Red Sox place Phillips Valdez on COVID-19 related injured list after reliever tests positive for virus; Brad Peacock selected from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed reliever Phillips Valdez on the COVID-19 related injured list after the right-hander tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Brad Peacock had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced shortly before the start of Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Valdez becomes the 12th Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19 since their outbreak began a little more than two weeks ago on August 27. He also becomes the 10th player the club has out on the COVID-related IL, joining the likes of Christian Arroyo, Jonathan Arauz, Yairo Munoz, Jarren Duran, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Chris Sale, and Danny Santana.

Santana, like Valdez, tested positive this weekend as both Dominican nationals will now have to quarantine at the team’s hotel in Chicago.

Boston did just get Nick Pivetta from the COVID IL to start Sunday’s game against Chicago, but lose a potential relief option in Valdez for the time being.

At the moment, it’s unclear if Valdez is vaccinated against COVID-19, which could determine how much time he is forced to miss depending on if he exhibits any symptoms.

Through 28 appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen this season, the 29-year-old has posted a 5.85 ERA and 4.66 FIP to go along with 35 strikeouts to 19 walks over 40 innings of work across three separate stints with the club.

With Valdez entering into a quarantine period on account of his testing positive, the Sox quickly selected the contract of Peacock from Worcester.

The 33-year-old righty had just been returned to the WooSox on Saturday when Connor Seabold was called up to make his first career big-league start, but remained on Boston’s taxi squad and is back up already.

Acquired from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations on August 30, Peacock has allowed a total of nine runs — all earned — on six hits (two home runs), three walks, and three strikeouts in two outings spanning 5 1/3 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 15.19.

(Picture of Phillips Valdez: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Martín Pérez, Matt Barnes placed on COVID-19 related injured list, Phillips Valdez recalled from Triple-A Worcester, Raynel Espinal selected to 40-man

Before opening a pivotal four-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday night, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, relievers Martin Perez and Matt Barnes were both placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Secondly, right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, while fellow righty Raynel Espinal had his contract selected from Worcester, the club announced earlier Monday evening.

Perez and Barnes become the the third and fourth Red Sox players to head to the COVID-related injured list within the last three days, as they join the likes of infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez and infielder Christian Arroyo, who tested positive on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose also tested positive on Sunday.

Perez, who opened the 2021 season in Boston’s starting rotation but was demoted to the bullpen earlier this month, tested positive for the virus on Monday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith).

“We found out not too long ago,” Cora said. “So we’re going through the process, through protocol, close contact, people getting tested and everything else.”

On that note, MLB.com’s Ian Browne reports that Barnes has indeed tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will be forced into a mandatory quarantine and miss the next 10 days despite being vaccinated against the virus.

Regardless of his vaccination status, though, the All-Star closer will head to the COVID-related IL for a second time this season after spending one day there earlier this month.

With both Perez and Barnes out of action for the time being, the Sox have added two right-handed hurlers from Worcester in the form of Valdez and Espinal.

Valdez, 29, is back up with Boston for the third time this year after he was most recently sent down to the WooSox on August 12.

Espinal, meanwhile, was able to be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster without a corresponding move being made since players on the COVID-related injured list do not count against the 40-man.

Originally acquired from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft, the 29-year-old out of the Dominican Republic has had a solid season for himself as a member of Worcester’s starting rotation.

In 18 appearances (16 starts) with the WooSox so far this year, Espinal has posted a 3.74 ERA and 4.09 FIP to go along with 89 strikeouts to 36 walks over 91 1/3 total innings of work.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Espinal — who is up at the major-league level for the first time in his professional career — operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball, an 83-86 mph slider, an 82-84 mph changeup, and a 77-79 mph curveball.

