Red Sox blow late lead, get walked off on by Blue Jays in extra innings four fourth straight loss

The Red Sox continue to find ways to lose games in heartbreaking fashion, with Tuesday’s walk-off loss to the Blue Jays marking their fourth consecutive defeat and their sixth in the last seven games.

Boston fell to Toronto in 10 innings by a final score of 6-5 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-11 on the season. They are now 1-4 halfway through their 10-game, three-city road trip.

Nick Pivetta, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, allowed two runs on three hits and four walks to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

It was a grind for Pivetta, who breezed through his first two innings but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third when he issued a leadoff walk to Santiago Espinal. Espinal and Gosuke Katoh effectively switched places when the latter grounded into a force out at second base, but he advanced into scoring position himself on a wild pitch.

Another walk of Bradley Zimmer put runners at first and second for the Jays with one out. Christian Vazquez gunned down Zimmer as he unsuccessfully attempted to steal second base but Katoh moved up to third on the play as well. He then scored on an RBI single off the bat of George Springer, who was just getting his productive night at the plate started.

Despite falling behind by a run early on, the Sox lineup quickly responded in their half of the fourth when Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a hard-hit single off opposing starter Kevin Gausman. Bogaerts successfully stole second base on a J.D. Martinez strikeout and advanced to third on a Zack Collins throwing error. Enrique Hernandez drove him in on a sacrifice fly to knot things up at 1-1.

Pivetta, however, struggled with his command yet again in the latter half of the frame. The Canadian-born right-hander issued another leadoff walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that was followed by a line-drive single from Collins. Guerrero Jr. scored from second on an Espinal RBI single, but Collins was left on base as Pivetta managed to limit the damage to just the one run.

After working hard in both the third and fourth innings, Pivetta recorded the first two outs of the fifth before walking Bo Bichette on seven pitches. Bichette would be the final batter Pivetta faced. The 29-year-old hurler wound up finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (60 strikes) while throwing 52 four-seam fastballs, 28 knuckle curveballs, and 18 sliders. He induced seven swings-and-misses and averaged 93.8 mph with his heater.

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen. Sawamura stranded the lone runner he inherited in Bichette by getting Guerrero Jr. to ground out.

From there, Austin Davis tossed a scoreless sixth inning and got the first two outs of the seventh before making way for Ryan Brasier, who — like Sawamura — inherited one runner but left him on base by getting Springer to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

To that point in the contest, the Sox had not been able to get much of anything going against Gausman or the first reliever out of the Blue Jays bullpen in Trevor Richards.

Boston’s fortunes changed in their half of the eighth, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers came off the bench to pinch-hit for Christian Arroyo and immediately greeted Yimi Garcia by ripping a leadoff single off of him. Another single for Vazquez put runners at first and second for Trevor Story, who came through with a clutch, 111.8 mph RBI double that scored Devers and made it a 2-2 game.

That stalemate did not last long, though, as Alex Verdugo kept the rally going with a sacrifice fly that brought in Vazquez and Bogaerts followed with a run-scoring double of his own that pushed across Story. Hernandez then drove in Bogaerts on an RBI single that gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead just like that.

With a three-run lead to protect all of the sudden, Hansel Robles was dispatched for the eighth inning and worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

The Sox had an opportunity to add on to their lead in the ninth but could not take advantage of the two walks issued by Ryan Borucki. In the bottom half of the inning, it was Jake Diekman who was in for the save.

Diekman immediately yielded back-to-back doubles to Tapia and Espinal, cutting Boston’s lead down to two runs and putting the tying run (Espinal) in scoring position. The veteran lefty punched out the pinch-hitting Lourdes Gurriel and Zimmer in back-to-back fashion, meaning he was just one out away from closing things out.

Instead of picking up the save, however, Diekman grooved a 2-1, 96 mph fastball down the heart of the plate to Springer, who took it and deposited it 423 feet to center field for the game-tying home run.

Springer’s clutch homer pulled the Blue Jays back even with the Red Sox at 5-5. Matt Barnes got the final out of the ninth and — after his side squandered another scoring opportunity — came back out for the last of the 10th.

Barnes and Co. elected to intentionally walk Guerrero Jr. in hopes of turning a double play. That strategy did not pay off, though, as Barnes walked Alejandro Kirk on seven pitches to load the bases with no outs.

