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)

Red Sox close out road trip by holding on to defeat Tigers, 9-7

The Red Sox improved to 3-3 on the young season with a series-clinching 9-7 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Battling rainy conditions, Nathan Eovaldi made his second start of the year for Boston. The veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered on Wednesday came by way of the home run ball, as Jonathan Schoop got the scoring started with a two-out solo shot in the bottom of the first.

Two innings later, the Sox lineup responded. After going down quietly the first time through the order, Enrique Hernandez took old friend Eduardo Rodriguez deep on a solo homer of his own in the top half of the third to tie things back up at 1-1.

Rodriguez, making his first start against his former team after signing a five-year deal with the Tigers over the winter, ran into more trouble in the fourth. Following a leadoff walk from J.D. Martinez and groundball single from Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo advanced both runners into scoring position on a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Alex Verdugo plated Martinez on a sacrifice fly to left field.

With two outs in the frame, Christian Vazquez grounded into what should have been the final out of the inning. Instead, Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario committed a throwing error that allowed Vazquez to reach base safely and keep the inning going.

The Boston bats took full advantage of that Detroit miscue, as Jackie Bradley Jr., Hernandez, and Rafael Devers drove in a total of four runs on back-to-back-to-back hard-hit doubles, which ultimately knocked Rodriguez out of the game. Following a Tigers pitching change, Trevor Story came through with his first RBI in a Red Sox uniform as he plated Devers on a single to cap off a six-run inning.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, worked his way around a one-out single in the fourth before yielding another solo blast to Akil Baddoo in the fifth that cut the Sox’ lead down to five runs at 7-2. He then punched out the final two batters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (72 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday and averaged 96 mph with the pitch. He also induced five swings-and-misses with his curveball, a pitch he threw 24 times.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the sixth inning. The righty needed just 14 pitches to retire the side in order and he did so while hovering around 93-95 mph with his heater.

After Vazquez and Bradley Jr. provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance on a sacrifice fly and RBI single, the Tigers began to mount a rally in their half of the seventh.

With Austin Davis in the game for Boston, Harold Castro led off with a single that was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Spencer Torkelson. The first home run of Torkelson’s career cut Detroit’s deficit down to five runs at 9-4.

Davis and Kutter Crawford were able to get through the rest of the seventh unscathed, but Crawford encountered some difficulties in the eighth as he issued an RBI single to Eric Haase before loading the bases with no outs.

Jake Diekman was then called upon to take over for Crawford and recorded the first two outs of the inning. But the lefty gave up a two-out, run-scoring single to Victor Reyes before plunking Austin Meadows with the bases loaded as the Tigers made things even more interesting at 9-7.

Hansel Robles was next to get the call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and he proceeded to get Schoop to pop out to Story for the final out before coming back out for the ninth and tossing a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save.

Some notes from this win:

Nathan Eovaldi has given up four home runs through his first two starts of the season. It took until June 26 to reach that point last season.

After dealing with food poisoning the last few days, Trevor Story went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Tuesday.

Enrique Hernandez began his season 0-for-17 at the plate. Over the last two days, he has gone 4-for-9 with three doubles, one homer, three RBIs, four runs scored, and two walks.

Next up: Home opener at Fenway

The Red Sox are off Thursday and head back to Boston having won three of their last four games. They will open up a four-game series against the Twins at Fenway Park to kick off Patriots’ Day weekend festivities on Friday, which is also Jackie Robinson Day.

For Friday’s home opener, it will be right-hander Nick Pivetta getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Joe Ryan doing the same for Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers comes through with go-ahead single, Garrett Whitlock dominates in relief as Red Sox battle back to defeat Tigers, 5-3

The Red Sox bounced back from a tough series-opening loss at Comerica Park on Monday by pulling off a come-from-behind victory over the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon.

Boston rallied back from a three-run deficit to defeat Detroit, 5-3, and improve to 2-3 on the young season.

Rich Hill, making his first start of the year for the Sox and first since 2015, allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

The veteran left-hander began his day by retiring the first seven batters he faced before things began to unravel a bit in the bottom half of the third. With one out in the frame, Hill gave up a flyball double to Spencer Torkelson that very easily could have been caught by Christian Arroyo in right field.

Torkelson, regarded by many as one of the top prospects in baseball, advanced to third base on a Dustin Garneau single and scored his side’s first run on an RBI groundout from Robbie Grossman.

Arroyo, making just his second career start in right field, was challenged once more when Jonathan Schoop lifted a softly-hit flyball that had an expected batting average of .070.

