Pivetta throws 7 shutout innings, Red Sox beat Pirates 5-3


Red Sox

Boston Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta throws to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Nick Pivetta threw a hit in seven innings for his first win since June 24, and the Boston Red Sox scored four runs in the first inning en route to a 5-3 win over the Pirates from Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening.

The Pirates’ only hit, Pivetta, came on Ben Gamel’s two-out single in the first inning on a soft liner to left center. Pivetta (9-9) struck out six and walked three while throwing 99 pitches and striking out his last nine batters.

In his previous eight starts, Pivetta was 0-4 with a 7.24 ERA.

“It was good,” Pivetta said. “I was in the strike zone the whole game which was good. They took a few walks, which was unfortunate but (wide receiver Reese McGuire) did a good job there. We were able to communicate very well and I was able to be proficient in the strike zone.

Pivetta’s exit came after the Red Sox allowed just five runs while winning two of the AL East-leading New York Yankees’ three games over the weekend.

“Based on the starts, I think it’s really important,” Pivetta said. “We can just feed off each other and compete with each other. I emphasized this earlier (in the season), but the most important thing is to zero in on your fellow starting pitchers so you can capitalize on them and keep going.

The Red Sox’s first six batters reached the first inning against Mitch Keller (4-9), which lasted just two innings. He was retired due to right shoulder fatigue. Keller ended up being charged with five runs, four of which were earned, while allowing five hits and three walks with one strikeout.

Keller had pitched the sixth inning in each of his previous seven starts.

“(Pitching coach Oscar Marin) and I were talking, and we didn’t like the way he was coming down the mound,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said of Keller. “As good as his pace is and the way he attacks, he just doesn’t look the same tonight. He said he had no pain, but we didn’t want to risk it.

Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back RBI singles and Kike Hernandez followed with a sacrificial fly in the first.

The Red Sox added another run in the second to make it 5-0 when center fielder Bryan Reynolds dropped the ball two out from Verdugo for an error that allowed Tommy Pham to score.

Pham had two hits and scored two runs as the Red Sox won the fourth time in five games.

However, the Red Sox have been held hitless the past seven innings by relievers Chase De Jong, Austin Brice and Manny Banuelos.

“We have to be better than that,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “The hitting quality deteriorated throughout the game. I’m not saying we were lucky because we had some good at bats early on, especially in the first inning, but we can’t stop. That way you get to the bullpen and all that, but at the end of the day, we’ll take it.

The mistake ended Reynolds’ 190-game error-free streak. Reynolds also had the first ejection of his career in the eighth inning when he was thrown out by plate umpire Roberto Ortiz for pleading for a called third strike.

Gamel immediately followed with a three-point brace to draw the Pirates to 5-3. He had two of Pittsburgh’s three hits as the Pirates lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

John Schreiber got the final in eighth. Matt Barnes threw a ninth 1-2-3 for his third save in five chances.

HOLD THE PHONE

Pirates infielder Rodolfo Castro was suspended for one game by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for having a cellphone in his back pocket during a game last week.

The penalty, which included an undisclosed fine, was set to go into effect Tuesday night when the Pirates hosted Boston. Castro, 23, has appealed and can play until the process is complete.

“I really want MLB to hear my side of the story and make sure they get my heart behind it all,” Castro said through an interpreter.

Castro’s phone flew out of his pocket when he dove headfirst into third base at Arizona on Aug. 9.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Hernandez (right hip flexor hematoma/abdominal muscle) was activated from the 60-day injured list and INF/OF Rob Refsnyder (sprained right knee). came out of IL 15 days. Hernandez had been out since June 8 and Refsnyder since July 30. Hernandez started at shortstop in place of Xavier Bogaerts, who fouled a left-foot fly ball last weekend, and went 0-for-3 with sack fly and two strikeouts. INF Yolmer Sanchez has been nominated for the assignment. … RHP Tanner Houck (lower back inflammation) has a problem with a disc in his lower back. He will undergo treatment the rest of this week and then be re-examined by a spine specialist next week.

Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (middle back muscle strain) was placed on the 10-day IL, retroactive to Aug. 13, and INF Kevin Padlo was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. Padlo started at first base and went 0 for 3.

NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (4-5, 4.75 ERA) will make his third start Wednesday night since missing a month with a sprained left knee.

Pirates: RHP Roansy Contreras (3-2, 3.78 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to make his first major league start since July 7.



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