In addition to Espinal, who will wear the No. 80, and Valdez being added to the big-league roster, the Red Sox seem likely to activate recently-acquired right-hander Brad Peacock on Tuesday. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox recall Tanner Houck from Triple-A Worcester, send down Phillips Valdez

Before wrapping up their three-game series against the Rays at Fenway Park on Thursday evening, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Tanner Houck from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Phillips Valdez was optioned to Triple-A Worcester to make room for Houck on the major-league roster, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Houck, up with the big-league club for a fifth time this season, will get the start for Boston in Thursday’s rubber match against Tampa Bay, as Sox manager Alex Core previously said.

Through seven appearances — five of which were starts — with the Red Sox this year, the 25-year-old has posted a 2.45 ERA and 1.70 FIP to go along with 36 strikeouts and seven walks over 25 2/3 total innings of work.

Most recently, Houck yielded just one earned run in 3 2/3 innings pitched in Game 2 of this past Saturday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Thursday’s outing will mark Houck’s first career start against the Rays, as he has only faced them on one previous occasion as a reliever back on April 6.

Valdez, meanwhile, was unsurprisingly optioned to the WooSox in order to accommodate the addition of Houck to the major-league roster.

Coming into play on Wednesday, the 29-year-old hurler owned a respectable 3.82 ERA through his first 24 relief appearances (33 innings pitched) of the season with Boston.

Wednesday, however, was a different story for Valdez, as he got shelled for seven runs — all of which were earned — on five hits and two walks in the ninth inning of the Sox’ 20-8 victory over the Rays.

That performance inflated to the Dominican-born righty’s ERA on the year to 5.56, and he will presumably look to sort some things out while back down in Worcester.

In his previous stint with the WooSox, which lasted from June 10 through July 23, Valdez put up a 3.38 ERA and 3.28 xFIP over 11 outings spanning 10 2/3 innings pitched.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Hirokazu Sawamura on injured list due to tricep inflammation, recall Phillips Valdez from Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Yankees at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox placed right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura on the 10-day injured list due to right tricep inflammation.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty reliever Phillips Valdez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Friday evening.

Sawamura last pitched for the Red Sox this past Monday, throwing two pitches to record the final out of the seventh inning in a 13-4 win over the Blue Jays in Buffalo.

Including Monday’s outing, the 33-year-old hurler out of Japan has posted a 2.87 ERA and 4.08 xFIP to go along with 44 strikeouts and 18 walks over 38 relief appearances spanning 37 2/3 innings of work in his debut season with the Sox.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “there was no indication that he was dealing with an injury before he was placed on the IL.”

Because his stint on the IL was backdated to July 20, the soonest Sawamura can be activated is next Friday, July 30.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Cotillo) following Friday night’s win over the Yankees that he does not expect Sawamura to miss an extended period of time.

“It’s not bad,” Cora said. “It’s something we feel like… he wasn’t going to be able to post for a few days so we’ll take care of him and see where he’s at in a few days. Hopefully, he’ll be back with us sooner rather than later.”

Valdez, meanwhile, returns to the Boston bullpen after being optioned to Worcester on June 10.

The lanky 29-year-old opened the 2021 campaign with the Sox — his second with the organization — and put up a 4.24 ERA and 3.98 FIP over 20 games (23 1/3 innings).

From the time he was sent down to the WooSox in early June until the time he was called back up on Friday, Valdez pitched to the tune of a 3.38 ERA, allowing a total of four earned runs in 11 appearances that spanned 10 2/3 innings of relief.

As noted by Cotillo, Sawamura is the fourth player the Red Sox have had to place on the injured list since the All-Star break concluded, as he joins the likes of Marwin Gonzalez (right hamstring strain), Christian Arroyo (left hamstring strain) and Danny Santana (left groin strain).

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox recall Brandon Brennan from Triple-A Worcester, option Phillips Valdez

Before wrapping up a three-game series against the Astros at Fenway Park on Thursday, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Brandon Brennan from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Phillips Valdez was optioned down to the WooSox, the team announced Thursday evening.

The move to swap relievers comes at a time when the Red Sox bullpen has been heavily used as of late, and with Hirokazu Sawamuara dealing with right hip soreness, Boston opted to bring up a fresh arm in the form of Brennan.