A strikeout of Matt Chapman is how Barnes’ night ended with left-hander Matt Strahm being called upon to face the left-handed hitting Tapia, who proceeded to lace a 298-foot sacrifice fly to left field. Bichette easily scored from third to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-5 walk-off victory in extras.

Next up: Wacha vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Ross Stripling for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Bo Bichette and Christian Vazquez: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Red Sox reinstate Kevin Plawecki from COVID-19 related injured list, option Connor Wong to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have reinstated catcher Kevin Plawecki from the COVID-19 related injured the list, the team announced before Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto. In a corresponding move, fellow backstop Connor Wong was optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

Plawecki, who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, initially tested positive for the virus last Monday and was placed on the COVID-related IL as a result. Since he is vaccinated, the 31-year-old was eligible to return sooner than 10 days so long as he registered two negative PCR tests, showed no signs of a fever, and received approval from the joint COVID medical committee.

In total, Plawecki missed seven games while sidelined due to COVID-19. Before that, the right-handed hitter appeared in four games for Boston and went 1-for-10 with one RBI, one run scored, one walk, and four strikeouts. He will be batting ninth and catching Nathan Eovaldi to begin things on Monday at Rogers Centre.

Wong, meanwhile, was called up for the first time this season when Plawecki tested positive on April 18. The 25-year-old caught two games in the Sox’ last series against the Jays at Fenway Park and went 1-for-6 with one RBI and one strikeout.

With Plawecki being reinstated, the only Red Sox player who remains on the COVID-19 related injured list is infielder Jonathan Arauz, who tested positive one day after Plawecki did.

Elsewhere, Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to re-join the team after testing positive last Thursday. Acting manager Will Venable told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) earlier Monday that Cora is feeling better and has not been ruled out for the Blue Jays series, though he has not yet been cleared to return either.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Rob Refsnyder to make Red Sox debut on Saturday

Rob Refsnyder will make his Red Sox debut as they go up against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Saturday night. He will bat ninth while serving as Boston’s designated hitter.

The Red Sox selected Refsnyder from Triple-A Worcester and added him to the active roster this past Tuesday, the same day in which catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Jonathan Arauz were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list after they both tested positive for the virus.

Refsnyder, 31, originally signed a minor-league deal with the Sox back in December. After being informed he would not be making the big-league club out of spring training, the veteran outfielder accepted an assignment to Worcester.

Prior to getting called up earlier this week, Refsnyder had been enjoying a nice start to his 2022 season with the WooSox. The right-handed hitter batted .400/.551/.600 to go along with four doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, nine walks, and eight strikeouts across his first 11 games (49 plate appearances) with the affiliate.

A former fifth-round draft pick of the Yankees in 2013, Refsnyder comes with plenty of major-league experience. He most-recently posted a .663 OPS in 51 games with the Twins last year while making appearances at all three outfield positions.

While he has proven to be more effective against left-handed pitching over the course of his career, Refsynder will be matched up against Rays right-hander J.P. Feyereisen to begin things on Saturday. J.D. Martinez remains out of Boston’s lineup as he continues to recover from left adductor tightness.

Tropicana Field should be a familiar venue for Refsnyder, who spent a good chunk of the 2018 campaign with the Rays. In 64 career plate appearances at the Trop, Refsnyder owns a lifetime .216/.365/.275 slash line with three doubles and one RBI.

As noted by Red Sox Stats on Twitter, Refsnyder will be the first Boston player to start at designated hitter and bat out of the nine-hole since Kevin Plawecki did so last April.

First pitch between the 7-7 Red Sox and 7-7 Rays on Saturday is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story makes game-saving play as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox kicked off one of their longest road trips of the season with a series-opening win over the Rays in St. Petersburg on Friday night. Boston barely defeated Tampa Bay by a final score 4-3 at Tropicana Field to improve to 7-7.

Matched up against a familiar foe in Corey Kluber to begin things, the Sox wasted no time in attacking the Rays starter. A pair of first-inning singles from leadoff man Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts put runners at the corners for Alex Verdugo, who drove in Story on an RBI single back up the middle. Bogaerts himself scored on an RBI groundout from Jackie Bradley Jr.