Rather than catch Schoop’s blooper, Arroyo took an awkward route and the ball landed a few feet in front of him, allowing Garneau to easily score from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Javier Baez, the hero of Monday’s game, proceeded to tack on an additional run on a blistering, 110.8 mph double to left field that plated Schoop all the way from first to give the Tigers an early 3-0 lead.

After eventually getting through the third, Hill rebounded by stranding Akil Baddoo at third base in a scoreless fourth inning. He then recorded the first out of the fifth before issuing a six-pitch walk to Grossman, which is how his outing would come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (54 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw relied primarily upon his four-seam fastball and curveball on Tuesday. He averaged 88.2 mph with his heater and induced a total of five swings-and-misses.

In relief of Hill, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he was tasked with facing Schoop. The righty got Schoop to fly out to Rafael Devers in foul territory. Devers then caught the Tigers sleeping, as he made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec to nab Grossman at first base and complete the inning-ending, 5-3 double play.

To that point in the contest, the Sox lineup had mustered just two hits off Tigers starter Tyler Alexander. Things started to change for the better in the sixth, though, as Kevin Plawecki led the inning off with a groundball single.

A sacrifice bunt from Jonathan Arauz moved Plawecki up to second base, and Enrique Hernandez drove the backup catcher in from second on his first hit of the season: a one-out RBI double down the right field line to cut Boston’s deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Rafael Devers followed suit by lacing a 99 mph single to right field that scored Hernandez from second to pull the Sox back to within one run of the Tigers.

Following a Detroit pitching change that saw Jacob Barnes take over for Alexander, J.D. Martinez stayed hot against his former team by ripping a game-tying double to the right field corner. The Tigers thought Martinez’s clutch hit may have landed in foul territory and challenged the call on the field.

Martinez’s RBI two-base hit was upheld, though, and the Red Sox and Tigers now found themselves deadlocked in a 3-3 stalemate.

After Garrett Whitlock came on for Sawamura and worked his way around a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh, the Boston bats struck once again in their half of the eighth.

Matched up against Tigers reliever Alex Lange, Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Devers then in Hernandez on a go-ahead single to center field. Arroyo tacked on an insurance run on an RBI single off Will Vest.

Now in possession of a 5-3 lead, Whitlock continued to dominate out of the ‘pen and shut down the Tigers to preserve the win. In his first outing since inking a four-year extension with the Sox on Sunday, the right-hander fanned two and issued just one walk over four scoreless, no-hit innings to earn his first winning decision of the year.

Some notes from this win:

Through five games this season, Rafael Devers is batting .381 (8-for-21) with two doubles, one home run, four RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and five strikeouts.

After going 0-for-19 to start the season, Enrique Hernandez went 2-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI, two runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout out of the leadoff spot on Tuesday.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Rodriguez

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Tigers in the rubber match of this three-game set on Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston and he will be opposed by an old friend in left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez for Detroit.

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

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi named Jimmy Fund captain for second consecutive year

Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has been named the team’s Jimmy Fund captain for a second consecutive year, the organization announced on Monday.

Eovaldi, who is entering his fourth full season with Boston, was originally assigned to the post last March as he took over for Mitch Moreland. He was the Sox’ nominee for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award in September, which ultimately went to Nelson Cruz.

“I am thrilled to continue serving as this year’s Jimmy Fund Captain as it is a role that I am honored to have. I was fortunate to participate in last year’s WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and met many families who were so inspirational in telling their cancer journeys,” Eovaldi said in a statement. “I enjoy sharing the important Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber mission and look forward to meeting other adult and pediatric patients and helping to raise awareness and funds for a cause that I, and the entire Red Sox organization, hold so close.”

As Jimmy Fund captain, Eovaldi is responsible for “building awareness and support for the Jimmy Fund’s mission to conquer cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.” The 32-year-old hurler will also attend fundraising events, visit patients, and act as an ambassador “for Dana-Farber’s research and care mission.”

Part of his mission mission is to help “encourage fans to step up to the plate and help strike out cancer by getting involved with the Jimmy Fund.”

The Jimmy Fund, which was first established in Boston in 1948, began its partnership with the Red Sox in 1953 after the Braves relocated to Milwaukee. Shortly thereafter, Sox owner Tom Yawkey announced that “his team would adopt the Jimmy Fund as its official charity and continue the tradition started by the Braves.”

Since then, the relationship between the Red Sox and Jimmy Fund has grown to the point where an annual radio-telethon has been held at Fenway Park each summer (excluding 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic) going back 2002.

