#RedSox Comeback Attempt Falls Short in Sloppy 4-3 Loss to Astros

After experiencing some air travel issues on their way to Houston and arriving much later than expected, the Red Sox opened up another three-game weekend series against the Astros Friday with a frustrating and sloppy 4-3 loss.

Making his 11th start of the season and second straight against Houston in this one was Chris Sale, fresh off a 10-strikeout, five-walk performance in his last time out this past Sunday.

This time around against the ‘Stros, the left-hander made it through six full innings, yielding four runs, only two of which were earned, on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Despite what those numbers may say, Sale did not receive too much help from the defense behind him, with the Sox accounting for three total errors in only the first four innings Friday.

The first came from Steve Pearce at first base, who had the chance to record the final out of the second inning on a simple throw to Chris Sale as he was headed towards the bag on a grounder off the bat of Josh Reddick.

Instead, the ball was hurled way behind Sale and headed towards the backstop, where Sandy Leon had the chance to get the third out yet again with Aledmys Diaz, who was initially at first, rushing towards the plate.

While going for the tag though, it appeared as if Leon went for Diaz’s legs rather than the plate itself, which in turn allowed the runner to swerve his way around Leon’s mitt and score untouched to make it a 1-0 game.

An inning later, Astros center fielder and the eventual star of this contest Jake Marisnick led things off against Sale by blasting his sixth home run of the season, a 336 foot shot into the Crawford Boxes in left field. 2-0.

In the fourth, we were back to the sloppy play with runners on the corners and one out for the aforementioned Marisnick.

On the first pitch he saw from Sale, Marisnick grounded into what looked to be an out-inducing play at short, but Xander Bogaerts instead decided to try and get the out at home and failed miserable with a poor, off-balanced toss to the plate that got past Leon and Robinson Chirinos scored from third anyway.

During that same sequence, Josh Reddick advanced up to third while Marisnick should have been caught dead in a rundown between first and second, but instead retreated back to first safely thanks to a miscommunication between Michael Chavis and Steve Pearce.

Since Reddick was able to move into scoring position, George Springer was able to plate him with a sacrifice fly to left on the very next pitch of the ballgame to put his team ahead 4-0. Why Andrew Benintendi didn’t even attempt to make a throw towards home is beyond me.

Once all the dust settled from that craziness, Sale did settle down a bit from the middle of the fifth inning on by retiring the last six hitters he faced to end his outing on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (56 strikes), the 30-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 39% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing six swings and misses while topping out at 95.5 MPH with the pitch.

Falling to 1-6 on the season now with his ERA dropping to 4.19, Sale will look for better results in his next time out, which should come in that series back at home against the Cleveland Indians.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden put together another impressive performance in the seventh inning of this one by working his way around a leadoff single in an otherswise clean frame, while Heath Hembree had his work cut out for him by walking the bases loaded in the eighth before escaping the jam by striking out Marisnick on four pitches to keep his team’s deficit at two runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an old friend and a familiar foe in Astros left-hander Wade Miley, who, like Sale, started in last Sunday’s contest at Fenway Park as well.

Known as a rampant worker, Miley took a perfect game into the fourth inning before surrendering a one-out double to Mookie Betts.

Unable to score there or in the fifth, the Boston bats finally got to the Houston southpaw in the sixth, when Xander Bogaerts opened up the scoring for his team with a 394 foot solo shot over everything in left field.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Miley out and Ryan Pressly in for the Astros, and Jackie Bradley Jr. cut into that lead even more by depositing his third big fly in the last five days to left center to make it a two-run game.

That 433 foot homer actually broke up Pressly’s record-setting run of 40 consecutive scoreless appearances dating back to last season.

And after failing to tack on any more runs off of Pressly, it came down to the top half of the ninth with closer Roberto Osuna on the mound for Houston.