Brennan, who turns 30 next month, was originally claimed off waivers by the Sox from the Mariners in early May, shortly after he was designated for assignment by Seattle.

While he was optioned to Worcester as soon as he was claimed by Boston, Brennan has gotten his 2021 season off to a solid start with the WooSox.

In eight appearances out of Worcester’s bullpen to this point, the 6-foot-4 righty has posted a 2.16 ERA and 3.65 xFIP to go along with 11 strikeouts and five walks over 8 1/3 innings of relief thus far.

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization this spring, Brennan spent parts of two big-league seasons with the Mariners in 2019 and 2020. He put up a 4.45 ERA, a 4.73 FIP, and a 54:29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 49 total outings spanning 54 2/3 innings of work.

The California native operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a changeup, a sinker, a four-seam fastball, and a slider, per Baseball Savant. He is known for his ability to induce swinging strikes.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the White Sox in 2012, Brennan was selected by the Mariners in the major-league phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, so he will join fellow Rule 5 draftee Garrett Whitlock in the Red Sox bullpen for the time being.

Valdez, meanwhile, was optioned to Triple-A Worcester after being used three times in the last four days.

On the 2021 season as a whole, the 29-year-old owns an ERA of 4.24 and FIP of 3.96 over 20 relief appearances (23 1/3 innings), though he has seen his numbers inflate as of late on account of the fact he has allowed at least one earned run in four of his last six outings.

(Picture of Phillips Valdez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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

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

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

Verdugo gets the Red Sox on the board first

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gonzalez comes through in the seventh

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

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

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

Bogaerts delivers first of two clutch moments in the eighth

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

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

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

Barnes blows second save of season in the ninth

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

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

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

Bogaerts does it again, this time to seal it

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

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

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

Valdez notches first career save to close it out

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

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

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

Some notes from this victory:

From MLB’s Sarah Langs:

From Red Sox Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eduardo Rodriguez surrenders 6 runs, finishes miserable month of May with 7.28 ERA as Red Sox fall to Astros, 11-2, on Memorial Day

Alex Cora’s first trip back to Houston since being implicated in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scandal did not get off to the best of starts.

The Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak come to an end and closed out the month of May with a blowout 11-2 loss at the hands of the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Monday evening.

They fell to 32-21 (16-8 on the road) on the season as a result and now sit two full games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East, the farthest they have been back of the division lead since April 5.

Rodriguez wraps up miserable May

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 10th start of the season for Boston in the opener of this four-game set and was unable to end a downright dreadful month of May on a positive note.

Over 4 2/3 innings of work, the left-hander got shelled for six earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with just four strikeouts on the day.

The six runs Rodriguez yielded on Monday were a season-high and came in bunches, with the Astros plating two in the second, two in the third, and two more in the fifth.

What truly did Rodriguez in was when he served up a two-run home run to Jose Altuve with no outs in the third inning. The homer was more bad luck than anything considering it came on a 1-2, 88 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate and traveled a whopping 330 feet with an exit velocity of 92.2 mph just over the fence in left field.

Still, a home run is a a home run, and it was one that put the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole.

From there, Rodriguez stringed together a nice stretch before running into more trouble in the fifth in which he allowed two of the first four hitters he faced to reach base.

At that point, the lefty’s pitch count had reached 97 (62 strikes), and his day was done as Cora turned to Colten Brewer out of the Boston bullpen.

By getting hit with his fourth consecutive losing decision, Rodriguez falls to 5-4 on the year while raising his ERA to 5.64. In six May starts, the 28-year-old posted an astronomically-high 7.28 ERA, which is the highest mark of any month in his six major-league seasons.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Rodriguez, Colten Brewer took over with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and allowed both runners he inherited to score before retiring the side.

Brewer, who was making his 2021 debut, was charged with four additional runs, while Phillips Valdez was charged with one, in the sixth. Valdez then tossed a a scoreless bottom of the seventh and Matt Andriese followed suit in the eighth.