After a triumphant return in 2021, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon has now raised $62 million to support pediatric and adult cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute over the last 20 years. It will be back at Fenway Park in August.

For more information about the Jimmy Fund, click here. For more information about the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, click here.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow early lead, fall to Yankees, 6-5, in 11 innings on Opening Day

For the fourth time under manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox have lost on Opening Day. The Sox kicked off the 2022 season by falling to the Yankees, 6-5, in 11 innings at Yankee Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Right out of the gate, Boston jumped all over New York ace Gerrit Cole, who began his day by issuing a four-pitch, leadoff walk to Enrique Hernandez in the first inning.

Rafael Devers immediately made Cole pay for that by taking the right-hander deep to right field on a two-run blast that left his bat at 101.4 mph and travelled 382 feet. Devers’ first home run of the season gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

Xander Bogaerts followed Devers by lacing a 111.8 mph base hit to left field and scored his side’s third run on an RBI double off the bat of J.D. Martinez. And just like that, Boston had plated three runs before recording a single out.

A three-run first inning seemingly put Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi in a good spot heading into the bottom half of the frame. Making his third consecutive Opening Day start for Boston, Eovaldi instead ran into some trouble when he issued a one-out single to Aaron Judge and two-run home run to Anthony Rizzo shortly thereafter.

So the Red Sox’ early three-run cushion had been trimmed down to one run after just one inning of play. Eovaldi and Cole both settled in for a bit, but it was the former who fell victim to the long ball once more in the fourth.

There, the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton ripped a vintage Yankee Stadium home run to right field that had a launch angle of only 15 degrees. Still, Stanton’s 358-foot solo shot knotted things up at three runs apiece.

Eovaldi got through the rest of the fourth, then put two runners on via a single and hit batsman while recording the first two outs of the fifth. The veteran right-hander nearly saw the 3-3 tie come apart when he yielded a screaming fly ball to D.J. LeMahieu, but Alex Verdugo bailed him out by making an impressive diving catch in left field.

That is how Eovaldi’s first outing of the year came to a close. All told, the 32-year-old hurler allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits, one walk, one hit batsman, and seven strikeouts over five innings of work. He threw 76 pitches (56 strikes) and averaged 98.2 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball.

Shortly after Eovaldi’s day ended, the Red Sox lineup picked things back up in their half of the sixth. With Yankees reliever Clay Holmes now in the game, Bogaerts led off with a double and immediately advanced to third base on a Martinez groundout.

Following a brief mound visit, Verdugo came through on the other side of the ball by easily plating Bogaerts on a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield.

After Holmes and fellow reliever Miguel Castro proceeded to load the bases with two outs, the Sox failed to add on to their newfound 4-3 lead as Christian Vazquez fanned on four pitches to extinguish the threat.

Former Yankees prospect Garrett Whitlock got the call from Cora to take over for Eovaldi beginning in the latter of the sixth. The hard-throwing righty breezed through the sixth and seventh by retiring six of the first seven batters he faced.

The eighth inning, however, was a different story. After giving up all of six home runs last season, Whitlock served up a game-tying solo blast to LeMahieu that pulled New York back even with Boston at 4-4.

Whitlock then made way for newcomer Matt Strahm, who worked his way around a walk to get through the rest of the eighth. A half-inning later, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman made relatively quick work of Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo (pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr.), and Vazquez to keep the stalemate intact.

In the bottom of the ninth, Hansel Robles — two days after making the team — was dispatched in a critical spot. The veteran reliever made just two appearances this spring after signing with Boston late and managed to strand the potential winning run at second base by fanning Stanton for the final out of the inning.

With Robles sending this one into extras, Jonathan Arauz became the automatic runner at second base to begin things in the 10th as he replaced Vazquez. Hernandez failed to advance Arauz, but Bogaerts did not.

After the Yankees elected to intentionally walk Devers with one out, Bogaerts delivered by lifting an RBI single to shallow left field. The ball only travelled 187 feet off Bogaerts’ bat, but it was deep enough to score Arauz from second base to give the Sox a 5-4 advantage.

Jake Diekman was tasked with protecting that lead in the latter half of the 10th. The left-hander plunked the first man he faced in LeMahieu then got Joey Gallo to ground out to second, though runners advanced to second and third for New York.

That sequence prompted the Red Sox to intentionally walk Aaron Hicks, thus loading the bases as Cora dipped back into the bullpen and handed things over to Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, inheriting a mess, gave up the tying run on a sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres, but escaped any further damage by punching out Isiah Kiner-Filefa on 10 pitches.

