Boston Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta dealt with some early-season struggles, but in his last few games, including Friday night, he has shown much better control, and the offense had his back in a huge way against the Texas Rangers.
It was a group effort on offense that helped Boston beat the Rangers 7-1, and it was lead-off hitter Kiké Hernández who got the groove going for the Red Sox offense. The center fielder got on base four times; with two walks, one hit by pitch and one single, adding in a defensive highlight in the bottom of the third inning.
Pivetta struck out four batters through seven innings and only gave up one run. The Red Sox right hander put in an impressive outing against the Chicago White Sox, but earned his first win Friday night against the Rangers.
“I think it’s the confidence,” catcher Christian Vázquez said to NESN’s Jahmai Webster, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I think strike one for him is very good. When he goes walk, and walk and walk, he gets in trouble, but when he attacks the zone, it’s a different ballgame. Strike one is the key for him.”
Pivetta battled Rangers star shortstop Corey Seager in the bottom of the sixth inning with a 12-pitch at-bat, but Pivetta was in control and struck out Seager with a knuckle curve on a 3-2 count.
“I’m just back to my mechanics, back to my, kind of, flow state, where I was last year,” Pivetta said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Worked really hard on it for the past three weeks. Coaching staff really helped me with that. A lot of group effort that really got me, and I appreciate everybody’s work. It’s just the consistency that I needed.”
Here are some more notes from Red Sox-Rangers:
— Rafael Devers’ single in the third inning extends his hitting streak to seven games. His single opened up the scoring for Boston’s big offensive night.
— J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to 14 games and his on-base streak to 30 games, the most of his career, according to NESN’s postgame coverage. The Red Sox designated hitter batted 2-for-4 Friday, including a double.
— Kutter Crawford came on in the bottom of the eight inning in relief for Pivetta. Crawford pitched two scoreless innings and struck out one batter.
— Alex Verdugo got Boston’s strong sixth inning started with an RBI single. The Red Sox left fielder fouled a ball off his left foot earlier in his sixth inning at-bat, and Bobby Dalbec came on as a pinch-hitter for Verdugo. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Verdugo’s x-ray came back negative but did not comment on his future status.
“It’s good. It’s good,” Verdugo said about his injury, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Sore, but we should be alright.”
— Xander Bogaerts impressed going 2-for-5, including a two-run single in the seventh inning.
The Red Sox and Rangers will continue their series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Full coverage of the game will be available on NESN+ following an hour of pregame coverage.