Coming off a big sweep in New York against the Yankees, and then directly preceding a big three-game set against the Astros, against whom the Red Sox are looking for revenge, this Monday makeup game looked prime for a let down game for Boston. It would have just made too much sense. Except, well, the Red Sox are continuing to prove they’re not that team. Nick Pivetta wasn’t as sharp as he can be, but he still got the results and an offense led by Christian Arroyo’s two-double day put enough on the board to give them their fifth straight victory.
It has been an objectively great season for Nick Pivetta compared to the preseason expectations. Some (read: me) thought he’d be out of the rotation by now, but instead he’s been a steady member of this team’s success all year long. And that has continued of late, too. It just hasn’t looked as pretty in his last few outings as it did in the early portion of his campaign. It should go without saying that it doesn’t need to look pretty, of course. If the results are there, we’ll take it. Which is good, because Monday was another one of those nights where it wasn’t pretty, and he didn’t last long, but at the end of the day he once again kept runs off the board.
In the first inning, it looked like the Red Sox were going to come down hard and early after their big weekend in New York, as Miami immediately threatened. Pivetta caught a little too much plate with pitches to each of the first two batters, and they both hit it on a line for singles. Just like that, there were two on with nobody out and the Marlins had a chance to take the early lead.
Instead, Pivetta buckled down and was able to work his way out of trouble. He got Jesús Aguilar to pop one up on the infield for the first out. Then he went to the pure stuff, getting back-to-back strikeouts and leaving those first two batters stranded at first and second with a goose egg still on the scoreboard for Miami.
Pivetta settled in for the next couple of innings, allowing just a walk in the second and just a walk (and a stolen base, which has been a bit of a problem for the Red Sox) in the third. And over on the other side, the offense was giving him some support. In the bottom half of the first, it was the two-out offense we’ve seen from this lineup all year. Xander Bogaerts hit a two-out single, then went to third on a base hit from Rafael Devers. Standing on third, he made a perfect read on a ball in the dirt and was able to get home safely to get Boston on the lead first with a 1-0 lead.
They’d come backfiring in the third as well, this time starting things off right away rather than waiting for the two outs. Christian Arroyo, who is the latest to get some run in the leadoff spot, led off the inning with a double, and then Alex Verudgo followed it up with one of his own. Two batters up, and one run came home. The Red Sox didn’t add any more, but it was still 2-0 after three innings.
Pivetta wasn’t able to keep that momentum from the second and third innings, however, as Miami started to get to him again in the fourth. Adam Duvall got things started with a one-out double, and then he was able to steal third. After a walk put runners on the corners, Jorge Alfaro came through with a base hit, and Miami was on the board with Boston’s lead cut in half. They had threatened to score more, too, but Pivetta got a huge double play to end that inning with the lead.
And the Red Sox made sure to get that run back and then some in the bottom of the inning. After a quick first out, Kevin Plawecki and Kiké Hernández came through with back-to-back singles to put two on with just one out. A wild pitch then moved each runner up a base, but Bobby Dalbec couldn’t even get the ball in play. His strikeout was the second out, but the Red Sox came through again with two outs.
This time it was Arroyo poking a base hit through the right side, bringing home two runs. Arroyo was also able to move up to second when they tried to throw behind him at first base and the throw got away. Another throwing error would come back to bite them as well. Verdugo hit a base hit out to right field, and Arroyo was going to hold up at third. The throw still came home, however, and sailed way over the catcher. Arroyo read that out of Duvall’s hand, and easily came in to make it a 5-1 game.
Pivetta once again got himself into trouble in the fifth, however, and it was Starling Marte doing the damage here. He was already 2-2, and he added his biggest swing of the game here. Pivetta left slider hanging right over the heart of the plate, and Marte was all over it for a no-doubt homer out to left-center field. Fortunately it was only a solo shot, so Boston still had a three-run lead.
However, the issues for Pivetta didn’t end there, and he allowed two more baserunners before Alex Cora went and got him with two on and two out. Garrett Whitlock got the call to try and finish the inning, and he got the job done with two pitches.
That was all he’d throw on the day, as Cora went with Darwinzon Hernandez in the sixth. The southpaw got a couple of quick outs, but then he gave up a two-out single to Jon Berti in the nine-hole before hitting Jazz Chisholm. Suddenly there were two on and Marte was stepping back up to the plate. Cora went out and got Hirokazu Sawamura for this plate appearance, and he threw four straight balls to load the bases. He started off his next at bat with a ball as well, but was bailed out on the second pitch when Aguilar swung at one way out of the zone.
That seemed to get Sawamura back in gear, and he fought back for a strikeout to leave them loaded and keep the score 5-2. He’d get the call again for the seventh, and had a much easier time that inning, getting them in order.
With the score unchanged heading into the eighth, it was Josh Taylor getting the call for the Red Sox. He started the inning by allowing a base hit, but then got some help from his defense when Arroyo made a nice play in the hole and made a good throw to second (with a good scoop by Bogaerts, too) to get the lead runner for the first out. Taylor followed that up with a walk, though, and suddenly the tying run was at the plate. Taylor got a big strikeout for the second out of the inning, but then Marte was coming back up.
Marte is a right-handed bat, and so Cora made another call to the pen, bringing in Adam Ottavino with two on and two out in a three-run game. It was the right call, as he needed only three pitches to pick up the strikeout and keep the inning alive.
With Matt Barnes unavailable after pitching each of the last three days, Ottavino came back out for the ninth in a save situation. He started things off well with a quick first out, but then the Marlins got a double to try and spark a rally. Ottavino would answer back with a strikeout, but then Marwin Gonzalez knocked down a ball down the third base line. It saved a run, but it also kept the inning alive with Isan Díaz at the plate representing the tying run.
Díaz didn’t tie the game, but he kept the pressure on by poking one through a big hole on the left side for a double. It wasn't hit hard, but it scored one run and put runners on second and third with two outs for Alfaro. Ottavino would thankfully win this battle with a quick ground out to end a slog of a night. But the slog was a 5-3 win, giving them five in a row and pushing their record to 37-23.
The Red Sox now welcome Houston to town for a three-game set starting on Tuesday. Martín Pérez will get the start to go against Framber Valdez. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.