Xander Bogaerts reaches career milestone as Red Sox rack up 20 hits in 13-3 win over Royals

The Red Sox secured a series victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. After getting shut out on Saturday, Boston broke out for 20 hits in a 13-3 win over Kansas City to close out the weekend at Fenway Park.

Matched up against Kris Bubic to kick off Sunday’s series finale, the Sox got off to a quick start offensively. On the heels of back-to-back singles from Tommy Pham and Rafael Devers to lead off the first inning, Xander Bogaerts followed by ripping a game-tying double off the Green Monster to knot the score at 1-1.

An inning later, Enrique Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and immediately advanced to second base on a line-drive single off the bat of Yu Chang. Both runners moved up an additional 90 feet on a successful sacrifice bunt laid down by Reese McGuire. Pham then plated Hernandez from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Boston began to pull away in the third on a pair of sacrifice flies from Rob Refsnyder and Christian Arroyo. Hernandez and Chang each drew two-out walks before McGuire scored Hernandez on a groundball single through the right side of the infield.

That sequence of events gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead going into the fourth. To that point, Nick Pivetta had already allowed two runs — both of which came within the first two innings.

Pivetta, making his 30th start of the season for Boston, managed to keep the Royals off the board in the third and fourth before serving up a solo shot to the dangerous Salvador Perez with one out in the fifth. The right-hander ended his day by retiring two of the final three batters he faced.

So, over five innings of work in total, Pivetta surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on 97 pitches (66 strikes). The 29-year-old was able to pick up his 10th win of the season, though his ERA did rise to 4.35.

Shortly after Pivetta had recorded the final out in the top of the fifth, the Red Sox lineup got back to work in the bottom half. Arroyo, McGuire, and Pham each reached to fill the bases with two outs for Devers. Devers, in turn, greeted new Royals reliever Anthony Misiewicz by swatting a two-run single to right field to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Boston plated four additional runs on back-to-back-to-back-to-back RBI knocks from Hernandez, Chang, McGuire, and Pham. Pham and Devers drove in two more runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox a commanding 13-3 lead.

Out of the Boston bullpen, four relievers combined for four scoreless frames. Kaleb Ort walked and struck out two in the sixth, John Schreiber walked and struck out in the seventh, Matt Strahm struck out the side in the eighth, and Matt Barnes stranded one base runner in the ninth to put the finishing touches on a blowout win.

In terms of offensive production, Pham went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk, Devers went 4-for-6 with three RBIs, Bogaerts went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4 with his 40th double of the season and two runs scored, Hernandez went 2-for-4 with an RBI, two walks, and four runs scored, Chang went 2-for-3 with an RBI, two walks, and one run scored, and McGuire went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

With his first-inning double, Bogaerts collected the 1,400th hit of his big-league career. The 29-year-old shortstop becomes just the fourth player in Red Sox history to reach 1,400 hits before turning 30, joining the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr, and Jim Rice.

Next up: On to Cincinnati

The Red Sox will enjoy an off-day on Monday as they prepare to travel to Cincinnati for a quick two-game series against the Reds. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Tuesday’s opener opposite left-hander Nick Lodolo.

First pitch from Great American Ballpark is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox get shut out for second time this month in 9-0 loss to Royals

The Red Sox failed to score a run in their loss to the Royals on Saturday afternoon. Boston fell to Kansas City, 9-0, at Fenway Park to drop to 70-75 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 23rd start of the year for the Sox, was tagged for nearly half of those runs. The veteran left-hander surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

The Royals got the scoring started in the top of the third. After reaching base on a one-out single, Nate Eaton stole second and scored from there on an RBI single off the bat of MJ Melendez. Malendez also advanced to second before scoring on another RBI single from Salvadar Perez that gave Kansas City an early 2-0 lead.

Boston had a chance to respond right away in the latter half of the frame. Matched up against Royals starter Brady Singer, the bottom third of the Sox lineup filled the bases without recording an out. Despite getting that far, though, Tommy Pham popped out to the catcher, Rafael Devers struck out looking, and J.D. Martinez popped out into foul territory.