Quiet offense sans Renfroe

The Red Sox lineup failed to muster anything off of Astros starter Jose Urquidy on Monday.

It took until the fourth inning for Boston to reach base and until the fifth inning to record a hit against the right-hander.

The only real exception to the Sox’ offensive woes was Hunter Renfore, who put the finishing touches on a strong month of may by scoring his side’s first run on an Alex Verdugo RBI double in the sixth and later scoring himself on his seventh home run of the season in the eighth.

Renfroe’s 419-foot solo blast made it an 11-2 game, which would go on to be Monday’s final score.

Next up: Richards vs. Garcia

Tuesday’s pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Astros will feature veteran right-hander getting the ball for Boston and rookie right-hander Luis Garcia getting the ball for Houston.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

Early second-inning offense

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

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

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

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

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

Pivetta’s tough outing

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

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

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

Red Sox bullpen takes over

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

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

Resilient Red Sox

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

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

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

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

Barnes rebounds and shuts the door on Toronto

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

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

Next up: Perez vs. Nola

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

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

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

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

Bobby Dalbec breaks out of slump with 3-run home run as Red Sox open series against Orioles with 6-2 win

Bobby Dalbec came into Friday’s game against the Orioles in the midst of an 0-for-27 slump at the plate having not recorded a hit since April 27.

In his first at-bat of the night, Dalbec ripped a one-out single to left field in the top half of the third inning.

An inning later, the 26-year-old then clubbed a 399-foot three-run home run in that same direction off Orioles starter Matt Harvey to give his side a 4-0 lead.

The Red Sox ultimately topped the O’s by a final score of 6-2 at Camden Yards on Friday to improve to 20-13 on the season and become the first team this year to reach the 20-win mark.

Rodriguez goes five innings

Eduardo Rodriguez made his sixth start of the season — and second against Baltimore — for Boston in this one. The left-hander surrendered just one run, though he did scatter seven hits and three walks to go along with a season-low two strikeouts over five innings of work.

The one run Rodriguez gave up in his final frame of work, when he allowed three straight hitters to reach base on a double, walk, and RBI single from Trey Mancini. He did manage to retire the last two Orioles he faced to hold them at one run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his changeup 31% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 19 times.

Able to improve to a perfect 5-0 on the season while lowering his ERA to 3.82, Rodriguez’s next start should come against the Athletics back at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

Sawamura’s homer troubles continue

In relief of Rodriguez, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the sixth inning.

The right-hander served up a leadoff home run to Ryan Mountcastle to cut Boston’s lead to two runs at 4-2 before sitting down the next three hitters he faced in order.

Sawamura has now allowed at least one homer in two of his last four appearances and has seen his ERA on the season inflate up to 3.77 as a result.

Whitlock bounces back with two scoreless frames

On the flip side of Sawamura’s struggles, Rule 5 pick Garrett Whitlock bounced back from back-to-back poor outings against the Rangers and Tigers by tossing two scoreless innings of relief against the Orioles on Friday.

Renroe takes advantage of O’s sloppy defense, gets Sox on the board in the fourth

Before Dalbec went deep in the fourth, Hunter Renfroe provided Boston with an early 1-0 lead by driving in Rafael Devers from third on an RBI single off Harvey.

Devers had reached base — and advanced to second — in the first place on a missed catch error committed by the Orioles starter. He then stole third base to make it even easier for Renfroe to pick up his 15th RBI of the season.

Vazquez, Gonzalez provide late-inning insurance

With a 4-2 lead already in hand, the Sox tacked on two additional runs on a pair of run-scoring doubles from the likes of Christian Vazquez and Marwin Gonzalez in the eighth and ninth innings to make it a 6-2 contest.

This in turn, allowed Boston to rest closer Matt Barnes another day and deploy Phillips Valdez for the bottom half of the ninth.

Valdez closes it out

Valdez, making his second relied appearance in as many days after not appearing in a game for nearly two weeks, stranded the one hitter he allowed to reach base in an otherwise perfect inning to secure the 6-2 victory for his side.