Given an early 2-0 lead to work with out of the gate, Michael Wacha was rudely greeted to begin his third start of the season. With one out in the bottom of the first, the right-hander served up his first of two solo shots to Rays phenom Wander Franco. This one left Franco’s bat at 109.7 mph and traveled 389 feet into the right field seats to make it a 2-1 game.

The Sox were able to respond, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers led off the third inning with his third home run of the season. On a 1-0, 84 mph cutter from Kluber, Devers clubbed a 380-foot solo shot down the right field line to give his side a 3-1 edge. Bogaerts tacked on another by lacing a 107 mph double and scoring on a one-out RBI single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Travis Shaw nearly extended the inning with a three-run home run down the right field line like Devers’, but it was instead deemed a foul ball and Shaw struck out.

With a three-run cushion to operate with now, Wacha received some help from his infield in the bottom of the third. After putting runners on first and second with two outs, Bogaerts robbed Yandy Diaz of an extra-base hit by snatching a 110.7 mph line drive in mid-air to extinguish the threat.

An inning later, Story made a sprawling grab up the middle to rob Manuel Margot of a one-out single. Wacha continued to roll on through the fourth and was one out way from getting through a scoreless fifth. Franco prevented that from happening, though, as he took the righty deep once more to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to two. Randy Arozarena struck out to end the fifth, which would wind up being Wacha’s final inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (50 strikes), Wacha surrendered just two runs on three hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts in his five innings. The 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball and changeup a combined 69% of the time he was on the mound Friday.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen in the sixth inning. With some help from Verdugo, who recorded his second outfield assist of the year by gunning down Yandy Diaz at second base, the left-hander faced the minimum on 17 pitches — 10 of which went for strikes. Fellow southpaw Matt Strahm was next up for the eighth and immediately gave up a leadoff single to Margot.

Kevin Kiermaier effectively traded places with Margot while grounding into the first out of the inning. Kiermaier then went from first to third on a Mike Zunino single that was accompanied by a Bogaerts throwing error and scored from third on a Brandon Lowe groundout.

With two outs in the seventh inning of a 4-3 game, Venable went back to the bullpen and brought in Hansel Robles to face off against Franco. Forcing the switch-hitter to hit from the left side of the plate, Robles got Franco to fly out to Verdugo in left to strand the potential tying run at second base.

Robles’ job was not yet done, however, as the hard-throwing right-hander came back out for the eighth. He struck out one and induced a pair of groundouts to send things along to the ninth inning.

Jake Diekman was unable to lock things down in the ninth. The left-hander instead walked the bases loaded while recording the first two outs of the frame to leave things in the hands of Matt Barnes.

Branes was brought in to face Franco and had nowhere to put him. Looking to reclaim his role as Boston’s closer, Barnes got Franco to ground out to Story, though it was no easy play.

After sliding to his left to field the 101 mph grounder, Story quickly got back to his feet and made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec at first base to record the final out. Barnes was credited with his first save of the year as he closes out the 4-3 victory.

Next up: Whitlock set to make first career start

As the Red Sox go for their second straight win over the Rays on Saturday, right-hander Garrett Whitlock will be making his first career big-league start for Boston. Tampa Bay has yet to announce who will be starting for them.

Regardless, first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez and Trevor Story: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to make first career start for Red Sox on Saturday

Garrett Whitlock will make his first career start for the Red Sox when they go up against the Rays on Saturday, acting manager Will Venable told reporters at Tropicana Field on Friday evening.

Rich Hill, who has been on the bereavement list since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, was originally slated to start Saturday’s contest. The Red Sox, however, opted to move Hill’s start to Sunday so that the left-hander could get an extra day of rest after being away from the team to attend his father’s services over the last few days.

With Hill’s spot in the rotation becoming vacant, Boston decided it would be best to have Whitlock fill in for the veteran southpaw on Saturday night.

Since coming over from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Whitlock has only been used by the Sox as a reliever. So far this season, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.93 ERA and 2.74 FIP to go along with 11 strikeouts to two walks across four appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.

