Red Sox Notes: Jackie Bradley Jr. Failing To Show Offensive Improvement

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay RaysThe Boston Red Sox left the Steel City empty-handed.

The Red Sox suffered a three-game sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Pirates squeaked out a 3-2 win in Thursday’s series finale, which featured an extremely bizarre play in the ninth inning.

Boston now travels to Baltimore for three games against the American League East champion Orioles. Nine games remain on the Red Sox’s schedule.

Let’s look at Thursday’s defeat.

— Brandon Workman overcame a shaky first inning to last five frames.

Workman struggled with his command in the first as the Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead. The right-hander allowed two singles and issued two walks — one to Ike Davis to force in a run — while throwing 32 pitches. An error by third baseman Will Middlebrooks didn’t help matters.

Workman allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits overall. He struck out six, walked three and tossed 95 pitches (61 strikes). Starling Marte took Workman deep in the fifth inning.

It wasn’t a bad outing for Workman, all things considered, but it still resulted in his 10th loss. Workman has lost 10 consecutive decisions dating back to June 10.

— Christian Vazquez threw out Josh Harrison trying to steal second base in the first inning.

Vazquez has thrown out 46 percent of would-be base stealers (12 of 26) this season.

Vazquez also collected two hits and scored two runs.

— Mookie Betts briefly tied the game 1-1 with an RBI single in the third inning. He also stole second base.

Betts is hitting .313 (21-for-67) with a home run, five RBIs, three doubles and 14 runs scored in 17 games this month.

— Chris Stewart singled home Pittsburgh’s second run in the fourth inning, though it wasn’t without controversy.

Jordy Mercer ripped a double down the line before Stewart’s RBI single. Red Sox manager John Farrell argued that the ball was foul, but third base umpire Andy Fletcher disagreed.

— Xander Bogaerts hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox would have liked to have done more damage, though. Vazquez and Garin Cecchini produced back-to-back singles off starter Gerrit Cole to set up runners at the corners with no outs.

Tony Watson minimized the damage, ultimately striking out David Ortiz, who represented the potential go-ahead run.

— The Red Sox squandered a golden opportunity in the ninth inning.

Allen Craig was hit by a pitch. Daniel Nava then singled into right-center field. Jemile Weeks, who pinch ran for Craig and represented the tying run, raced from first to third.

The threat stalled when Middlebrooks hit a chopper down the third base line that struck Weeks in fair territory as he attempted to dive back to the bag. Weeks was called out for runner interference, which completely changed the complexion of the inning.

Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out looking and Vazquez grounded to second base. Ballgame.

— Bradley went 0-for-4. He’s now 1-for-27 since his most recent call-up.

The time down at Triple-A Pawtucket didn’t result in any major changes. The 24-year-old simply can’t gain any traction offensively.

— Craig had another disappointing night. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in addition to getting hit by a pitch.

— The Red Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position, meaning they finished the series 2-for-23 in such situations.

Photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

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