Nathan Eovaldi gives up 5 home runs in single inning as Red Sox get blown out by Astros, 13-4

The Red Sox fell behind early and could never recover against the Astros on a breezy Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Boston fell to Houston by a final score of 13-4 to drop to 14-22 on the season.

Matched up against Jose Urquidy to start things out, the Sox got off to a quick start thanks to Rafael Devers. With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Devers extended his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games by crushing a one-out home run 108.7 mph to center field. Moments later, J.D. Martinez extended his own hitting streak to 18 straight games with a single.

After needing just five pitches to retire the side in the top half of the first, Nathan Eovaldi took the mound in the second inning with a 1-0 lead to work with. Despite those two things working in his favor, the right-hander did not make it out of the second.

Instead, Eovaldi served up a leadoff homer to Yordan Alvarez that saw that one-run lead disappear. Yuli Gurriel then reached base on a missed catch error and Kyle Tucker capitalized on Boston’s mistake by mashing a two-run home run over Houston’s bullpen. Jeremy Pena, who played his college ball at the University of Maine, followed with a solo blast to left-center.

So the Astros had plated four runs without recording an out in the second. Eovaldi got that elusive first out, but then ran into more trouble by giving up back-to-back one-out hits to Martin Maldonado and Jose Altuve. Michael Brantley capitalized on the opportunity in front of him by cranking a three-run home run to right field. Houston batted around in the inning as Alvarez singled with two outs and Gurriel ended Eovaldi’s night with a 381-foot two-run blast.

Eovaldi’s eighth start of the season was also his shortest. The 32-year-old allowed nine runs — six of which were earned — on eight hits, no walks, and no strikeouts over just 1 2/3 innings of work. He also became the first Red Sox pitcher to ever give up as many as five home runs in a single inning, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne.

Tyler Danish took over for Eovaldi and ended things in the second. An inning later, Devers stayed hot by ripping a leadoff double to left field. Martinez followed — and also stayed hot — by hitting his fifth big fly of the season. A 401-foot two-run shot trimmed the Sox’ deficit down to six runs at 9-3.

Danish, meanwhile, had gotten through a scoreless third inning before loading the bases with one out in the fourth. The reliever then yielded a 386-foot grand slam to Kyle Tucker that put the Astros back up by 10 runs.

Following a perfect top half of the fifth from Hirokazu Sawamura, Boston got one of those runs back in the latter half when Trevor Story scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Kevin Plawecki.

Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, and Jake Diekman worked one shutout frame each, as did Austin Davis.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Alex Verdugo, Story, Franchy Cordero, and Plawecki went down in order against Blake Taylor to seal a 13-4 defeat for the Red Sox.

Boston went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday and left 13 runners on base as a team. Despite those situational struggles, Devers and Martinez combined for six hits as they each finished a triple shy of the cycle. Verdugo and Story also had four hits between them.

Next up: Garcia vs. Pivetta

The Red Sox will look to bounce back as they go for the series win over the Astros on Wednesday. Boston will turn to right-hander Nick Pivetta while Houston will roll with fellow righty Luis Garcia in the series finale.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts come through with late homers as Red Sox defeat Astros, 6-3

Right before the clock struck midnight on Monday, the Red Sox put the finishing touches on a series-opening win over the Astros at Fenway Park. It took nearly five hours to do so because of the weather, but Boston defeated Houston by a final score of 6-3 to improve to 14-21 on the season.

Matched up against veteran starter Jake Odorizzi to begin things on Monday, the Sox did not register their first hit of the night until the fourth inning, when Enrique Hernandez led off with a line-drive single. J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to 17 straight games and advanced Hernandez up to second base before Xander Bogaerts drew a five-pitch walk to fill the bases with one out.

Alex Verdugo followed by lifting a 235-foot fly ball to center field that was just out of the reach of sprawling Chas McCormick and brought in Hernandez from third to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. Martinez was thrown out at third on the play and Trevor Story popped out to end the inning.