Hill, meanwhile, ran into more trouble in the fifth. After Bobby Witt Jr. drove in Melendez with an RBI single, Witt Jr. scored all the way from first on a Vinnie Pasquantino double that right fielder Alex Verdugo lost in the sun.

Pasquantino was the final batter Hill faced. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with a final pitch count of 81 (58 strikes) and was charged with his seventh loss of the season as his ERA rose to 4.70. He was given the hook in favor of Ryan Brasier, who needed just three pitches to record the final out of the fifth.

The sixth inning marked the major-league debut of relief prospect Franklin German. The right-hander failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, as he loaded the bases with no outs before yielding an RBI single to Nate Eaton. Eduard Bazardo was called upon to extinguish the flames, but he allowed all three runners he inherited to score on a Melendez force out and singles from Witt Jr. and Pasquantino.

German was tagged for four runs on two hits and two walks. Bazardo, on the other hand, worked his way around a leadoff double in the seventh before handing things over to Tyler Danish, who served up a leadoff double to Melendez and a two-out RBI single to Pasquantino to make it a 9-0 game in favor of Kansas City.

Following a 1-2-3 top of the ninth from Danish, the Red Sox went down quietly in the bottom half to seal their fifth shutout loss of the season and their second in the last 10 days.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Bubic in rubber match

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. Righty Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston opposite lefty Kris Bubic for Kansas City.

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

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Jeurys Familia’s struggles continue as Red Sox fall to Yankees, 7-6, in 10 innings; Triston Casas hits first homer at Fenway Park

The Red Sox hit three home runs on Tuesday night, but it was not enough to best the first-place Yankees . Boston fell to New York by a final score of 7-6 in 10 innings to drop to 69-73 on the season.

With Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Yankees, the Red Sox drew first blood in their half of the second inning. After Rafael Devers drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third base with two outs, Triston Casas made sure a prime run-scoring opportunity did not go by the wayside.

Casas, facing Cole for the first time in his young career, got ahead in the count at 2-0 before crushing a 97.8 mph fastball 411-feet over the Green Monster for his second home run of the season and his first at Fenway Park. It left his bat at 108.6 mph.

Nick Pivetta, making his 29th start of the year for Boston, was able to keep New York off the board through his first two innings before running into some trouble in the third. Isiah Kiner-Filefa led off with a single. Two batters later, Marwin Gonzalez clubbed a two-run homer of his own into the bleachers to tie things up at two runs apiece.

Aaron Judge followed Gonzalez’s game-tying home run by ripping a one-out single to center field. But he was quicky snuffed out at second base by Reese McGuire. Shortly after throwing out his 15th base stealer of the year, McGuire led off the bottom of the third by clobbering his first homer of the season and his first in a Red Sox uniform.

On a 1-1, 96 mph four-seamer on the inner half of the plate, McGuire laced a 103.3 mph drive 403 feet down the right field line and around Pesky’s Pole to give Boston a 3-2 lead.

That is where the score remained for a while, as Pivetta and Cole traded zeroes up until the sixth inning. Judge broke the scoreless spell up when he led off the top of the sixth by mashing a 383-foot solo shot on the very first pitch he saw to pull the Yankees back even with the Red Sox at 3-3.

Pivetta gave up a single to Giancarlo Stanton and a one-out walk to Josh Donaldson before getting the hook from manager Alex Cora in favor of Ryan Brasier. Brasier officially closed the book on Pivetta’s night by retiring the only two batters he faced.

So, over 5 1/3 innings of work, Pivetta surrendered three earned runs on six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. The 29-year-old right-hander threw 93 pitches (60 strikes) and induced nine swings-and-misses. He did not factor into Tuesday’s decision, though his ERA did rise from 4.29 to 4.31.

After Brasier ended the top of the sixth, Cole came back out for the bottom half. With one out and the bases empty, Xander Bogaerts got in on the action by depositing a 332-foot solo blast around Pesky’s Pole on a first-pitch fastball down the heart of the plate. Bogaerts’ 14th big fly of the season had an exit velocity of 97.8 mph and put Boston up, 4-3, going into the seventh.

John Schreiber needed just 10 pitches to make quick work of New York. The same cannot be said for Garrett Whitlock, who served up a game-tying home run to Judge in the eighth. Judge’s second homer of the night and 57th of the season knotted things up at 4-4.