Rain delay leads to late start

Friday’s game between the Sox and Orioles did not start until 8:43 p.m. eastern time due to a one-hour and 38 minute rain delay. The final out was not recorded until after midnight.

Next up: Richards vs. Lowther

Next up for the Red Sox, they will send right-hander Garrett Richards to the mound Saturday night to face off against left-hander Zac Lowther for Baltimore.

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

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec and Co.: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Garrett Richards issues 6 walks as Red Sox fall to Blue Jays, 6-3

On a rainy Wednesday night at Fenway Park that caused first pitch of their game to be pushed back by about 31 minutes, the Red Sox fell short of their pursuit of another come-from-behind-victory and were instead beaten by the Blue Jays, 6-3, to drop to 12-7 on the season.

Garrett Richards struggled mightily and battled control issues in his fourth start of the year for Boston in this one.

Over 4 2/3 innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on four hits, one hit batsman, and a season-high six walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

Richards put the first three Blue Jays he faced — Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — on base on a walk, a HBP, and an RBI single off the bat of Guerrero Jr.

He managed to escape the top half of the first having just given up the one run, but more trouble arose for Richards in the second when he surrendered an additional three runs in an inning that included three hits, two walks, a sacrifice fly and run-scoring groundout, and a wild pitch.

After recording the final out of the second, Richards did string together a decent stretch in which he retired eight out of 10 Toronto hitters at one point, but a two-out walk of Marcus Semien in the fifth that put runners on first and second would mark the end of his day.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 — only 48 of which were strikes, the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 72% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing just two swings-and-misses while topping out at 95.7 mph with the pitch.

Falling to 0-2 on the year while seeing his ERA inflate to 6.48, Richards will look to bounce back in his next time out, which should come against the Mets in Queens next Tuesday.

In relief of Richards, Hirokazu Sawamura came on with two outs and two runners on in the top half of the fifth, recorded the final out of the frame, then faced the minimum three batters in a scoreless sixth inning.

From there, Phillips Valdez continued his impressive season-opening run by punching out two in a perfect top of the seventh, Austin Brice danced his way around traffic while keeping the Jays off the board in the eighth, and Josh Taylor got rocked for two runs on two hits and three walks in the ninth, which resulted in Toronto going from having a 4-3 lead to a 6-3 lead.

Taylor now owns a 10.80 ERA through his first eight appearances of the season.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox lineup that welcomed back the likes of Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton to begin things on Wednesday.

After falling behind 4-0 early on, Devers got the scoring started for his side in the fourth inning by driving in J.D. Martinez from third on an RBI groundout to short off reliever Tommy Milone.

A double and single from Marwin Gonzalez and Bobby Dalbec to lead off the fifth put the Sox in a prime position to score, and they did so when Enrique Hernandez greeted David Phelps and drilled a one-out, run-scoring double down the left field line that brought in Gonzalez from second.

Now trailing by just two runs with one out and runners in scoring position, Boston appeared ready to turn this game on its head with the meat of their lineup due to hit.

Instead of that happening, though, Verdugo was called out on strikes, Martinez walked to fill the bases, and Xander Bogaerts grounded out to retire the side and thus extinguish the threat.

Bogaerts was able to cut into the deficit by crushing his second home run in as many days in the bottom of the eighth, but three runs is all the Red Sox could manage offensively in what would go down as a 6-3 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday.

The Red Sox are 11-4 in games not started by Garrett Richards.

The Red Sox are 6-6 at Fenway Park and 6-1 away from Fenway Park.

After winning nine in a row from April 5-14, the Red Sox are 3-4 in their last seven games.

The Red Sox — after settling for a series-split against the Jays — will welcome the Mariners into town for a four-game weekend series that begins Thursday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Justin Dunn for Seattle.

Dunn, a former first-round pick of the Mets back in 2016, spent three years at Boston College from 2014-2016.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)