To that point in the contest, Garrett Whitlock had gotten through his fifth start of the season without yet giving up a run. The right-hander’s fortunes changed in the fifth, though, as he served up a solo homer to McCormick that pulled the Astros back even with the Sox at 1-1.

Shortly after that happened, Franchy Cordero led off the latter half of the fifth by showing off his power and speed on a 104.3 mph double off the Green Monster. Cordero then moved up to third on a Jackie Bradley Jr. groundout and scored on a pitch that got past Astros catcher Jason Castro.

Odorizzi was able to limit the damage to one run in the fifth, but in the process of getting Hernandez to ground out to first for the final out, suffered a serious injury while running off the mound. He fell to the ground and was ultimately taken off the field. The Astros described Odorizzi’s injury as lower left leg discomfort.

Whitlock came back out in the sixth but immediately gave up a leadoff ground-rule double to Michael Brantley that was followed by a four-pitch walk of Alex Bregman. He was then given the hook by Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of Jake Diekman, who walked the first batter he faced before yielding a game-tying sacrifice fly to Yuli Gurriel.

John Schreiber was called upon to finish the inning, and he officially closed the book on Whitlock’s outing by striking out McCormick on eight pitches to keep the 2-2 stalemate intact.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 80 (52 strikes) Whitlock wound up allowing a total of two earned run on three hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts over five-plus innings of work. The 25-year-old’s ERA on the season now sits at 2.43.

As soon as Schreiber recorded the final out of the sixth, the skies above Fenway began to open and the rain started to pour. A rain delay that lasted 98 minutes started and the game did not resume until approximately 10:45 p.m.

Matt Barnes was dispatched for the seventh inning and only saw his struggles continue by giving up a leadoff double to Castro. A sacrifice bunt allowed Castro to advance to third and Jose Altuve drove him in by ripping an RBI single back up the middle. Barnes faced just three batters and was replaced by Matt Strahm, who proved to be far more effective. The left-hander worked his way around a hit batsman by striking out two in the seventh, then worked his way around a two-out double in an otherwise clean eighth inning.

Moments before the eighth inning began, though, Trevor Story came through in the clutch to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Matched up against Astros reliever Phil Maton, Story crushed a solo home run 428 feet over the Green Monster.

Story’s first Fenway Park homer as a member of the Red Sox had an exit velocity of 106.7 mph. It also knotted things back up at three runs a piece. This tie, however, did not last too long.

On the heels of what Strahm did in the top of the eighth, Hernandez led off the bottom half against Hector Neris with a double to left field that was deflected by Bregman. Martinez plated him with the go-ahead double while also putting a runner in scoring position with one out for Bogaerts.

As the fans who remained at Fenway started a “Re-sign Xander!” chant, Bogaerts heard them and delivered with a clutch, two-run blast over the Monster to give Boston a commanding 6-3 advantage. Bogaerts’ third big fly of the year left the shortstop’s bat at 103.7 mph and traveled 397 feet.

With a three-run lead to protect now, Hansel Robles got the call for the ninth inning. He yielded a leadoff single to Mauricio Dubon, but negated it by getting Altuve to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Robles then got Brantley to fly out to left to slam the door on the Astros and pick up his second save of the year.

Next up: Urquidy vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox will send right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound as they go for a series victory on Tuesday night. The Astros will counter with fellow righty Jose Urquidy.

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

(Picture of Trevor Story: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story’s first home run of season goes for naught as Red Sox blow another lead and get walked off on by Braves in 5-3 loss

The Red Sox had to settle for a series split with the Braves on Wednesday night after getting walked off on in the ninth inning. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 5-3 in what was their fifth walk-off loss of the season. Their record is now 11-20.

Matched up against Braves starter Ian Anderson out of the gate, the Sox got off to a quick start beginning in their half of the second inning. Following a one-out double off the bat of Alex Verdugo, Trevor Story came through with his highly-anticipated first home run of the season.

Story took a 1-1, 88 mph changeup that was down and in and proceeded to crush it 422 feet to dead center field. The second baseman’s first homer in a Red Sox uniform left his bat at 105.8 mph and give his team an early 2-0 lead.