After the Red Sox went down quietly in the top of the 11th, Kutter Crawford came on for Brasier in the bottom half. With Kiner-Filefa representing the go-ahead run at second base, Crawford surrendered the game-winning hit to Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson snuck a single through the middle of the infield, giving Kiner-Filefa more than enough time to score from second to walk it off for the Yankees. Crawford, despite throwing just three pitches, was charged with the loss.

Some notes from this 6-5 defeat:

On the injury front, Xander Bogaerts exited the game in the middle of the 10th inning after appearing to injure himself on his run-scoring single. He was replaced by Jonathan Arauz at shortstop.

Trevor Story, making his Red Sox debut on Friday, went 0-for-5 with a strikeout.

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

Next up: Pivetta vs. Severino

The Red Sox will turn to Nick Pivetta on Saturday as they look for their first win of the young season. The Yankees will roll with fellow right-hander Luis Severino, who will be making his first start since 2019.

First pitch from Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN and FS1.

(Picture of Josh Donaldson: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Red Sox close out spring training with 10-6 win over Twins to take home 2022 Chairman’s Cup

The Red Sox wrapped up Grapefruit League play on Tuesday by coming from behind to defeat the Twins by a final score of 10-6 at JetBlue Park. Boston finishes the spring with a record of 11-8 and also take home the 2022 Chairman’s Cup.

J.D. Martinez got the Sox on the board first in their half of the first, ripping an RBI single off Twins starter Josh Winder to score Enrique Hernandez from third base.

Michael Wacha, making his fourth and final start of the spring for Boston, retired five of the first seven batters he faced before serving up a two-run shot to Gio Urshela with one out in the top of the second.

The home run came back to bite Wacha an inning later, as the right-hander gave up a leadoff homer to Byron Buxton and a two-run bomb to Carlos Correa moments later.

Wacha failed to record an out in the third and was ultimately pulled for Ryan Brasier, who allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly that gave the Twins a commanding 6-1 lead.

After Brasier ended things in the third, though, Wacha took the mound once more in the fourth and actually turned his day around for the better. The 30-year-old struck out the side in the fourth and maneuvered his way around a two-out walk to put up another zero in the fifth.

All told, Wacha surrendered six earned runs on on six hits and three walks to go along with six strikeouts over four total innings of work spanning 93 pitches.

In relief of Wacha, Hansel Robles made his second appearance out of the Boston bullpen in as many days and, after giving up a leadoff double to Alex Kirilloff, stranded Kirilloff at second base in an otherwise clean sixth inning.

The middle of the sixth is where momentum began to shift in the Sox’ favor. With Griffin Jax on the mound for the Twins, Alex Cora emptied the bench and the minor-leaguers who are still in Fort Myers took over.

Juan Chacon led off with a groundball single and advanced to third on a hard-hit double off the bat of Johanfrank Salazar. Jonathan Arauz getting plunked by a pitch to load the bases for Bryan Gonzalez, who drove in Chacon on a sacrifice fly to left field.

Ahbram Liendo then plated Salazar on an RBI single, and Jax proceeded to fill the bases again by issuing two straight walks to Darel Belen and Miguel Bleis. Following a pitching change that saw Ricardo Velez take over for Jax, Ronald Rosario greeted the new Twins reliever with a game-tying, two-run single to center field.

With things now knotted up at six runs apiece, the Red Sox re-loaded the bases and scored on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Salazar. The pinch-hitting Luis Ravelo pushed across another run by driving in Rosario to make it an 8-6 game.

After Kutter Crawford tossed a scoreless frame in the top of the seventh, the Sox tacked on two more runs in their half of the seventh on an RBI groundout from Liendo and RBI double from Belen.

From there, Austin Davis worked his way around a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, and Tyler Danish closed things out with a perfect ninth inning to secure a 10-6 victory to cap off the spring.

Next up: The real thing

With another spring training in the books, the Red Sox will now board a flight to New York ahead of Opening Day against the Yankees on Thursday, weather permitting.

Nathan Eovaldi is slated to make his third consecutive Opening Day start for Boston. He will be opposed by fellow right-hander and New York ace Gerrit Cole.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The 2022 season opener will be televised on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi strikes out 7 in final tune-up before Opening Day as Red Sox fall to Pirates, 7-2

The Red Sox fell to 9-7 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday following a 7-2 loss at the hands of the Pirates at JetBlue Park.