On Saturday, the plan will be for Whitlock to throw three or four innings, as he will only be working on three days rest. Though it will be his first time doing it at the big-league level, starting games is nothing new for the 25-year-old, who made a total of 38 starts over three seasons (2017-2019) in the Yankees organization.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox view Whitlock as a starter in the long-term. They made that much clear when they signed the righty to a four-year extension earlier this month that includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox manager Alex Cora tests positive for COVID-19

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced during Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Cora, who is fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus, registered a positive test shortly before first pitch on Thursday and is not managing the team. He is currently experiencing mild symptoms and will not travel with the Red Sox to St. Petersburg for their upcoming series against the Rays that begins on Friday.

Earlier this week, Cora told reporters (including WEEI’s Rob Bradford) that he had been staying at a local hotel after one of his sons had contracted COVID-19.

In Cora’s place, bench coach Will Venable has taken over managing responsibilities for Boston. This will be Venable’s second time filling in for Cora. The 39-year-old did so last May while Cora was attending his daughter’s high school graduation in Puerto Rico.

Besides Cora, the Red Sox currently have two players on the COVID-19 related injured list in catcher Kevin Plawecki and infielder Jonathan Arauz. Christian Vazquez, who tested positive on Tuesday, returned to Boston’s lineup on Thursday after a two-day absence.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox finalize coaching staff for 2022 season, hire Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal as assistant hitting coaches

The Red Sox have finalized their coaching staff for the 2022 season under manager Alex Cora, the club announced earlier Monday morning.

As was first reported by The Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt in November, Peter Fatse has officially been named as the Sox’ new hitting coach while taking over for Tim Hyers.

Fatse, 34, originally joined Boston’s coaching staff as assistant hitting coach under Hyers in October 2019. After serving in that role for the last two seasons, the Hampden, Mass. native was promoted to become the club’s hitting coach in the wake of Hyers departing for the same role with the Rangers last month.

With Fatse moving up the ladder, the Red Sox added two new assistant hitting coaches to Cora’s staff in Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal.

Ortiz, 51, is a former big-league third baseman who was drafted by Boston in 1991 and spent parts of two seasons with the club in 1993 and 1994. The Santo Domingo native served as Texas’ hitting coach for the last three seasons after spending the 2018 campaign as an assistant hitting coach with the Dodgers. He also has experience as a coordinator/instructor within the Rangers, Guardians, and Padres’ organizations.

Rosenthal, 42, went undrafted out of San Diego State University, but spent two seasons (2004-2005) in the Cardinals organization before calling it a playing career in 2006. From that point forward, the Arizona native served as an assistant coach at Bishop Gorman High School (Nev.) from 2011-2012, head coach of Mira Mesa High School (Calif.) in 2013, and as third base coach and hitting coach for Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) from 2014-16.

Since 2017, Rosenthal had been coaching in the Astros organization, most recently serving as the hitting coach for Houston’s Triple-A affiliate from 2019 through the end of the 2021 season.

In addition to this one promotion and two new hires, the Red Sox announced three more internal promotions. Ramon Vazquez has been named the club’s new first base coach, Andy Fox has been named major-league field coordinator, and Mike Brenly has been named major-league staff assistant.

Vazquez has been part of Cora’s staff since 2018 and will make the transition from quality control coach to first base coach after the Red Sox parted ways with Tom Goodwin in October. He will also coordinate the club’s base running instruction.

The 45-year-old should be familiar with that role since he became Boston’s first base coach during the 2021 postseason after Goodwin was forced to leave the team as a result of MLB protocols not granting on-field access to those who were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fox, who turns 51 next month, has been with the Red Sox for 11 years as the club’s minor-league infield coordinator (2011-2021) and assistant field coordinator (2019-21). He also worked with the major-league team during the later stages of the 2021 season.

Brenly, on the other hand, will assume the role of major-league staff assistant after spending the last six seasons as a bullpen catcher for the Red Sox.

Besides all these changes, the rest of Cora’s staff from the 2021 season will remain intact. Will Venable is back as bench coach, Dave Bush is back as pitching coach, Kevin Walker is back as bullpen coach, Carlos Febles is back as third base coach, and Jason Varitek will return as Boston’s game planning coordinator and catching coach.

“I feel fortunate to work with such a talented and diverse group of coaches,” Cora said in a statement released by the team. “In addition to Luis and Ben bringing fresh perspectives from outside of our organization, I am excited for the new opportunities presented to Pete, Ramón, and Mike. Andy has been a valuable member of the Red Sox for more than a decade, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to the major-league staff. I look forward to working with this group to achieve the ultimate goal of winning another World Series.”