An inning later, Rafael Devers kept the top of the third alive with a hard-hit double to right field. He immediately scored from second base on a J.D. Martinez RBI single that increased Boston’s advantage to 3-0.

Nathan Eovaldi, meanwhile, was in the midst of his seventh start of the season for the Sox. The right-hander wound up allowing three runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work.

After getting through the first two innings rather smoothly, Eovaldi ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third when he gave up his first hit of the night — a one-out single to Orlando Arcia. On his very next pitch, Eovaldi was taken 415 feet deep to left field by Travis Demeritte.

Demeritte’s two-run blast cut Atlanta’s deficit down to one run at 3-2. Dansby Swanson then drew a seven-pitch walk off Eovaldi, stole second base, and scored from second on a blistering, game-tying 106.5 mph RBI double from Georgia native Matt Olson.

Eovaldi did manage to strand Olson in scoring position, though, and then retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced before yielding a one-out single to Arcia in the seventh, which is how is outing would come to a close. Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (68 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler induced a total of 18 swings-and-misses while topping out at 99.1 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball.

Shortly before Eovaldi’s night ended, a Red Sox lineup that had been held in check by Anderson since the third inning had a real chance to break out in the sixth. Martinez led off with a single and Verdugo put runners on first and second with a one-out walk. Following an Atlanta pitching change that saw old friend Collin McHugh take over for Anderson, Franchy Cordero loaded the bases for Kevin Plawecki by drawing a two-out walk.

Plawecki worked a 3-2 count against McHugh and was prepared to take the bases-loaded walk by taking an 89.3 mph cutter that was well below the strike zone. Rather than call ball four, however, home plate umpire Adam Beck rung Plawecki up. Plawecki spiked his helmet and was understandably furious, as was Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Both were ejected from the game and Christian Vazquez took over behind home plate.

Picking it back up with one out in the bottom of the seventh, acting manager Will Venable gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who struck out both Demeritte and Dansby Swanson to end the seventh before recording the first out of the eighth as well. John Schreiber then took over for Strahm and got through the rest of the frame unscathed.

Ryan Brasier was responsible for sending this one into extras as he got the call for the ninth. He gave up a leadoff single to Ozzie Albies, got the first out of the inning, but then served up a game-winning, walk-off homer to Arcia.

Arcia’s two-run shot sent the Braves home happy with a 5-3 win. It sent the Red Sox back on the road with a sour taste in their mouths.

Next up: Off day with Rangers on deck

The Red Sox will enjoy their second off day of the week on Thursday before opening up a three-game weekend series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday night.

Boston will send right-hander Nick Pivetta to the mound on Friday. Texas has yet to name a starter.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi grinds through 5 innings, but Red Sox held to just 6 hits in 4-2 loss to White Sox

The Red Sox saw their losing streak grow to three consecutive games on Friday following a 3-1 to the White Sox at Fenway Park. Boston drops to 10-17 on the season and now find themselves squarely in the basement of the American League East.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his sixth start of the year, surrendered three earned runs on six hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts over five innings of work. It was truly a grind for the right-hander, who saw all three runs scored off him come in the third inning.

After giving up back-to-back singles that put runners on the corners with no outs, Jose Abreu lifted a sacrifice fly off Eovaldi that brought in Tim Anderson from third base to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. The very next batter, Luis Robert, crushed a two-run home run 389 feet over the Green Monster to make it a 3-0 game.

Eovaldi escaped the third while evading any further damage, but had done so while seeing his pitch count rise to 72. He then worked his way around a leadoff single in the fourth before retiring six of the final seven White Sox hitters he faced through the middle of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (65 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Friday. The 32-year-old hurler induced four swings-and-misses with the pitch and hovered around 93 to 99 mph with the pitch. His ERA on the season now sits at 2.94.