Leading off the inning, it really seemed as though Andrew Benintendi had given his team a shot by belting what would have surely been a double to deep center field, but like I mentioned earlier, the star of this game, Jake Marisnick, came up with a spectacular grab to rob the Red Sox outfielder of extra bases.

Instead of going to his bench with Rafael Devers available to pinch-hit, Sox manager Alex Cora stuck with Eduardo Nunez, who proceeded to fan on six pitches for the second out of the frame.

Down to their final out now, Christian Vazquez came on for Sandy Leon and provided a glimmer of hope by tattooing his seventh home run of the season to cut the Astros lead to one.

Unfortunately for Boston, Jackie Bradley Jr., who of couse had already homered in this one, could not put on a repeat of that at-bat, as he struck out on three straight hittable pitches to retire the side, and thus end the ballgame with a final score of 4-3.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox are now 1-3 against the Astros this season. They have been outscored 17-11 in those four games.

JD Martinez went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to the Red Sox lineup out of the cleanup spot.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has lifted his batting average from .144 to .170 in his last five games played. In other words, he is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game series with David set to start for Boston.

Entering Saturday with an ERA of 3.29 through seven starts this season, Price impressed in his return from the injured list this past Monday in Toronto, limiting the Blue Jays to two runs in five innings of work.

In five career starts at Minute Maid Park, the left-hander is 5-0 with a 4.06 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over a total of five starts and 31 innings pitched.

Opposite Price will be right-hander Brad Peacock for Houston, who owns a lifetime 8.36 ERA in five appearances (four starts) against the Red Sox.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to bounce back.

 

 

 

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Ryan Weber Allows One Run over Six Innings and Steve Pearce Homers for First Time This Season as #RedSox Take Series from Blue Jays with 8-2 Victory

After needing 13 innings to top the Blue Jays in a marathon game on Wednesday, the Red Sox needed just nine innings to wrap their four-game set with Toronto up on Thursday, taking the series finale by a final score of 8-2.

Making his first start and fourth overall appearance for Boston was Ryan Weber in what was supposed to be a bullpen day for the Red Sox.

As it turned out though, the right-hander worked the first six innings of this one, yielding just one run while scattering three hits, one HBP, and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

That one run came in the second, when with no outs and runners on first and second, a Freddy Galvis RBI double put Toronto on the board.

It looked as though things really could have taken a turn for the worst there with three straight Blue Jays reaching base to leadoff the inning, but Weber rallied by sitting down the next three hitters he faced to get out of the jam and didn’t have to look back from there.

Retiring 15 of the last 16 hitters he faced, the 28-year-old hurler’s fine outing came to a close with a six-pitch lineout of Rowdy Tellez to end the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (59 strikes), Weber relied heavily on his sinking fastball, turning to the pitch nearly 55% of the time he was on the mound Thursday with Christian Vazquez behind the plate. He also induced three swings and misses and topped out at 90 MPH with the same sinker.

Although his ERA did slightly inflate to 1.29 on the season, Weber did earn his first winning decision in a Red Sox uniform to improve to 1-0 on the year. At this point, it’s not known if the Florida native will remain in Boston’s rotation, but if he does, his next start will likely come sometime next week back at home against the Cleveland Indians.

In relief of Weber, the recently called up Travis Lakins came on for his second career appearance out of the Sox bullpen in the seventh and worked his way around a leadoff double in an otherwise perfect frame of work with the help of the infield behind him.

From there, Ryan Brasier recorded his third consecutive scoreless appearance with a 1-2-3 eighth before Hector Velazquez allowed one run on a Justin Smoak home run in the ninth en route to securing the 8-2 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander Clayton Richard for the Blue Jays, making his first start of 2019 after opening up the season on the injured list.

Opening up the scoring for Boston in this one was the hitter responsible for Wednesday’s win in Michael Chavis, whose third inning RBI groundout to plate Eduardo Nunez from third put the Sox on the board.

That was all they could muster off of Richard, and it wasn’t until the top half of the sixth when the bats really started to get going.

