano then picked up where he left off by retiring Dalbec, Duran, and Plawecki, in the bottom half of the 10th to send the Red Sox home losers. All told, they went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position while leaving 12 runners on base as a team.

With the loss, Boston has extended its losing streak to four straight. It is now 3-13 against Toronto this season and 16-35 against divisional opponents.

Next up: Wacha vs. Chargois

Speaking of divisional opponents, the Red Sox will now welcome the Rays into town for a three-game weekend series. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston while fellow righty J.T. Chargois is expected to serve as an opener for Tampa Bay.

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

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández homers, Michael Wacha tosses 5 2/3 scoreless innings as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Orioles

The Red Sox held on for a one-run over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Saturday afternoon. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 4-3 to improve to 60-61 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 15th start of the season for the Sox, kept the O’s off the scoreboard while scattering four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 strong innings of work.

There were not too many dramatic moments to be had for Wacha, who retired 11 of the first 14 batters he faced leading into the top half of the fifth inning. To that point in the contest, the Boston bats had been held in check by Baltimore starter Kyle Bradish.

Kevin Plawecki reached base via a one-out single. Christian Arroyo followed with a base hit of his own to put runners on the corners for Alex Verdugo, who promptly roped another single to right field to drive in Plawecki.

An inning later, J.D. Martinez led off against Bradish with a sharply-hit single. After Bobby Dalbec struck out for the first out of the sixth, Enrique Hernandez came through by depositing a 373-foot two-run home run down the left field line.

Hernandez’s fifth home run of the season was the first from any Red Sox hitter since last Sunday. It also gave Boston a 3-0 lead. Wacha, meanwhile, continued to impress before giving up a one-out single to Austin Hays and issuing a two-out walk to Anthony Santander in the bottom of the sixth.

At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to turn to his bullpen. John Schreiber came on in relief of Wacha and officially closed the book on the righty’s outing by stranding both of the runners he inherited with a three-pitch strikeout of Ryan Mountcastle.

Wacha finished with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), inducing seven total swings-and-misses while mixing a four-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, sinker, and curveball. The 31-year-old hurler improved to 8-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.28. He has yet to allow a run since returning from the injured list on August 14.

Schreiber came back out for the seventh and immediately surrendered a leadoff single to Ramon Urias. Jorge Mateo followed with another single to right field, but Jarren Duran made a poor throw back to the infield and missed the cutoff man, which allowed both runners to advance an additional 90 feet.

With runners at second and third for the Orioles now, the pinch-hitting Kyle Stowers plated Urias on a groundout to second base. Mateo then scored on a two-out wild pitch to trim Boston’s advantage down to one run at 3-2.

After Garrett Whitlock worked his way around a one-out single in a scoreless eighth inning, Duran was able to redeem himself in the ninth by reaching on a one-out bunt single off Bryan Baker. With the hit-and-run on, Duran went from first to third on a Plawecki single. He then scored from third on Arroyo’s third hit of the day — an 86.7 mph double to left field.

Arroyo’s RBI double would prove to be an important moment in this game. That being the case because Whitlock yielded a one-out triple to Mateo in the bottom of the ninth. Mateo scored on another Stowers groundout, but Whitlock held it down by getting Rougned Odor to line out to center field to end it.

Whitlock picked up his fifth save of the season while the Red Sox secured a 4-3 victory. Arroyo led the way offensively with three hits while Verdugo, Martinez, and Plawecki all enjoyed two-hit games.

Next up: 2022 Little League Classic on deck

The Red Sox and Orioles will wrap up this three-game weekend series in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday night. In the fifth annual MLB Little League Classic, right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston while fellow righty Dean Kremer will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Greg Flume/Getty Images)

Michael Wacha tosses 7 scoreless innings in first start since June 28 as Red Sox blank Yankees, 3-0, to earn series victory

The Red Sox won their second straight series against an American League East opponent with a shutout victory over the Yankees on Sunday night. Boston defeated New York by a final score of 3-0 to improve to 57-59 on the season.

Matched up against Jameson Taillon out of the gate, leadoff man Tommy Pham set the tone right away in the first inning. Pham led off by ripping a line-drive double to left-center field. He moved up to third base on a Rafael Devers groundout and scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Michael Wacha took over from there. Making his first start since June 28 after being activated from the 15-day injured list earlier in the afternoon, Wacha showed no signs of rust in his return to the mound. The veteran right-hander kept the Yankees off the scoreboard while scattering two hits and one walk to go along with a season-high nine strikeouts over seven strong innings of work.

After retiring the first 14 batters he faced, Wacha saw his bid for a perfect game come to an end when he gave up a softly-hit two-out single to Miguel Andujar. He then issued his first and only walk of the evening to Isiah Kiner-Filefa before getting Kyle Higashioka to ground out to Devers at third base.

Wacha yielded a one-out single to Andrew Benintendi in the sixth but left him there by fanning Aaron Judge and Josh Donaldson. He ended his night by punching out two more in a scoreless top of the seventh.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (59 strikes), Wacha threw 36 four-seam fastballs, 21 changeups, 19 cutters, eight curveballs, and five sinkers. The 31-year-old hurler induced a game-high 10 swings-and-misses with his changeup and also averaged 93.8 mph with his four-seamer. He picked up his seventh win and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.44.

Moments before Wacha recorded the final out of the seventh, Devers broke out in the latter half of the sixth. After Pham led the inning off with another single, Devers promptly clubbed a 433-foot two-run home run to deep right field off Taillon.

Devers’ 25th homer of the season left his bat at a blistering 110.4 mph. It also gave the Red Sox some breathing room in the form of a 3-0 lead.

In relief of Wacha, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Brasier made quick work of the Yankees in the eighth to pave the way for Garrett Whitlock, who did the same in the ninth to secure the victory and his fourth save of the year.

All told, three Boston pitchers (Wacha, Brasier, and Whitlock) combined to toss nine scoreless innings in which they only gave up two hits and one walk while striking out 11.

Offensively, Pham went 3 for 4 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot while Devers went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Both of Devers’ hits left his bat at more than 110 mph. They were the two hardest-hits of the game, per Baseball Savant.

Also of note, Sunday’s contest took all of two hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Next up: On to Pittsburgh

The Red Sox will enjoy an off day on Monday before traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates on the road for the first time since September 2014. Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener while fellow right-hander Mitch Keller is expected to do the same for Pittsburgh.

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

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)