To that point in the contest, a Red Sox lineup that featured Jarren Duran for the first time this year had been stymied by White Sox starter Vince Velasquez. In the bottom of the fifth, though, Alex Verdugo broke out of an 0-for-12 skid with a leadoff double and scored from second on an RBI double off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley Jr.’s eight double of the season got the Sox on the board to cut the deficit to 3-1. A Kevin Plawecki groundout allowed Bradley Jr. to advance to third and Duran getting plunked by a pitch put runners on the corners for Trevor Story. Story, in turn, was rung up by first base umpire Carlos Torres on a questionable check swing call that nonetheless extinguished the threat.

In relief of Eovaldi, Austin Davis got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander recorded the first two outs of the sixth before making way for the recently called-up John Schreiber, who ended things in the sixth and also sat down the side in 1-2-3 fashion in the seventh.

Ryan Brasier, on the other hand, was responsible for the eighth inning and immediately gave up a leadoff single to Adam Engel. Engel promptly stole second base, moved up to third on a lineout, and scored an important insurance run on a Reese McGuire sacrifice fly to give his side the 4-1 advantage.

To lead off the bottom of the eighth, Duran was able to put his elite speed on display by tripling on an 80.4 mph fly ball to right field that got past Adam Engel. The speedster then came into score on a Story RBI groundout that brought the Red Sox back to within two runs of the White Sox at 4-2.

Rafael Devers followed with a groundball single that brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Xander Bogaerts, who fanned on five pitches and thus left it up to J.D. Martinez. Previously 0-for-3 on the night, Martinez beat out an infield single to third base to keep the inning alive for Verdugo, who softly grounded out to Kendall Graveman.

Matt Barnes took the mound for the top of the ninth and managed to work his way around a leadoff walk of of A.J. Pollock when Bradley Jr. gunned down Barnes at home plate to complete a well-executed 9-1 double play. Barnes then struck out Robert on five pitches to hold the White Sox at four runs.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth and matched up against vaunted White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, Franchy Cordero came off the bench for the Red Sox in place of Bobby Dalbec and struck out looking. Shortly thereafter, Bradley Jr. fanned himself before Christian Vazquez, who was pinch-hitting for Plawecki, drew a walk to once again bring the tying run to the plate as the lineup flipped back over.

With a chance to come through in the clutch, Duran got ahead in the count at 2-0 but struck out swinging to seal another Red Sox defeat. Durant went 1-for-4 with one run scored and one strikeout in his 2022 debut.

As a team on Friday, Boston went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left a total of eight runners on base.

Next up: Cease vs. Pivetta

The Red Sox will send right-hander Nick Pivetta to the mound in the middle game of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon. The White Sox will counter with fellow righty Dylan Cease.

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

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox spoil Nathan Eovaldi’s superb start in 2-1 walk-off loss to Orioles

The Red Sox fell to the Orioles by a final score of 2-1 in 10 innings at Camden Yards 0n Saturday night. With the walk-off loss, Boston drops to 9-13 on the season and 3-6 on their current road trip.

Matched up against O’s starter Spenser Watkins to begin things on Saturday, a J.D. Martinez-less Sox lineup got off to a quick start. Trevor Story led off the first inning with a ground-rule double on the very first pitch he saw and later scored on an RBI single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

That sequence gave Boston an early 1-0 lead before Nathan Eovaldi could even take the mound. Eovaldi, making his fifth start of the year, allowed just three hits and no walks to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work.

The right-hander took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning before yielding a two-out double to Cedric Mullins. He then stranded Mullins in scoring position before putting and leaving two runners on base to get out of a jam in his seventh and final frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (67 strikes), Eovaldi threw 38 four-seam fastballs, 21 splitters, 17 curveballs, 15 sliders, and four cutters. The 32-year-old hurler topped out at 98.6 mph with his heater and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.51 but did not factor into Saturday’s decision.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes received the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. Given a one-run lead to protect, Barnes surrendered another two-out double to Mullins that was just out of Alex Verdugo’s reach in left field. The speedy Baltimore outfielder then scored from second on an Anthony Santander RBI single that knotted things up at 1-1 as Barnes was charged with the blown save.