With Sam Gaviglio in for Toronto to start the inning, a leadoff single from Xander Bogaerts followed by back-to-back RBI base knocks off the bats of Rafael Devers and Steve Pearce broke the 1-1 tie and gave Boston the two-run advantage.

An inning later, it was more of the same against Jays reliever Elvis Luciano, this time with Jackie Bradley Jr, Michael Chavis, and Mookie Betts reaching base to leadoff the seventh and the reigning American League MVP collecting his 25th RBI of the year on a line-drive double to score Bradley Jr. from third and make it a 4-1 contest.

In the eighth, an Andrew Benintendi leadoff single would result in another insurance run being pushed across on an RBI single from Eduardo Nunez moments later. 5-1.

And finally, in the ninth, Devers and Pearce capped off fine days at the plate, with the former driving in Bogaerts from second on an RBI infield single, and the latter coming through with his first home run of the season, a two-out, 399 foot two-run shot to left off Toronto reliever Ryan Feierabend.

Pearce’s third knock of the afternoon made it an 8-1 game, and after the Blue Jays tacked on a run of their own in their half of the ninth, 8-2 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are four games over .500 (27-23) for the first time this season.

Through 20 games this month, Rafael Devers is slashing .345/.383/.609 with six home runs and 21 runs driven in.

Before Thursday, Ryan Weber hadn’t won a big league game since April 19th, 2016 when he was a member of the Atlanta Braves.

Xander Bogaerts has recorded multiple hits in four of his last five games played.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s off to Houston for another three-game weekend series against the Houston Astros.

The ‘Stros took two out of three from the Sox at Fenway Park last weekend in what was a tightly-contested series outside of a few poor innings.

In the opening game, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of left-handers representing Red Sox present and past, with Chris Sale getting the ball for Boston and Wade Miley doing the same for Houston.

Last time these two southpaws met up this past Sunday, Sale allowed three runs and struck out 10 over 5.1 innings while Miley surrendered three runs, two of which were earned,  in five innings of work. The Red Sox won that game 4-3.

First pitch of the series opener on Friday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN.

#RedSox Homer Three Times in 14-1 Rout over Mariners to Improve to 20-19 on Season

Coming off a 5-2 road trip and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up an eight-game homestand on Friday with a blowout 14-1 win over the Seattle Mariners to improve their record to 20-19 and pass the .500 plateau for the first time this season.

Making his eighth start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the weekend fresh off a six strikeout performance in his last time out against the White Sox.

Tossing seven full innings in this one, the left-hander held the Mariners scoreless while scattering just five hits and one walk to go along with five K’s on the night.

Retiring nine of the first 10 he faced, Rodriguez faced more than four hitters in an inning just two times in the fourth and seventh, stranding the runners on base on both occasions to preserve the shutout effort.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (68 strikes), the 26-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 39% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch and topping out at 93.8 MPH with it. He also induced a team-high eight swinging strikes with his changeup, a pitch he threw 26 times.

The Red Sox are now 6-0 in Rodriguez’s last six starts. Over that span, the Venezuela native himself is 4-0 and owns an ERA of 2.78. They’ll look to make it seven wins in a row in Rodriguez’s next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not faced with much pressure, as their team’s lead stood at 10 runs by the time Tyler Thornburg took the mound to begin the eighth inning.

Having given up runs in his last four appearances out of the ‘pen before Friday, Thornburg saw his ERA inflate to 8.04 on an Edwin Encarnacion RBI double in his lone inning of relief.

And in the ninth, making his second appearance for the Sox since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket last Monday, Ryan Weber closed things out in a scoreless frame to secure the blowout victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners rookie left-hander Erik Swanson, and they really had their way with them beginning in the third inning.

After collectively going 0-for-their-first-7, a Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double in that third would turn out to be the catalyst for a four-run inning to get the scoring started in this one.