In his final tune-up before Opening Day, Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed five runs — three of which were earned — on six hits and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

The veteran right-hander began his afternoon on a solid note, retiring 11 of the first 12 Pirates he faced before serving up a two-out solo shot to former teammate Michael Chavis with two outs in the fourth inning.

After getting through the fourth and once again sitting down the side in order in the fifth, Eovaldi ran into more trouble in the sixth when he yielded a leadoff double to Hoy Park that was followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Diego Castillo that was just out of reach for a sprawling Jackie Bradley Jr.

That sequence made it a 3-0 contest in favor of Pittsburgh, though the Pirates tacked on more when Bligh Madris reached second base on a fielding error committed by Travis Shaw and scored on an RBI single from Hunter Owen.

Owen would be the last batter Eovaldi would face as the 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 94 and made way for Robert Kwiatkowski out of the Boston bullpen.

Kwiatkowski, in turn, allowed the lone runner he inherited in Owen to score before ending things in the top of the sixth. A half-inning later, the Red Sox responded by plating their first run of the day on a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.D. Martinez that scored Alex Verdugo from third to make it a 5-1 game.

Former Pirates reliever Austin Davis gave that run right back on back-to-back doubles to lead off the seventh, but Bradley Jr. came through with his second home run of the spring in the bottom half of the frame to keep the deficit at four.

Matt Barnes surrendered one run on two hits and a walk in the eighth, while Matt Strahm stranded two base runners and struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Boston then went down quietly in their half of the ninth, as 7-2 would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Wright

The Red Sox will make one final trip to North Port on Sunday to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park. Nick Pivetta is slated to start for Boston and fellow righty Kyle Wright is in line to do the same for Atlanta.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rich Hill gets shelled, Kevin Plawecki homers as Red Sox fall to Rays, 9-3

The Red Sox fell to 9-6 in Grapefruit League play on Friday following a 9-3 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park.

Despite losing by six runs, it was actually the Sox who got on the board first in their half of the third inning. With starter Ryan Yarbrough on the mound for the Rays, Rob Refsnyder led off with a single, advanced to second base on a Jonathan Arauz walk, and advanced to third on a Christian Arroyo groundout.

Trevor Story, who made the trip to Port Charlotte for Friday’s contest, then drove in Refsnyder on a sacrifice fly to left field. Story’s second RBI of the spring gave Boston an early 1-0 lead, though it did not last long.

Red Sox starter Rich Hill began his afternoon by retiring each of the six batters he faced, but immediately ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when he issued a leadoff single to Taylor Walls. A double from Brett Phillips to follow put runners at second and third for Harold Ramirez, who put the Rays up 2-1 on a two-run single to left field.

Wander Franco moved Ramirez up to second base with another single and both runners scored on back-to-back run-scoring hits from Brandon Lowe and Manuel Margot to make it a 4-1 game.

Having recorded just one out in the third, Hill was temporarily pulled in favor of Jacob Wallace out of the Red Sox bullpen. Wallace, in turn, allowed both runners he inherited to score on a two-run double off the bat of Austin Meadows.

After getting through the third, Wallace made way for Hill once more. The veteran left-hander rebounded by facing the minimum three batters in the fourth, but got shelled for three more runs on three more hits in the fifth.

All told, Hill surrendered nine runs — all of which were earned — on 11 hits and no walks to go along with one strikeout over 3 2/3 total innings of work. The 42-year-old southpaw should be making one more start before the regular season begins.

In relief of Hill, Brendan Nail came on for Hill in the fifth and recorded the final two outs of the frame via swinging strikeout. From there, Jake Diekman maneuvered his way around a hit batsman and walk in a scoreless sixth, Austin Davis sat down the side in order in the seventh, and Tyler Danish did the same in the eighth.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Nick Sogard led the inning off by reaching first base on a fielding error. Kevin Plawecki then took Rays reliever Christopher Gau deep to left-center field for his first home run of the spring.

Plawecki’s two-run blast made it a 9-3 game in favor of Tampa Bay, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

Rafael Devers went 1-for-1 with a double and was also hit by a pitch. He is now batting .450 this spring.

Franchy Cordero doubled in his only at-bat of the day after being used as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning. He is now batting .476 this spring.

Top prospect Marcelo Mayer came on as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning and went 0-for-1 with the game-ending flyout.

Next up: Brubaker vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox return to Fort Myers to take on the Pirates at JetBlue Park on Saturday afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi will be making one final tune-up before Opening Day and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander J.T. Brubaker.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

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