In the ninth, the bottom third of the Red Sox lineup went down quietly against Jorge Lopez before Ryan Brasier did the same to the Orioles in the bottom half of the inning to send things to the 10th.

Even with an automatic runner in scoring position in, an anemic Boston offense failed to push across the potential go-ahead run in Jaylin Davis in their half of the 10th, setting up Baltimore to walk it off in their half of the inning.

With Hirokazu Sawamura on the mound for the Sox and Jorge Mateo at second base for the Orioles, Ryan McKenna was intentionally walked to set up the double play possibility. The next batter, Robinson Chirinos, proceeded to drop down a bunt that Sawamura fielded cleanly. Sawamura opted to get the force out at third base, but he instead threw the ball way over Rafael Devers’ head, which allowed Mateo to easily score the game-winning run.

All told, the Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Lyles in rubber match

Having finished the month of April four games under .500, the Red Sox will look to flip the calendar and start anew in Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles. To kick off the month of May, right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jordan Lyles will do the same for Baltimore.

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

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo homers, Rich Hill takes perfect game into fifth inning as Red Sox hold on for 3-1 win over Orioles

The Red Sox kicked off the final leg of their road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night. With the win, Boston improved to 9-12 on the season.

Matched up against Kyle Bradish, who was making the first start of his big-league career for the O’s, to begin things on Friday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the second inning.

Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the second with a single to shallow center field. After Franchy Cordero flew out, Christian Arroyo followed by clubbing a 408-foot two-run homer into Baltimore’s bullpen.

Arroyo’s first home run of the season gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. It was also the first home run hit by a Red Sox batter since Rafael Devers went deep off Corey Kluber in St. Petersburg last Friday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. kept the rally going by reaching base on an infield single. He then scored all the way from first when Christian Vazquez ripped a single to right field that got past Trey Mancini and rolled all the way to the wall. Vazquez was easily thrown out at third, but the damage had already been done.

Rich Hill, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, took full advantage of the three-run cushion he was given. The veteran left-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with four strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.

After retiring each of the first 12 batters he faced, Hill took a perfect game bid into the fifth inning but yielded a leadoff single to Austin Hays, which is how his night would come to an end. Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (35 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 24 curveballs, 20 four-seamers, four sliders, and two changeups while lowering his ERA on the season to 3.71.

In relief of Hill, Tanner Houck got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen. Houck, fresh off being activated from the injured list, stranded the lone base runner he inherited in the fifth despite allowing one hit and one walk in the inning. The right-hander sat down the side in order in the sixth but ran into additional trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with two outs.

Houck did not falter, though, as he punched out the pinch-hitting Rougned on three straight strikes to escape the jam and hand things over to Jake Diekman in the eighth. Diekman, in turn, needed 17 pitches to toss a scoreless frame.

Hansel Robles was dispatched for the ninth and immediately served up a solo home run to Ryan Mountcastle that was followed by a line-drive single off the bat of Hays.

With the tying run at the plate, Robles issued a balk that allowed Hays to advance to second. He then got Ramon Urias to fly out and Tyler Nevin to line out to right for the first two outs.

Cora went back into the bullpen and gave Robles the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who walked Anthony Santander on five pitches to put the tying run on base with runners at first and second. The lefty, however, did not give in as he fanned the pinch-hitting Chris Owings to slam the door on Baltimore and earn the first save of his major-league career.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Watkins

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Orioles by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Saturday night. Fellow righty Spenser Watkins will get the ball for Baltimore.

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

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ offensive woes continue as Bo Bichette’s go-ahead grand slam lifts Blue Jays to 6-2 win

The Red Sox’ offensive struggles continued on Monday as they opened their four-game series against the Blue Jays with yet another loss. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-2 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-10 on the season.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, was extremely effective and did not factor into Monday’s decision. The veteran right-hander allowed just two earned run on five hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over seven economic innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered to Toronto came by way of the long ball. After tossing four scoreless frames to start his day, the righty served up a 380-foot solo shot to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

In his seventh and final inning, Eovaldi yielded another solo homer to Matt Chapman. This one left Chapman’s bat at 107.2 mph, traveled 422 feet to left-center field, and gave the Jays a 2-0 lead.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (56 strikes), Eovaldi induced a total of 10 swings-and-misses while throwing 29 four-seam fastballs, 22 curveballs, 12 sliders, six splitters, and three cutters. The hard-throwing 32-year-old also topped out at 98.8 mph with his heater.