All coming with two outs, back-to-back singles from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez plated Bradley Jr. and put runners on the corners for Mitch Moreland, who absolutely demolished a first pitch fastball and deposited 436 feet into the bleachers with an exit velocity of 109 MPH. 4-0, just like that.

An inning later, Rafael Devers joined in on the moon bomb party, leading off the fourth with a 397 foot shot off Swanson to pad the Red Sox’ lead even further.

In the fifth, the pair of corner infielders were at it again, with Moreland collecting his fourth RBI of the night on a line drive double to the opposite field to score Andrew Benintendi all the way from first and Devers driving in Moreland on an RBI single off new M’s reliever Mike Swarzak to make it a 7-0 contest.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Benintendi went yard for the second time in the last two games, as he took Swarzak 393 feet deep to right for his fifth big fly of the season. That ball had an exit velocity of over 106 MPH.

Another inning later, with lefty Zac Rosscup on for Seattle, Xander Bogaerts got on the board with his 24th ribbie of the year, plating Steve Pearce, who pinch-hit for Moreland the at-bat prior, on a screamer of a double to right field.

After advancing to third on a Rafael Devers groundout, Bogaerts scored his club’s 10th run on another RBI groundout from the slumping Michael Chavis. 10-0.

And in the eighth, even with this one already out of reach, the Red Sox went ahead and struck four more times off Mariners reliever and former Baltimore Oriole Mike Wright.

Benintendi, Betts, and Eduardo Nunez got the rally started by loading the bases without recording an out to begin the inning, and Xander Bogaerts drove in the reigning AL MVP by grounding into a force out at third to put runners at first and second for Devers.

On the very first pitch he saw from Wright, the 22-year-old capped off a stellar night at the plate in style, emptying the bases on a two out, two-run, 100 MPH double to right to give Boston the 14-1 advantage, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

In nine games this month, Rafael Devers has recorded multiple hits in six of them. He is currently batting .314 with an OPS of .826.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday afternoon with a starting pitching matchup featuring two veteran right-handers.

For Boston, it will be Rick Porcello making his eighth start of the season. Since April 20th, the 30-year-old is 4-0 over his last four starts with an ERA of 2.45.

Opposite Porcello will be the 33-year-old righty Felix Hernandez for Seattle, who owns a lifetime 4.09 ERA over nine career starts and 57.2 innings of work at Fenway Park.

It took more than six weeks to get there, but the Red Sox are back to playing winning baseball with a record of 20-19.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their first four-game winning streak of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

#RedSox Come out Flat in 4-1 Series-Opening Loss to Orioles

Coming off a successful weekend in Chicago, the Red Sox headed to Baltimore with the chance to improve their record to over .500 by the time they got back to Fenway Park this Friday, but instead took a few steps back in a frustrating 4-1 loss at the hands of the last place Orioles on Monday.

Making his first start and second appearance for the Red Sox in this one was Josh Smith, who last worked out of the bullpen in the club’s 6-1 win over the White Sox this past Friday.

Signed as a minor league free agent in January, the 31-year-old right-hander surrendered four runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts over the first 3.1 innings Monday.

All four of those Baltimore runs came on one swing of the bat, when, after loading the bases with the first three hitters he faced in the second and striking out the next two, Smith served up a bases-clearing grand slam to Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar.

He nearly escaped the jam, but that granny would wind up being all the offense the O’s would need in this one.

After sitting down the next four Orioles in a row, Smith’s night would come to an end after allowing two of the first three hitters he faced to reach in the fourth, making way for Heath Hembree.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (42 strikes), Smith relied on his four-seam fastball 33% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 92 MPH with the pitch.

In relief of Smith, as previously mentioned, Heath Hembree came on with runners on first and second and two outs to get.

Last working on Saturday, Hembree needed just four pitches to retire the side and lower his ERA on the year down to 3.86.

From the middle of the fifth inning on, Ryan Weber, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket Monday in correspondence with David Price being placed on the 10-day injured list, throughoughly impressed in his Red Sox debut.