Jonathan Loaisiga, Matt Barnes, and Clay Holmes ensured the score remained that way as they each tossed scoreless frames, thus sending this one into extra innings.

In the 10th, with a runner already on second base, Jeurys Familia issued a leadoff walk to the pinch-hitting Aaron Hicks. He then got Gonzalez to ground into a 6-3 double play. After intentionally walking Judge, however, the righty yielded another free pass to Stanton, filling the bases with two outs for Gleyber Torres.

Torres came through in the clutch, as he cleared the gap in right-center field while emptying the bases on a 110 mph three-run double. That gave the Yankees their largest lead of the night at 7-4.

Down to their final three outs and now trailing by three runs, McGuire — the leadoff hitter — reached base after taking a 96 mph sinker from Holmes off his right foot. He was pinch-ran for by Connor Wong as Tommy Pham came to the plate representing the tying run.

Pham struck out for the fourth time. Yankees manager Aaron Boone then pulled Holmes for Wandy Peralta. Alex Verdugo won the lefty-on-lefty matchup by scoring Enrique Hernandez (the automatic runner) from second on a line-drive single to center field. Wong also went from first to third on the play.

Bogaerts failed to drive in Wong, but the rookie backstop scored on a wild pitch while Devers was at the plate. With Verdugo moving up to second, Devers had a chance to tie it on one swing of the bat. He instead struck out swinging on a 2-2, 89 mph slider that was well outside the strike zone.

Regardless, the Red Sox’ rally fell short, and they are now 7-10 in extra-inning games this season. With the loss, Boston dropped to 10 1/2 games back of the Rays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Bello vs. Cortes in series finale

The Red Sox will look to bounce back against the Yankees as they go for a two-game series split on Wednesday night. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello will get his first taste of this rivalry as he gets the start for Boston while left-hander Nestor Cortes will take the mound for New York.

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

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox waste scoring chances, muster just 6 hits in 1-0 shutout loss to Rays

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay a final score of 1-0 at Tropicana Field to drop to 67-71 on the season.

Nick Pivetta was anything but crisp in his 28th start of the year for the Sox. While showing no ill effects from the left calf contusion he sustained in his last time out, the right-hander grinded through five innings in which he allowed one run on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

After taking a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, Pivetta surrendered a leadoff double to Francisco Mejia. Mejia then advanced to third on a Ji-Man Choi groundout before Taylor Walls drove him in on a softly-hit infield single.

That would prove to be all the scoring the Rays would need. Pivetta, who threw 101 pitches (54 strikes), faced 20 batters on Wednesday; 12 of them worked the count full. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 11th loss of the season, though he did lower his ERA to 4.29.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber, Matt Strahm, and Zack Kelly combined for three scoreless frames out of the bullpen to give the Red Sox one last chance going into the top half of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, a Boston lineup that did not feature Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers had already blown its fair share of scoring opportunities.

Enrique Hernandez, for instance, began the game with a leadoff double off Rays starter Jeffrey Springs. He was stranded at second base. Three innings later, Trevor Story reached base via a one-out single off Yonny Chirinos. He moved up to second after J.D. Martinez drew a six-pitch walk but was stranded there after Christian Arroyo and Rob Refsnyder both punched out.

In the fifth, back-to-back singles from Hernandez and Tommy Pham put runners at first and second with two outs for Alex Verdugo, who grounded out to shortstop. Arroyo reached scoring position with a two-out double in the sixth, but Refsnyder followed by striking out for a second time.

Boston’s best chance undoubtedly came in the eighth inning, when Pham singled and Verdugo drew a four-pitch walk to lead things off against Jason Adam. Pham moved up to third base when Story grounded into a fielder’s choice. Story then stole second base, putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

With only one out in the inning, Adam battled back by getting Martinez to fly out and Arroyo to ground out to extinguish the threat. Pete Fairbanks then fanned two and worked his way around a Triston Casas walk in the ninth to seal a 1-0 defeat for the Red Sox.

All told, Boston went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 10 men on base as a team. Hernandez and Pham accounted for four of their side’s six hits. Story and Arroyo were responsible for the other two.