(Picture of Alex Cora: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox bench coach Will Venable interviews for Athletics’ managerial opening, per report

Red Sox bench coach Will Venable has recently interviewed for the Athletics’ managerial opening, according to The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli and Ken Rosenthal.

Per Ghiroli and Rosenthal, Venable is one of six candidates Oakland has or are planning to interview alongside Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and three internal options in Mark Kotsay, Marcus Jensen, and Darren Bush.

The Athletics are looking to fill their managerial vacancy after longtime skipper Bob Melvin left the organization to join the Padres in the same capacity in late October.

While Oakland’s list of potential candidates is wide-ranging, Venable does have an interesting case considering the fact that he grew up in nearly San Rafael, Calif. and has interviewed for other openings in the past.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons as an outfielder, Venable was originally named Alex Cora’s bench coach last November after three years as a base coach and bench coach with the Cubs.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 39-year-old talked with the Astros, Cubs, and Giants about their managerial openings at the conclusion of the 2019 season and was considered by both the Tigers and Red Sox last offseason.

Besides the A’s, the only other club looking to hire a manager at the moment are the Mets, who have apparently yet to reach out to Venable, per Cotillo.

If neither the Athletics nor Mets poach Venable away from the Red Sox, Cora’s coaching staff for the 2022 season will look very similar to the one he rolled out in 2021.

That being said, Cora’s coaching staff for 2022 has yet to be finalized, as Boston is still looking to fill two vacancies after first base coach Tom Goodwin was fired and hitting coach Tim Hyers left for the Rangers.

Pete Fatse, previously the assistant hitting coach under Hyers, is expected to be promoted to hitting coach. Who the Red Sox have in mind to take over as assistant hitting coach or first base coach has yet to be determined.

(Picture of Will Venable: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Red Sox minor-league coordinators Andy Fox, Darren Fenster filling in on Alex Cora’s coaching staff while Will Venable, Tom Goodwin quarantine in Canada

With bench coach Will Venable and first base coach Tom Goodwin currently quarantining in Toronto, the Red Sox have added Andy Fox and Darren Fenster to their major-league coaching staff, manager Alex Cora said Tuesday.

Venable tested positive for COVID-19 this past Saturday, during the first game of the Sox’ doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Despite being vaccinated against the virus, Venable has been placed into a mandatory 14-day quarantine on account of the rules put into effect by the Canadian government.

Goodwin, meanwhile, has also been forced to quarantine since he was identified as a close contact of Venable, though he could return to the club sooner since he has yet to test positive for COVID.

“They’re doing OK,” Cora said of the two coaches ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Rays at Fenway Park. “It’s not easy. I texted with them today. They’re doing OK. The organization has done an amazing job taking care of their diet plans. Both of them, they’re really good about their nutrition.

“But, all kidding aside, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s where we’re at,” added Cora. “Those two are relentless, they’re working with us, they’re doing their homework, they’re sending in information, and on top of everything that’s going on here, hopefully we can get them back soon here with us.”

In place of Goodwin and Venable, Cora will rely on two minor-league coordinators in Fox and Fenster — both of whom have been with the organization in some capacity since 2011 and 2012, respectively — for the time being.

Fox, 50, has served as Boston’s minor-league infield coordinator since 2011 and as assistant field coordinator since 2019. He also has experience as a minor-league manager and hitting coach as well as a major-league first base and infield coach for the Florida Marlins from 2007 through 2019.

“A person that I really respect and really like,” Cora said of Fox. “He can help [third base coach] Carlos [Febles] while [quality control coach] Ramon [Vazquez] is doing other stuff within the day.”

Fenster, 42, has served as the Sox’ minor-league outfield and baserunning coordinator since 2019 after previously managing the Portland Sea Dogs in 2018 and Greenville Drive from 2014 through 2017.

This summer, Fenster served as Team USA’s third base coach under manager Mike Scioscia and helped the United States baseball team (including Red Sox minor-leaguers Jack Lopez and Triston Casas) win a silver medal in Tokyo.

“I don’t know if the coaches get the medal, but hopefully he did,” Cora joked. “He can bring it here and we can see it.”