Like Smith, Weber, 28, signed a minor league pact with Boston back in December and made five starts with the PawSox, where he posted a 5.04 ERA over 25 innings pitched.

Last appearing in the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018, the right-hander held the Orioles scoreless in four innings of relief, yielding just three hits and one HBP as well as four punch outs on the night.

The Orioles had two real opportunities to pad their lead off Weber, once with a runner on third and one out in the seventh, and once with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth right after Steve Pearce robbed them of a run by nabbing Renato Nunez trying to score from third on a grounder off the bat of Stevie Wilkerson. They came up empty on both occasions though, sealing the solid debut for the newest member of Boston’s pitching staff.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was held in check by Orioles left-hander John Means and company, and that couldn’t be highlighted more by the fact that Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, Michael Chavis, and Rafael Devers went a combined 0-for-19 with five strikeouts Monday. Not great.

The only two Red Sox to collect hits in this one were Christian Vazquez and Eduardo Nunez, whose fifth inning sacrifice fly to plate Vazquez from third provided Boston with their only run of the night.

No one even drew a walk.

Some notes from this 4-1 loss:

In two starts against the Red Sox this season, Means is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA over 12 total innings pitched.

Over his last 10 games (nine starts), Christian Vazquez is slashing .387.472/.516 with one home run and three RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to rebound in the middle game of this three-game series Tuesday night.

Right-hander Hector Velazquez will be getting the start for Boston in the place of David Price, while right-hander David Hess will do the same for Baltimore.

In three career appearances (one start) at Orioles Park, Velazquez owns a lifetime 3.00 ERA over six total innings.

Hess, meanwhile, is 0-3 in three career starts against the Red Sox, so at least they have that going for them.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN.

 

Nine-Run Third Inning, Michael Chavis’ First Multi-Homer Game Carry #RedSox to 15-2 Blowout Win over White Sox

After bouncing back with a 6-1 win on Friday night, the Red Sox really poured it on against the White Sox on Saturday, pouring on a season-high 15 runs for their second straight victory on the South Side.

Making his seventh start of the season in this one for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who struck out 12 White Sox in his previous start at Guaranteed Rate Field last September.

This time around, the left-hander yielded just one run on six hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over six quality innings of work, eventually earning his third winning decision of the year.

Things started out a bit shaky for Rodriguez in the first, with Chicago plating their first run of the night and all, but after getting out of the inning and escaping a bases loaded jam in the second, it was relatively smooth sailing, and that was mostly thanks to what his lineup did in their half of the third.

Retiring 11 of the last 14 hitters he faced, the 26-year-old finished his evening with a final pitch count of exactly 100, 61 of which went for strikes.

Out of those 100 pitches, Rodriguez turned to his four-seam fastball 30% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.2 MPH with the pitch.

Now with quality starts in two of his last three starts, the Venezuela international will look to build on a solid beginning to May in his next time out, which should come against the Seattle Mariners next Friday.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final three innings of Saturday’s contest, and they had quite the comfortable cushion to work with.

Working both the seventh and eighth, Tyler Thornburg allowed just one run on one hit, a solo home run off the bat of Jose Abreu while fanning four.

Hector Velazquez, meanwhile, who started as recently as Wednesday, locked down the 15-2 win for the Sox with a scoreless ninth, and that was that.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an unfamiliar opponent in White Sox left-hander Manny Banuelos to start this one off.

For never facing off against the Red Sox before in his career, Banuelos held his own through the first two-and-two-thirds innings Saturday by sitting down the first eight hitters he faced in order.

Despite the early success though, a Christian Vazquez two out single changed everything, and it all unraveled for the 29-year-old southpaw the second time through the Boston lineup.

Including the base hit from Vazquez, 10 straight Red Sox hitters all reached base off Banuelos and drove in a total of NINE runs in that span.

An Andrew Benintendi single advanced Vazquez into scoring position for Mookie Betts, who plated both runners on two-run RBI double to pull his team ahead 2-1.