Wednesday’s loss marks the first time the Red Sox have been shut out since May 30, when the Orioles blanked them, 10-0 at Fenway Park. So they went 87 straight games without getting shut out, which had been the longest active streak in Major League baseball.

The Red Sox are now 4-12 against the Rays and 18-39 against divisional opponents this season. They lost their final nine games at Tropicana Field after first beating Tampa Bay on their own turf on April 22.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Baltimore ahead of a three-game weekend series against the Orioles. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Friday’s series opener for Boston while fellow righty Austin Voth is lined up to do the same for Baltimore.

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

(Picture of Tommy Pham: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox injury updates: Alex Cora provides latest on Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to exit Tuesday’s 8-4 loss to the Rays in the seventh inning due to back spasms, manager Alex Cora said.

Bogaerts went 0-for-3 with a strikeout before leaving Tuesday’s contest at Tropicana Field early. He grounded into a double play in the top of the sixth and appeared to be in visible pain as he was running to first base.

While Bogaerts was able to take the field for the bottom of the sixth, he could not do the same in the seventh after making the team aware of how he was feeling.

“He came in the sixth inning and told us he was locked up,” said Cora. “We’ll stay away from him tomorrow and then we’ll see how he feels for Friday.”

This is not the first time this season Bogaerts has dealt with back spasms. The 29-year-old was also pulled in the seventh inning of an August 23 game against the Blue Jays for the very same reason. He was out of the lineup the following day but returned to action on Aug. 25.

In this case, the Red Sox are once again optimistic that Bogaerts will only need to miss one game. Boston wraps up its three-game set with the Rays on Wednesday before having an off day on Thursday as it travels to Baltimore for a weekend series against the Orioles.

By going hitless on Tuesday, Bogaerts saw his nine-game multi-hit streak come to an end. The right-handed hitter is now batting .315/.382/.466 on the season to go along with 37 doubles, 12 home runs, 63 RBIs, 77 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 48 walks, and 105 strikeouts over 130 games and 547 plate appearances.

Martinez a late scratch

On the topic of back issues, J.D. Martinez was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup due to back tightness. Martinez was replaced by Christian Arroyo, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored and strikeout as Boston’s designated hitter.

The veteran slugger has now missed each of the Red Sox’ last three games, but is expected to be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale against Tampa Bay.

Dating back to the All-Star break, Martinez is slashing just .205/.277/.303 with seven doubles, two homers, 13 runs driven in, 12 runs scored, 13 walks, and 39 strikeouts across his last 35 games. The 35-year-old is slated to become a free-agent this winter.

Pivetta good to go

Nick Pivetta will get the start for the Red Sox in their final game at Tropicana Field this year. The right-hander was forced to leave his last outing early due to a left knee contusion that came as a result of being hit by a 91.4 mph grounder off the bat of Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras.

Starting opposite of Pivetta will be Rays left-hander Jeffrey Springs. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta’s struggles against American League East continue as Red Sox drop series finale to Rays, 12-4

The Red Sox were unable to complete a three-game weekend sweep of the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score 12-4 at Fenway Park to drop to 62-66 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, making his 26th start of the year for the Sox, ended his month of August on a sour note. The right-hander allowed five earned runs on eight hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over five innings of work.

After retiring four of the first five batters he faced, Pivetta served up a solo home run over the Green Monster to Isaac Paredes with one out in the second inning. It was ruled a single on the field, but it was overturned following an umpire review.

An inning later, a two-out walk of Manuel Margot proved to be costly for Pivetta. That being the case because Margot stole second base and then easily scored from second when David Peralta ripped an RBI double down the right field line.

Trailing 2-0 going into their half of the third inning, the Red Sox were able to cut the deficit in half when Franchy Cordero cranked a 403-foot solo shot off Rays starter Corey Kluber into the home bullpen. Cordero’s eighth homer of the season — and fourth in his last six games — left his bat at 112.3 mph.

While Boston got on the board, Tampa Bay quicky responded. Randy Arozarena led off the fourth inning with a hard-hit double. Paredes immediately followed by crushing his second home run of the day off Pivetta to make it a 4-1 game.

