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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pham exits with left shin contusion

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

Next up: Hill vs. Bradish in rubber match

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

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

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

Brayan Bello runs into sixth-inning trouble as Red Sox drop opener to Orioles, 3-2

The Red Sox were unable to put end to their three-game losing streak with a series-opening win over the Orioles on Friday night. Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 3-2 at Camden Yards to drop to 67-72 on the season.

Matched up against O’s starter Austin Voth to begin things on Friday, the Sox left a runner on base in each of the first two innings before getting on the board in the third.

Connor Wong led off with a hard-hit double and it seemed as though Boston was about to squander another scoring chance after Tommy Pham struck out and Alex Verdugo lined out. But Xander Bogaerts kept the inning alive by cranking a two-run home run 379 over the shallow fence in right field.

Bogaerts’ 13th home run of the season gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead. Brayan Bello, meanwhile, was in the midst of his seventh start of the year for Boston.

The rookie right-hander wound up allowing three earned runs on three hits and four walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work, though he pitched better than that line indicates.

Thanks to some poor baserunning decisions from Cedric Mullins, Bello faced the minimum without giving up a run through his first four frames. After walking a pair in a scoreless bottom of the fifth, Bello ran into more substantial trouble in the sixth.

Mullins was at the root of it, as he reached base via a one-out single. Bello then issued back-to-back walks to Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander to load the bases. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to emerge from the visitor’s dugout and give Bello the hook in favor of fellow righty Kaleb Ort.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (49 strikes), Bello induced a total of 17 swings-and-misses while mixing in 30 four-seam fastballs, 22 changeups, 21 sliders, and 14 sinkers. The 23-year-old hurler averaged 96.4 mph with his four-seamer. He was charged with his fifth loss of the season as his ERA rose to 5.79.

Ort officially closed the book on Bello’s night, but not in a good way. He allowed all three runners he inherited to score on a wild pitch and a two-run single off the bat of Gunnar Henderson. Ort got through the rest of the sixth unscathed, though the damage had already been done.

Going from a two-run lead to a one-run deficit, the Sox threatened to score in their half of the seventh. After Verdugo drew a two-out walk and advanced to second base on a Bogaerts single, the potential tying run was just 180 feet away for Rafael Devers. Devers, however, could not come through against Orioles reliever Cionel Perez, as he popped out to shallow left field.

Following a scoreless bottom of the seventh from Zack Kelly, J.D. Martinez reached base in the eighth on a out-single. Rob Refsnyder pinch-ran for Martinez and moved up to second on a Triston Casas groundout. He then advanced to third after Enrique Hernandez reached on a fielding error. But Dillon Tate, who committed the error, got the pinch-hitting Reese McGuire to strike out swinging to strand Refsnyder at third base.

Matt Barnes put up another zero in the eighth to keep the deficit at one going into the ninth. Verdugo got the tying run on base by beating out a one-out infield single. Bogaerts then grounded into a routine 6-4-3 double play to end it.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 5-8 against the Orioles and 18-40 against divisional opponents on the season. They went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Friday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Martinez’s milestone

With his second-inning single, J.D. Martinez recorded the 1,500th hit of his big-league career. Martinez, who went 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday, currently ranks 22nd among the active major-league leaders in hits.

Next up: Wacha vs. Lyles

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak on Saturday. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston while fellow righty Jordan Lyles is expected to do the same for Orioles.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello tosses 6 scoreless innings to earn first major-league win as Red Sox defeat Rangers, 5-3

The Red Sox extended their winning streak to four straight on Saturday afternoon by taking their third straight from the Rangers. Boston held on for a 5-3 victory over Texas at Fenway Park to move within two games of .500 by improving to 66-68 on the season.

Brayan Bello got the start for the Sox and wound up putting together the best outing of his young career so far. The rookie right-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work.

Boston provided Bello with an early lead, which certainly didn’t hurt. After Xander Bogaerts reached base with two outs in the bottom of the first, Rafael Devers drove him in with a 337-foot RBI double to left field off Rangers starter Dennis Santana.