Two pitches after that, JD Martinez collected his 17th RBI of the season by pulling a line drive double to left and driving in Betts from second to make it a 3-1 contest.

Following a brief mound visit, Xander Bogaerts and Michael Chavis went back-to-back with one two-run and one solo homer to pad Boston’s lead even further to 6-1.

With the bases once again empty, a Rafael Devers double and Steve Pearce RBI single gave the Red Sox a six-run advantage, which then inflated to eight on another two-runshot, this one coming from Eduardo Nunez in his first game back since being activated from the injured list. 9-1. End run-scoring outburst.

Just like how he started the rally, another Christian Vazquez single would result in the end of the line for Banuelos, who saw a potential no-hitter through three innings turn into an absolute disaster.

From there, the Red Sox struck for four more runs in their half of the fourth.

With reliever Carson Fulmer now in for Chicago, back-to-back leadoff walks drawn by Martinez and Bogaerts presented Chavis with another prime run-scoring opportunity, and the rookie capitalized on it by grounding an RBI single to right field, scoring Martinez and pushing his team’s lead to 10-1.

Rafael Devers would pick up an RBI by reaching on a fielding error following that Chavis single, and Steve Pearce notched his second multi-hit game of the season with another RBI single up the middle to plate Chavis from second. 12-1.

Devers wound up scoring the Red Sox’ 13th run of the night thanks to a throwing error comitted by Jose Abreu on an Eduardo Nunez grounder, and Pearce also scored on two-out RBI double off the bat of Andrew Benintendi in the same frame to make it a 14-1 game.

And finally, in the fifth, Chavis capped off his team’s impressive offensive tear by launching his second big fly of the night, a 438 foot solo shot with an exit velocity registering at 108 MPH off White Sox reliever Josh Osich.

That dinger made it a 15-1 contest at the time it was mashed, and 15-2 would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Through his first 14 big league games, Michael Chavis has hit six home runs and collected 13 RBI. He is currently slashing .354/.466/.771.

The Red Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 ballgames.

Looking to finish off the series win over the White Sox Sunday, it will be right-hander Rick Porcello getting the start for the Red Sox, as he’ll be opposed by fellow righty Dylan Covey.

Coming off his best start of the season in which he tossed eight shutout innings against the Oakland A’s last Tuesday, Porcello brings a lifetime 3.81 ERA over 12 career starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Opposing Porcello, Covey went 2-0 in one start and one relief appearance against the Red Sox last season.

First pitch for the series finale Sunday is scheduled for 2:10 PM EDT on NESN.

David Price Impresses with Six Quality Innings but #RedSox Manage Only One Run in Frustrating Loss to Rays

After rain postponed their initial series opener on Friday, the Red Sox officially welcomed the Tampa Bay Rays into town for the first time Saturday, and unlike last weekend, things did not get off to that great of a start.

Former Ray David Price made his fifth start of the season for Boston in this one, and he delivered yet another quality performance, which probably goes down as one of, if not the only bright spot for the Red Sox Saturday.

Working six full innings, the left-hander yielded two earned runs on four hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the evening.

Given the way things began with Rays leadoff man Yandy Diaz taking Price deep on the second pitch of the game in the first, it certainly looked as though it could have been much worse.

But, despite the home run and the five-pitch walk that followed it, the 33-year-old settled in nicely and retired the next eight Tampa Bay hitters he faced before running into more trouble in the fourth.

There, the top of the Rays order gave Price more fits, with Tommy Pham leading off the inning with a double and Daniel Robertson drawing a walk to put a pair of runners on with still three outs to get.

After needing six pitches to strike out Avisail Garcia, Rays backstop Mike Zunino would be the one to break this one open, as he ripped a line drive RBI double to left field on a 1-2 88 MPH changeup from Price to give his team a 2-0 lead.