To lead off the bottom of the fourth, J.D. Martinez took Kluber 410 feet over the Monster for his first home run since July 10. Martinez’s 10th big fly of the season once again trimmed the Rays’ lead in half at 4-2.

Pivetta, however, continued to struggle in his fifth and final frame. He surrendered hits to the first four batters he faced in the inning, including an RBI double to Peralta that plated Margot, before getting Taylor Wallks to ground into a force out at third base.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 100 (63 strikes), Pivetta induced 14 swings-and-misses while mixing in a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.3 mph, a slider that averaged 86.3 mph, and a knuckle-curveball that averaged 78.6 mph. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 10th loss of the season and his ERA now sits at 4.40. That includes an ERA of 7.24 in 11 starts against divisional opponents.

Moments after Pivetta’s day had come to an end, Tommy Pham brought the Red Sox back to within two runs of the Rays by clubbing another solo blast off Kluber. It left his bat at 104.3 mph and was good for his fourth home run in 22 games with Boston.

Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. As has been the case throughout the season, Sawamura’s struggles at Fenway Park continued. The Japanese-born righty gave up back-to-back one-out singles, including a 181-foot pop-up off the bat of Jose Siri that Cordero could not come up with cleanly in shallow right field.

With runners on the corners, Margot drove in Siri from third on a sacrifice fly. After issuing a five-pitch walk to Peralta, Sawamura yielded back-to-back run-scoring hits to Harold Ramirez and Arozarena, thus giving the Rays a commanding 8-3 advantage.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Ryan Brasier, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec and Pham greeted new Rays reliever Colin Poche with back-to-back hard-hit singles to lead off the bottom half. Xander Bogaerts plated Pham on a sacrifice fly, but that is all the Sox could manage.

The Rays proceeded to pull away from there. A clean-shaven Austin Davis got tagged for four runs (two earned) in the eighth. Following a Rafael Devers fielding error that put runners on the corners with no outs, Arozarena drove in Peralta on a sharply-hit double. Taylor Walls made it an 11-4 game with a two-run single and Siri capped it off with a run-scoring groundout.

Davis retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt made the ninth relief appearance of his career. He gave up a pair of singles to Dalbec and Bogaerts, but still recorded the final three outs of the contest.

With Sunday’s 12-4 loss, the Red Sox remain seven games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Quick trip to Minnesota

The Red Sox will now board a flight to Minneapolis and open a three-game series against the Twins on Monday night. Rookie right-hander is slated to get the start for Boston while fellow righty Dylan Bundy is expected to take the mound for Minnesota.

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

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rich Hill dominates with 11 strikeouts over 7 scoreless innings as Red Sox take series from Rays with 5-1 victory

The Red Sox secured a series victory over the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Boston defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 5-1 at Fenway Park to improve to 62-65 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 19th start of the year for the Sox, was just as masterful as he was quick. The veteran left-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work.

After taking a perfect game into the third inning, Hill gave up a leadoff infield single to Yu Chang. He proceeded to strand Chang at first base by striking out the side on 16 pitches. The lefty yielded another base hit to Randy Arozarena in the fourth. Arozarena advanced into scoring position with two outs by stealing second base, but Hill stranded him there by retiring Isaac Paredes.

From there, Hill sat down nine of the final 11 Rays hitters he faced. He ended his outing with an emphatic three-pitch strikeout of Chang. Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (71 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw induced 12 total swings-and-misses. He also picked up his sixth win of the season while lowering his ERA to 4.32.

By the time Hill recorded the final out of the seventh, the Red Sox were already in possession of a 5-0 lead. Four of those runs came right away in the bottom of the first inning, when they sent all nine hitters to the plate against Rays starter (and old friend) Jeffrey Springs.

Tommy Pham set the tone with a leadoff single that left his bat at 103.8 mph. Alex Verdugo followed with a hard-hit double that put runners at second and third for J.D. Martinez. Martinez came through with a two-run single off the Green Monster to get Boston on the board first.

Springs then recorded the first two outs of the inning, but ran into more trouble when Trevor Story reached base on an infield single. After Enrique Hernandez drew a walk to load the bases, Bobby Dalbec delivered with another two-run single to center field.