Bello continued to roll by keeping Texas off the board through the middle of the fifth. In the bottom half of the frame, Enrique Hernandez and Alex Verdugo each drew a pair of walks off reliever Brock Burke. Burke then balked, allowing both runners to advance an additional 90 feet. With only one out and two runners in scoring position, Bogaerts ripped a chopper to the left side of the infield.

Hernandez took off as soon as contact was made. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager attempted to gun down his former teammate at home plate. But his throw was mishandled by catcher Meibrys Viloria, allowing Hernandez to score on a missed catching error. Verdugo also moved up to third on the play, then scored the second run of the inning when Devers beat out a potential inning-ending double play.

Taking a 3-0 lead into the sixth, Bello ended his day by retiring the final three batters he faced. The 23-year-old hurler threw 88 pitches (60 strikes) and induced nine swings-and-misses en route to picking up his first big-league win.

In relief of Bello, Red Sox manager Alex Cora first turned to Garrett Whitlock out of the bullpen. Whitlock responded by stranding one base runner in an otherwise clean top half of the seventh. A half-inning later, Boston yet again took advantage of sloppy defense from Texas.

Bogaerts reached via a one-out single off Koehi Arihara. Devers followed with a single of his own, but Bogaerts was able to go from first to third on an Adolis Garcia fielding error. He then scored from third on a J.D. Martinez grounder that was misplayed by third baseman Ezequiel Duran. Trevor Story promptly drove in Devers on an opposite field double, making it a 5-0 contest in favor of the Sox.

Whitlock came back out for the eighth and surrendered hits to three of the first four batters he faced, including a two-run home run from Marcus Semien and a solo blast off the bat of Nathaniel Lowe. Those two big swings cut Boston’s lead from five runs down to two.

Looking to protect that lead in the ninth, Matt Barnes loaded the bases while only managing to record the first out of the inning. That prompted Cora to pull Barnes in favor of John Schreiber, who fanned Semien on three pitches before getting Seager to ground out to end it. As a result, Schreiber notched his fifth save of the year.

Next up: Going for the sweep

The Red Sox will go for a four-game sweep over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Kutter Crawford was originally supposed to start the series finale for Boston, but has since been scratched due to a sore shoulder. Fellow righty Josh Winckowski, who is currently on the taxi squad, is a likely candidate to start in his place. For Texas, it will be right-hander Dane Dunning taking the mound.

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

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Kutter Crawford, Ryan Brasier combine to give up 7 runs as Red Sox fall to Twins, 10-5

The Red Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins on Tuesday night. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 10-5 at Target Field despite having a 4-3 lead at one point.

Kutter Crawford, making his 12th start and 21st overall appearance of the season for the Sox, surrendered five runs — four of which were earned — on four hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

Three of those runs came within the first two innings. Crawford retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first before issuing a pair of two-out walks to Max Kepler and Jose Miranda. The rookie right-hander then gave up a two-run double to Nick Gordon that got the Twins on the board first.

An inning later, Jake Cave led off the bottom of the second by taking Crawford 400 feet deep to left-center field for just his third home run of the season. Crawford put together his first scoreless frame of the night in the third and did it again in the fourth.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, finally broke through against Twins starter Chris Archer in their half of the fourth. An Alex Verdugo leadoff single and Xander Bogaerts double put runners at second and third with no outs for Rafael Devers. Devers drove in Verdugo with a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game in favor of Minnesota. J.D. Martinez followed by drawing a six-pitch walk, but Trevor Story grounded into an inning-ending double play to extinguish the threat.

In the fifth, however, the Sox were able to mount a rally. With Enrique Hernandez and Reese McGuire on the corners following a pair of one-out singles, Tommy Pham trimmed Boston’s deficit to one with a run-scoring base hit through the right side of the infield. That knocked Archer out of the game in favor of Caleb Thielbar.

McGuire moved up to third base when Verdugo grounded into a force out at second. With runners at the corners yet again, Bogaerts greeted the new Twins reliever by blooping a 241-foot game-tying single to left field to push across McGuire and move Verdugo to third. Devers then drew a bases-filling walk, prompting another Minnesota pitching change.