The Rays would threaten again thanks to a Kevin Kiermaier RBI single moments later, loading the bases with just one out in the inning, but Price pulled through and kept them off the board by striking out Guillermo Heredia and getting Willy Adames to ground into an inning-ending force out at third base. Damage limited.

From the top of the fifth on, the Tennessee native ended his outing on a more positive note, sitting down five of the final six hitters he opposed to lower his ERA down to 3.60 on the season.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (57 strikes), Price turned to his changeup 32% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing nine swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball.

The recipient of the bad luck losing decision to fall to 1-2 on the year, Price’s next start should come against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field sometime next week.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was nearly perfect over the final three innings on Saturday to keep the Rays within striking distance. Brandon Workman recorded the first two outs of the seventh before walking two straight and making way for Marcus Walden, who retired the side in the inning while also getting the first two outs of the eighth.

Similar to Walden, Colten Brewer came to relieve Walden with one runner on and one out to get. He did just that, but did not come back out for another frame of work in the ninth.

That inning belonged to Matt Barnes, who needed just nine pitches to sit down the only three hitters he faced to keep it a one-run contest.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Rays right-hander Charlie Morton, who they got to for five runs last Saturday. This time around, it was a different story for both sides.

With JD Martinez a late scratch due to back spasms, the Red Sox were held to just one or fewer runs for the sixth time already this season.

Morton held them to just two hits while also walking four and hitting another over the first six innings of this one, but the Boston bats could not take advantage of any early run scoring opportunities.

It wasn’t until the eighth when the Sox finally got on the board, and that came when Mookie Betts led the inning off against new Rays reliever Diego Castillo with his fifth home run of the season. A 406 foot shot to center field to make it a 2-1 game.

Five batters and two outs later, with Jose Alvarado now pitching for Tampa Bay and the bases now loaded for Boston, Jackie Bradley Jr. came to the plate with the chance to be a hero.

Entering Saturday with a lifetime .300 batting average against Alvarado in 10 career at-bat’s, Bradley Jr. got the count in his favor twice at both 2-1 and 3-2, but came up swinging and missing on a 92 MPH cutter low and away to end the inning and any chance at a rally.

An inning later, a Christian Vazquez leadoff single off righty Emilio Pagan gave a brief glimmer of hope with the tying run on base and the top of the Red Sox lineup due up, but a las, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Mitch Moreland all went down in order, capping off another disappointing defeat for the defending World Series champions.

Some notes from this loss:

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Since being activated from the injured list on April 4th, Steve Pearce is slashing .114/.184/143 with no home runs and one RBI so far this season.

Jackie Bradley Jr., meanwhile, currently has an OPS of .399.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back in the final game of this series on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Tyler Glasnow is slated to get the start for Tampa Bay, while Chris Sale will do the same for Boston.

Last time out on Easter, Glasnow limited the Red Sox to two runs in 5.1 innings pitched in a game the Rays would eventually drop.

Sale, on the other hand, has yet to receive the winning decision in any of his first five starts of the year. Even stranger, Red Sox are 0-5 in those games started by their ace.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN.

David Price Strikes out 10 and Mitch Moreland Homers as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Rays in Extras

After winning their first series of the season Saturday, the Red Sox went ahead and capped off their first series sweep of the year with a 4-3 extra innings win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Easter Sunday.

Getting the start against his former club in this one was David Price, fresh off his best start of the season in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.

In what was his fourth outing of the year, the left-hander surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with a season-high 10 strikeouts over five impressive innings of work on the afternoon.

Other than two walks allowed in the first, the only real trouble Price ran into came in Tampa Bay’s half of the third, when back-to-back singles to leadoff the frame resulted in the two first two runs of the day crossing the plate on a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Daniel Robertson.

Retiring seven of the last nine hitters he faced after that mishap, Price capped off his outing in style by recording his 10th and final punch out to put away the Rays in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball a game-high 35 times on Saturday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 94.4 MPH with the pitch.