Fast forward all the way to the fourth inning, and Hernandez got the best of Springs again by cranking a 366-foot leadoff home run over the Green Monster to make it a 5-0 game. Hernandez’s sixth homer of the season left his bat at 104 mph.

As was the case on Friday night, things once again got interesting for Boston in the eighth inning. Jeurys Familia took over for Hill and recorded the first two outs of the frame on 11 pitches. He then gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single from Randy Arozarena.

That sequence of events prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora go back to the bullpen to call upon John Schreiber. Schreiber in turn, got the final out of the eighth and worked his way around a one-out walk in the ninth to lock up the win and notch his fifth save of the year.

With the win, the Red Sox now trail the Blue Jays by seven games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta goes for sweep

The Red Sox will look to complete a three-game weekend sweep of the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston will turn to right-hander Nick Pivetta while Tampa Bay will go with fellow righty Corey Kluber.

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

(Picture of Rich Hill: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Franchy Cordero’s late-game heroics go for naught as Red Sox fall to Orioles, 5-3, in Little League Classic

After splitting the first two games of this weekend series in Baltimore, the Red Sox and Orioles traveled to Williamsport, Pa. for the fifth annual Little League Classic. With both teams playing at Historic Bowman Field for the first time, Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 5-3 to drop to 60-62 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, who started the game for the Phillies in 2018, did so again for the Sox on Sunday. In what was his 25th start of the season, the right-hander allowed two earned runs on six hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with nine strikeouts over 5 2/3 strong innings of work.

Both of those Baltimore runs came right away in the first inning, as Pivetta gave up singles to each of the three batters he faced. Anthony Santander drove in Cedric Mullins with his base hit before Ramon Urias pushed across Adley Rutschman on an RBI single back up the middle.

Despite that rocky start, Pivetta settled in nicely. The Red Sox also got one of those two runs back in their half of the second. Rafael Devers led off with a single against O’s starter Dean Kremer, eventually advanced to third base with two outs, and scored from third on a 100.6 mph single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez.

Pivetta, meanwhile, struck out the side in order in the second while in the process of retiring 12 of 15 hitters through the end of the fifth. In the sixth, the righty recorded his eighth and ninth punchouts of the night before issuing a two-out walk to Austin Hays, who would prove to be the final batter he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (67 strikes), Pivetta induced a game-high 17 swings-and-misses, nine of which came on his four-seam fastball. The 29-year-old hurler did not factor into Sunday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 4.24.

Matt Strahm, who received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora, officially closed the book on Pivetta’s outing by getting through the rest of the sixth unscathed. The lefty also got the first out of the seventh before making way for Matt Barnes, who recorded the final two.

Still trailing 2-1 after being held in check by Kremer, the Sox received a boost from their bench to begin things in the eighth. With right-handed reliever Dillon Tate on the mound for Baltimore, Cora opted to have the left-handed hitting Franchy Cordero pinch-hit for Bobby Dalbec.

Cordero, serving as Boston’s 27th man for this contest, promptly made the most of his opportunity by clubbing a game-tying, 358 foot home run to left field. It left his bat at a blistering 104.9 mph to knot things up at two runs apiece. All five of Cordero’s homers this season have come on a Sunday.

While it felt as though the tides may have been turning in the Red Sox’ favor, that quickly changed in the latter half of the eighth. After issuing a one-out walk to Urias, Barnes was given the hook in favor of John Schreiber.

Schreiber, in turn, hit and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases with still only one out in the inning. Schreiber then received a visit from pitching coach Dave Bush, but that ultimately did not pan out as Jorge Mateo proceeded to lace a bases-clearing, three-run double down the left field line.

Ryan McKenna, Hays, and Rougned Odor all scored on Mateo’s clutch hit, thus giving the Orioles a commanding 5-2 lead. Schreiber was charged with two of those three runs, meaning he has now given up at least one run in back-to-back relief appearances for the first time this year. Austin Davis registered the final two outs of the eighth.

Xander Bogaerts made things interesting in the ninth by crushing a leadoff home run off Orioles closer Felix Bautista. But Bautista held on by sitting down J.D. Martinez, Christian Arroyo, and Devers in order to secure a series-clinching win for Baltimore.