Shortly after Eovaldi’s night had ended, a Trevor Story-lessRed Sox lineup finally got something going against his counterpart in Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios. Up until the eighth inning, Boston had been held in check by Berrios despite having a few scoring opportunities.

Earlier in the second inning, J.D. Martinez made his presence felt after a four-game absence by ripping a one-out double to center field. A four-pitch walk drawn by Jackie Bradley Jr. and line-drive single from Bobby Dalbec then loaded the bases for Christian Arroyo.

Arroyo, however, was unable to come through with a pair of runners in scoring position as he grounded into a back-breaking, 1-2-3 double play that extinguished the threat.

In the top of the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led off with a hard-hit single of his own and moved up to second on a Rafael Devers groundout. But he left on base after Martinez and Bradley Jr. both flew out themselves.

An inning later, Blue Jays center fielder George Springer robbed Kevin Plawecki of a two-out extra-base hit when he sprawled out and made a sensational diving catch on a 101.7 mph liner off the bat of the Red Sox catcher.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, and the Sox ultimately chased Berrios on back-to-back singles from Dalbec and Arroyo to lead off the inning. With Adam Cimber now on the mound for Toronto, Plawecki advanced both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt.

With the lineup turning back over, Enrique Hernandez broke the seal with an RBI single to left field that brought in Dalbec. Alex Verdugo followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Arroyo and knotted things up at two runs apiece.

That 2-2 tie did not last long, though. With Eovaldi done after seven, Matt Strahm got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable in the middle of the eighth.

Strahm got the first out of the frame but issued a one-out single to Raynel Espinal. Bradley Zimmer then dropped a drag bunt down the first base line that Strahm fielded cleanly and flipped to Dalbec covering first base. Dalbec could not squeeze the ball into his glove, though, and that allowed both runners to reach base safely.

That sequence prompted Venable to give Strahm the hook in favor of Tyler Danish, who gave up a single to Springer that loaded the bases for Bichette. Bichette, in turn, crushed a 1-0, 92 mph sinker from Danish and sent it 344 feet over the right field wall for the go-ahead grand slam.

Bichette’s slam gave the Blue Jays a commanding 6-2 lead heading into the ninth. Devers doubled to lead off the inning but was stranded there as Martinez, Bradley Jr., and Dalbec went down in order to Julian Merryweather to seal the defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

Nathan Eovaldi gave up 15 home runs in 182 2/3 innings last season. He has already given up seven home runs in just 21 2/3 innings this season.

The Red Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left five runners on base as a team.

At 7-10, Boston has now lost five of its last six games. They are averaging less than 2.2 runs per game and have been outscored 26-13 during this rough stretch.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Gausman

It does not get any easier for the Red Sox as they will go up against Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman on Tuesday night. Boston will counter with Canadian-born righty Nick Pivetta.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bo Bichette: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Red Sox score early, but not often in 5-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox dropped the finale of their three-game weekend series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday. Boston fell to Tampa Bay in the rubber match by a final score of 5-2, marking their fourth loss in their last five games to drop to 7-9 on the season.

Both runs the Sox scored on Sunday came right away in the first inning off Rays starter Shane McClanahan. Trevor Story led off with a hard-hit double and immediately scored on a groundball single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Xander Bogaerts advanced Hernandez into scoring position and Alex Verdugo brought him in on an RBI single of his own.

So, on nine pitches, the Red Sox found themselves in possession of an early 2-0 lead to give Rich Hill a nice cushion out of the gate. Hill, making his third start of the year and first since returning to the bereavement list, managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard while scattering four hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

Rob Refsnyder, starting in right field, aided Hill in the second inning when he gunned down Randy Arozarena, who was trying to stretch a two-out single into a two-out double, at second base for the final out of the frame.