Michael Fulmer was dispatched to face Martinez, but he first airmailed a wild pitch to the backstop that allowed Verdugo to score the go-ahead run on a feet-first slide. The Red Sox had a chance to add to their newfound 4-3 lead, but Martinez struck out against his former teammate to leave things there.

Crawford came back out for the fifth and got Luis Arraez to fly out to Pham for the first out of the inning. It appeared as though Crawford was going to get the second out when he got Carlos Correa to lift a 318-foot flyball to Verdugo in right field.

Verdugo failed to make a clean catch, though, as the ball deflected off his glove, allowing Correa to reach first base safely. Correa then issued another walk to Kepler, which is how his night would come to an end as Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled the righty for Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, in turn, made a sticky situation even worse by plunking the first batter he faced in Jose Miranda to load the bases. Gordon, already in the midst of a productive evening at the plate, took full advantage of the spot he was in by unloading the bases with a 416-foot grand slam over everything in right field.

Gordon’s sixth homer of the season officially closed the book on Crawford, who finished with a final pitch count of 76 (43 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler managed to induce just seven swings-and-misses while raising his ERA on the season to 5.47 (7.58 ERA in August). He was also hit with his sixth losing decision of the year.

Brasier, on the other hand, was tagged for two runs after getting through the rest of the fifth inning unscathed. The recently-turned 35-year-old has now allowed 14 runs (13 earned) to cross the plate in 14 relief appearances (12 innings) this month. That is good for an ERA of 9.75.

Boston’s bullpen struggled continued into the sixth inning, as Jeurys Familia served up a solo shot to Gary Sanchez. The Red Sox got that run back in the top of the seventh, when Verdugo plated Pham all the way from first base on a 410-foot RBI double to right-center field that would have been a home run in 16 of 30 MLB ballparks.

Verdugo’s second hit of the contest brought the Sox back to within three runs of the Twins at 8-5. Bogaerts moved Verdugo up to third base on a groundout, but Devers stranded him there by striking out.

Following a 1-2-3 seventh inning from Zack Kelly in his second big-league appearance, a resurgent Matt Barnes ran into more trouble in the eighth by walking one and giving up three straight hits to Sanchez, Arraez, and Correa. Arreaz and Correa each drove in runs with their singles, which gave the Twins a commanding 10-5 lead going into the ninth.

Down to their final three outs, Hernandez led off with a walk, but McGuire, Pham, and Verdugo went down quietly against Emilio Pagan to seal another defeat.

With the loss, the seventh in their last nine games, the Red Sox drop to 62-68 on the season. The Blue Jays won on Tuesday, so Boston now sits nine games back of Toronto for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Wacha vs. Ryan in series finale

The Red Sox will look to salvage something out of this series with the Twins on Wednesday night. Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston. Fellow right-hander Joe Ryan is expected to do the same for Minnesota.

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

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: David Berding/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: Wacha vs. Chargois

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: On to Pittsburgh

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

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

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

Red Sox’ Rafael Devers (right hamstring inflammation) expected to come off injured list when first eligible

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has been on the 10-day injured list because of right hamstring inflammation since July 23, meaning he is eligible to be activated as soon as August 2.

Devers took groundballs and hit in the batting cage ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Guardians at Fenway Park. When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox manager Alex Cora indicated that the two-time All-Star could return from the injured list without needing to go out on a rehab assignment.

“He’s moving better,” Cora said of Devers. “He’s progressing. I think Raffy will be OK right away.”

Devers, 25, is batting .324/.379/.602 with 29 doubles, one triple, 22 home runs, 55 RBIs, 62 runs scored, two stolen bases, 26 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 87 games (380 plate appearances) so far this season.

In their last four games without Devers, the Red Sox are 1-3 and have averaged just 2.75 runs per game. Bobby Dalbec will start at the hot corner for Boston on Wednesday.

If Devers does indeed come off the injured list when first eligible, that would come when the Red Sox take on the Astros at Minute Maid Park next Tuesday.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)