Unable to pick up his second winning decision of the season, Price’s next start should come against this same Rays club next weekend at Fenway Park.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final six of this 11 inning contest.

Brandon Workman and Colten Brewer, making his first appearance since Patriots’ Day, each worked a scoreless frame over the sixth and seventh to make way for Matt Barnes in the eighth with Boston up by a run.

Barnes, working for the third consecutive day, did just about exactly what he did on Saturday. That being, serve up the then game-tying home run to Tommy Pham, walk the next batter he faced, then strike out the final two Rays hitters he faced to at least keep the tie in tact.

From there, Marcus Walden impressed yet again, sitting down six of the seven hitters he faced while fanning two in a pair of scoreless innings. He also received some assistance from Rafael Devers over at third.

After the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-2 lead in their half of the 11th, Ryan Brasier, like Barnes, also came on to pitch for the third consecutive day and notched his sixth save of the season thanks to a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the sweep.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against former Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Tyler Glasnow for Tampa Bay, and he had it going on early.

Facing off against the Red Sox for just the second time in his young career, the 25-year-old Glasnow allowed just one run over his first five innings of work, and that came courtesy of a Mitch Moreland solo homer to lead off the fourth. Moreland’s seventh big fly of the season with no back problems present.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Glasnow seemingly in cruise control, and a one out single off the bat of Mookie Betts would surprisingly spell the end for the righty’s fine performance with a pitch count of just 76.

Maybe it was because Moreland was due up next for Boston, but a questionable decision from Kevin Cash and the Rays nonetheless.

Going with the lefty in Adam Kolarek out of the bullpen, Alex Cora countered that move by pinch-hitting Steve Pearce for Moreland.

Pearce, who also came in for Moreland due to back spasms on Saturday, drew a five pitch walk, which in turn resulted in another pitching change for Tampa Bay.

With Chaz Roe now in this contest, JD Martinez did the same as Pearce, drawing another five pitch walk to fill the bases for Xander Bogaerts.

Following a brief mound visit, Bogaerts’ eyes must have lit up on the first pitch he saw from Roe, as he ripped a 92 MPH fastball to right center, driving in Betts and giving his team a short-lived one-run advantage.

After being held quiet over the next four innings, a Rafael Devers leadoff single in the 11th eventually got the Boston bats going again with left=handed reliever Jose Alvarado on the mound for Tampa Bay for the second straight day.

That Devers walk, followed up by Michael Chavis drawing a five-pitch walk, set the stage for Jackie Bradley Jr. in a crucial spot.

Having been held hitless up to that point, the Red Sox outfielder perhaps came through with the most important plate appearance of the afternoon without even reaching base by dropping a beautifully executed sacrifice bunt down the third base line, advancing Devers and Chavis into scoring position with one out.

Christian Vazquez, already having himself a pretty solid weekend, was due up next for Boston, and he too came up clutch without reaching base, as he belted a 375 foot sac fly to center field, deep enough to drive in the go-ahead run in the form of Devers from third and give the Red Sox a 6-5 lead, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

In his first career big league start, Red Sox top prospect Michael Chavis went 0-for-4 with one walk while playing second base.

JD Martinez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first inning single on Sunday.

Before this weekend, Rays reliever Jose Alvarado had yet to yield a run in his first 10 appearances of the season. He has now given up the game-winning run in two straight outings.

The Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins all won on Sunday. A clean Boston sweep.

Next up for the Red Sox, they head back to Boston to kick off a 10-game homestand at Fenway Park beginning on Monday, starting with a four-game set against the Detroit Tigers.

Left-hander Chris Sale is slated to make his second home start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Matthew Boyd will do the same for Detroit.

In his career against the Tigers, Sale owns a 2.94 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 32 games (22 starts) and 168.1 total innings pitched.

Boyd, meanwhile, has only made one previous career start at Fenway Park, an outing in which he allowed two runs in 6.1 innings pitched last season.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for four straight wins.