Hill finished his day retiring five of the final eight batters he faced. 35 of the 62 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes.

Before first pitch on Sunday, it was expected that Tanner Houck would piggyback off of Hill since Boston cannot use the right-hander during their series in Toronto. Rather than have Houck take the mound in the fifth, however, acting manager Will Venable first turned to Phillips Valdez out of the bullpen.

Valdez, in turn, recorded just one out while loading the bases on one walk and two hit batsman. Ryan Brasier then came on and allowed all three of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run double from Ji-Man Choi and RBI groundout from Manuel Margot that gave Tampa Bay their first lead of the day at 3-2.

Matt Barnes got the call for the sixth inning and yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Arozarena. Kiermaier, the hero of Saturday’s contest, moved up to third on a Wander Franco groundout. Following a pitching change that saw Jake Diekman take over for Barnes, the speedy outfielder scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-2 game.

Diekman remained in the game in the seventh and served up a solo home run to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays a 5-2 edge. It was not until later in the inning when Houck finally emerged and sat down the only five hitters he faced in order to keep the three-run deficit intact at the end of eight.

Down to their final three outs of the ninth, Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, and Travis Shaw went down in order against Ryan Thompson to seal a 5-2 defeat for the Red Sox.

Next up: On to Toronto

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto while leaving unvaccinated players such as Houck behind to open a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night.

In the opener, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jose Berrios doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centere is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Connor Wong comes through with game-winning sacrifice fly as Red Sox hold on for 2-1 victory over Blue Jays

Three hits was all the Red Sox needed to take care of business against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. In their first home game under the lights, Boston squeaked out a 2-1 victory over Toronto to improve to 6-5 on the year.

It was a grind for Nathan Eovaldi, who made his third start of the season for the Sox on Tuesday. The veteran right-hander allowed just one run on seven hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

The lone run Eovaldi surrendered once again came by way of the home run ball. To lead off the top of the second, the righty served up a solo shot to Zack Collins that gave the Jays an early 1-0 lead. That is already the fifth homer Eovaldi has surrendered in 2022.

The Red Sox, however, did not take long to respond. While still matched up against Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi, Enrique Hernandez reached base via a one-out double in the third and immediately came into score on a game-tying, RBI double off the bat of Trevor Story.

With things knotted up at one run apiece, Eovaldi maneuvered his way around a pair of hits in the fourth inning and retired two of the first three batters he faced in the fifth. With the potential go-ahead run at first and Collins due to hit for Toronto, Boston manager Alex Cora gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Matt Strahm.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (61 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound on Tuesday. The 32-year-old hurler hovered around 96.4 mph with the pitch while also inducing a game-high four swings-and-misses with his curveball.

In relief of Eovaldi, Strahm stranded the lone runner he inherited by punching out Collins on four pitches. The lefty then sat down the side in order in the sixth before making way for Hansel Robles, who did the very same in the top of the seventh.

Following a Blue Jays pitching change that saw Yimi Garcia take over for David Phelps, Bobby Dalbec — representing the go-ahead run led off the bottom of the seventh by reaching first and advancing to second on a Bo Bichette throwing error. Jackie Bradley Jr., who was pinch-hitting for Arroyo, advanced Dalbec another 90 feet by grounding out to short.

With a crucial run just 90 feet away from scoring, Connor Wong stepped up to the plate for a third time. One day removed from being called up from Triple-A Worcester for the first time this season, Wong came through when it mattered most by driving in Dalbec on a 298-foot sacrifice fly to right field.

Wong’s first RBI of 2022 — and just the second of his big-league career — gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-1. Robles then picked up where he left off by notching the first two outs of the eighth on a pair of strikeouts. Jake Diekman got the final out of the inning.

Looking to secure a hard-fought win, Cora deployed Garrett Whitlock for the ninth inning. Working on two days rest, Whitlock needed all of 12 pitches to retire Alejandro Kirk, Raimel Tapia, and Santiago Espinal in order to close things out and pick up the save. The right-hander came up gimpy after going into a slide to get Tapia at first base for the second out, but appears to be fine.