While Fox and Fenster will temporarily fill the void left behind by Venable and Goodwin, Cora will still turn to the coaches who have been on his staff throughout the season — such as Vazquez and game planning coordinator Jason Varitek.

“Like I always said, Will is the bench coach but Jason helps me out a lot, too — and Ramon,” said Cora. “Between Ramon and Jason, and Andy running the dugout, they’re going to be trying to get people ready, the lineup card, [mound] visits, and the replay phone.”

When asked if the Red Sox would be able to pull any strings in order to get Venable and Goodwin back to the states sooner than anticipated, Cora could only respond by saying it’s out of the club’s control.

“I think that’s out of our hands, to be honest with you,” he said. “That’s more about the government stuff.”

(Picture of Ernie Young, Darren Fenster, and Mike Scioscia: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Red Sox ride bullpen to 3-1 victory over Marlins in Will Venable’s managerial debut

With Alex Cora in Puerto Rico for his daughter’s graduation from high school and a paid attendance of over 25,000 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were able to hold on and secure a series victory over the Marlins with a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Nathan Eovaldi made his 11th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set and provided the Sox with 5 1/3 quality innings of work.

Over those 5 1/3 innings, the veteran right-hander kept Miami off the scoreboard while scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the evening.

While he did retire 16 of the 22 hitters he faced on Saturday, Eovaldi also dealt with his fair share of foul balls — 26 to be exact — which ultimately led to an uneconomical outing, if that makes sense.

By the time he issued a one-out single to Garrett Cooper in the top half of the sixth, Eovaldi’s pitch count was already over 100, and that resulted in his day coming to a close right then there.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (71 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 46% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six swings-and-misses while topping out at 98.2 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 6-2 on the season while lowering his ERA to 4.01, Eovaldi’s next start should come against his hometown Astros in Houston next Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he stranded the runner he inherited by retiring the side in the sixth before allowing two of the three batters he faced in the seventh to reach base.

Of the three hits Taylor gave up (a single, a ground-rule double, and an infield single, the average exit velocity on those balls put into play was 58.4 mph, so it goes without saying that the lefty was the recipient of some tough luck.

Adam Ottavino came on to face the right-handed hitting Starling Marte, who he walked on five pitches to fill the bases for the meat of the Marlins’ order.

A lengthy battle with Jesus Aguilar wound up going Ottavino’s way, as he got the Miami slugger to whiff on a 3-2 slider. He followed that by fanning Cooper on four pitches, with the fourth and final pitch being an 82 mph slider that got a fiery reaction out of the usually-tepid righty as he made his way back to the Red Sox dugout.

From there, Darwnizon Hernandez got the first two outs of the eighth before handing things over to Hirokazu Sawamura, who, like Ottavino, induced a dramatic, inning-ending strikeout that got him to emphatically pound his chest as he took his leave.

An inning later, Matt Barnes was deployed with a three-run lead to protect, and despite surrendering a run, the Sox closer did just that when he got Cooper to ground into a game-sealing 4-6-3 double play to preserve the win and pick up his 12th save of the year.

All in all, bench coach Will Venable — filling in for Cora — and the rest of the Red Sox coaching staff pieced together a pitching performance in which five relievers were used, only one run was given up, and the final 11 outs were recorded by the Boston bullpen. Not too shabby.

Because of the impressive showing from the Sox’ pitching staff, the Red Sox lineup did not need to do much in terms of offensive firepower on Saturday.

Matched up against Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers, Bobby Dalbec got the scoring started for Boston with an RBI single in the bottom half of the second.

In the fourth, Kevin Plawecki doubled his side’s lead with another run-scoring that plated Hunter Renfroe from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Renfroe himself delivered with an RBI base hit later on in the bottom of the eighth off Miami reliever Adam Cimber, this time driving in Rafael Devers on his third knock of the day.

That put the Red Sox up 3-0, and 3-1 would go on to be Saturday’s final score from Fenway.

Next up: Alcantara vs. Rodriguez

Sunday’s starting pitching matchup between the 24-28 Marlins and 32-20 Red Sox will feature right-hander Sandy Alcantara getting the ball for Miami and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez doing the same for Boston.

First pitch Sunday (weather permitting) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time at Fenway Park. Red Sox will be looking to complete the sweep.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)