With the loss, the Red Sox snapped their streak for consecutive series wins at three. At 60-62, they now trail the Mariners by six games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will have Monday off as they travel back to Boston for a six-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Rays that begins on Tuesday.

Nathan Eovaldi was originally slated to start Tuesday’s series opener against Toronto but has since been scratched due to prolonged trap muscle soreness. It seems likely that rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski could start in his place, but that would require Eovaldi (or another player) to be placed on the injured list since Winckowski was just optioned to Triple-A Worcester on Friday.

Regardless of that, first pitch from Fenway Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: Hill vs. Contreras

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

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

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

Red Sox endure more bullpen struggles in 8-4 loss to Braves; Tommy Pham homers in third straight game

The Red Sox were swept by the Braves at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 8-4 to extend its losing streak to four and drop to 54-58 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, making his 23rd start of the year for the Sox, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

All three of those Braves runs came in the top half of the fourth. After giving up a leadoff single to Austin Riley, Pivetta had Eddie Rosario on the ropes with two outs. With the count full, he pinpointed a 93.7 mph four-seam fastball on the outside corner of the lower half of the strike zone.

It should have ended the inning. Home plate umpire Adam Beck instead called it a ball and Rosario took his base. Three pitches later, Pivetta served up a towering, 403-foot three-run shot to Marcell Ozuna on a 91.9 mph four-seamer that was left over the heart of the plate.

Ozuna’s blast over the Green Monster gave Atlanta its first lead of the night at 3-0. Boston countered in its half of the fifth inning when Bobby Dalbec scored from third base while Tommy Pham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

That was the only run the Red Sox got off Braves starter Kyle Wright. Pivetta, meanwhile, ended his night on a positive note by retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced after giving up that homer to Ozuna.

The 29-year-old right-hander finished with a final pitch count of 108 (69 strikes) while keeping his ERA on the season at 4.51. He hovered around 93.8 mph with his four-seamer, which was slightly up from his yearly average of 93.3 mph, per Baseball Savant.

In relief of Pivetta, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The left-hander struck out the first Brave he faced in Ozuna, but then gave up a base hit to Michael Harris II that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Vaughn Grissom, who was making his major-league debut for Atlanta on Wednesday.

Grissom’s first career homer traveled 412 feet over the Green Monster to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. Hernandez got through the rest of the seventh inning unscathed, but has now allowed 16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings with the Red Sox this season. That is good for an ERA of 21.60.

In the latter half of the seventh, Dalbec greeted new Braves reliever Dylan Lee with a one-out single. Jaylin Davis, who was pinch-hitting for Jarren Duran, followed with a line-drive base hit of his own to put runners at first and second for Pham, who responded by depositing a 412-foot three-run home run to dead center field.

Pham’s 14th big fly of the season was also his third in his last three games with Boston. It trimmed Atlanta’s lead down to just one run at 5-4 heading into the eighth inning.

Despite his team being in desperate need of a shutdown inning, Ryan Brasier was not up to the task in the eighth. Brasier yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Matt Olson and William Contreras before Rosario ripped an RBI double to left field to plate Olson and Ozuna lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Contreras.

That sequence of events made it a 7-4 contest in favor of the Braves. Austin Davis recorded the final out of the eighth before Kaleb Ort gave up another run-scoring single to Dansby Swanson in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half of the inning, veteran closer Raisel Iglesias made quick work of Dalbec, Davis, and Pham to end the game.

All told, four different Red Sox relievers (Hernandez, Brasier, Davis, and Ort) combined to give up five runs on seven hits over just three innings. Offensively, the Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team.

Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez went a combined 1-for-12 with two strikeouts, both of which belonged to Martinez. Alex Verdugo accounted for his side’s only two walks.

By getting swept by the Braves in this brief two-game interleague series, the Red Sox now find themselves trailing the Orioles and Rays (58-52) by five games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Winckowski vs. Kremer

The Red Sox will next welcome the Orioles into town for a quick, lockout-induced one-game series on Thursday. Josh Winckowski is slated to start for Boston while fellow right-hander Dean Kremer will do the same for Baltimore.

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

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)