Some notes from this win:

From The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

The Red Sox won on Tuesday despite going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving five men on base as a team.

Four different Red Sox relievers (Strahm, Robles, Diekman, and Whitlock) combined to toss 4 1/3 scoreless, one-hit innings in Tuesday’s win. Here is what Cora had to say about using Whitlock in the ninth, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up: Berrios vs. Pivetta

The Red Sox will go for their second consecutive victory over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Nick Pivetta is expected to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Jose Berrios is in line to do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network. The Sox will also honor the late Jerry Remy in a pre-game ceremony.

(Picture of Connor Wong: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rich Hill gives up pair of 2-run home runs as Red Sox drop series finale to Twins, 8-3, on Patriots’ Day

The Red Sox fell behind early and could never recover in an 8-3 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park on Marathon Monday. By dropping the finale, Boston split its four-game series with Minnesota and are now 5-5 on the young season.

Rich Hill, making his second start of the year for the Sox, could not go deeper than five innings once again. Pitching for the first time since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, the veteran left-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings of work.

All four runs Hill surrendered on Monday came by way of the long ball. Kyle Garlick got the Twins on the board first by crushing a two-run home run off Hill that was reviewed and upheld with two outs in the first inning.

Two innings later, Hill yielded a leadoff single to Gilberto Celestino that was immediately followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Jorge Polanco to give the Twins a 4-0 advantage.

Hill settled in a bit and retired seven of eight at one point, but his day came to a close after giving up a two-out single to Gio Urshela in the top of the fifth. Finishing with a final pitch count of 80 (55 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 39 curveballs and 33 four-seam fastballs on Monday. He induced all four of his swings-and-misses with the former and averaged 87.4 mph with the latter.

In relief of Hill, Phillips Valdez received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Valdez stranded the lone runner he inherited in the top of the fifth before the Boston lineup finally got something going on their end in the bottom half.

Held in check by Twins starter Dylan Bundy to that point in the contest, Alex Verdugo led things off by drilling a line-drive double to left field and advancing to third base on a Christian Arroyo single. Arroyo tagged up to second before Verdugo scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Christian Vazquez.

Valdez picked up where he left off in the sixth by retiring the side in order. The Sox then threatened in the bottom of the frame, as Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both reached base to put runners at second and third with only one out.

Following a Minnesota pitching change that saw Joe Smith take over for Dylan Bundy, Devers was tagged out between third and home after J.D. Martinez reached first on a fielder’s choice. The Twins then elected to intentionally walk Verdugo to load the bases for Arroyo, who flew out to center field to extinguish the threat.

Kutter Crawford came on for Valdez in the seventh inning and worked his way around a walk and base hit. Vazquez greeted new Twins reliever Jhoan Duran in the latter half by mashing a 390-foot solo shot over the Green Monster.

Vazquez’s first home run of the season trimmed Boston’s deficit down to two runs at 4-2. Things got away from the Sox in the eighth, though, as Crawford struggled with his command, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, and walked the bases loaded with two outs.

Polanco broke this one open with a two-run single to right field before Crawford got the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura, who spiked a wild pitch of his own that gave the Twins an 8-2 lead.

By the time the final out of the eighth was recorded, Minnesota had already pushed across four runs. Crawford, meanwhile, walked four batters in the eighth and five altogether over 1 2/3 innings pitched on Monday.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Vazquez scored on Bogaerts’ third hit of the game: an RBI single off Griffin Jax. It was too little, too late for the Sox, though, as they fell to the Twins by a final score of 8-3.

Some notes from this Patriots’ Day loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. combined for seven of Boston’s 11 hits.

Phillips Valdez has yet to allow a run through his first four appearances and five innings pitched this season.

Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays

The Red Sox will welcome the Blue Jays into town for the first time this season on Tuesday night. In the first of a three-game series between the division rivals, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Yusei Kikuchi doing the same for Toronto.

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

(Picture of Rich Hill: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)