The Red Sox dropped their series finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates, falling below .500 after Thursday’s outing.
JT Brubaker was the star of the show at PNC Park. The Pirates starting pitcher held the Red Sox to just one hit through 6 1/3 innings, and the 28-year-old struck out seven batters in as many scoreless innings.
“It’s gonna happen,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We’re better than this. We didn’t swing at strikes, that’s the bottom line. They used their breaking stuff the whole series, and it was going to happen today, again. And he did a good job using it, and then against lefties, it was a different story. He had the two-seamer running in, with two strikes. It was a tough one. Usually, back in the day, it was front hip, now it’s front shoulder or something. It’s up in the zone, but he had good stuff. We didn’t do much today.”
The Red Sox lead Major League Baseball in doubles (267), but their five base hits were all singles. While Boston still won the series, the loss puts the Red Sox 4.5 games back in the American League Wild Card race. However, Cora gave an optimistic outlook on the season ahead, despite not completing the sweep over the Pirates on Thursday.
“I mean, we’re not going to win every game either,” Cora said. “It’s gonna happen, and it’s disappointing. We hate losing, but we took two out of three. Now we got Baltimore, we got Tampa and Toronto. Now you got to win series to gain ground. These are the teams that are ahead of us. We did a good job here. Obviously, today wasn’t great, but you see the positive — two out of three. Now, you gotta get ready for Baltimore. You win the series, you win the next one, you’re in a good place. So it’s time to go. We’re playing good baseball. Today, it wasn’t great, but overall, the last two have been solid.”
Here are more notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Pirates:
— The Red Sox did not hit a home run during the Pirates series, and the last dinger for Boston came from Rafael Devers against the Yankees on Aug. 14. The Red Sox rank in the middle in the MLB when it comes to home runs, and Cora gave an honest assessment of Boston’s offense this season.
“We don’t hit too many home runs,” Cora told reporters. “We hit a lot of doubles. This is where we are. To score runs, we hit the ball in the gap. We have to run the bases well. We have to control the zone. It’s 119 games already. The numbers are the numbers. There’s 43 more games in the season, and we got to find ways to score runs. And I don’t think it’s gonna be a home run.”
— The Pirates made history Thursday as it was just the third time Pittsburgh scored more than seven runs against Boston. The other two occasions being a 9-1 win on Sept. 17, 2014 and Game 1 of the 1903 World Series, when the Red Sox were known as the Boston Americans, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Cy Young was pitching for Boston in that World Series game.
— Heading into Thursday’s matchup, Alex Verdugo had been on a hot stretch since the Major League Baseball All-Star break. The left fielder was batting .348 with a .914 OPS and led the American League in doubles (11). Verdugo only went 1-for-4 against the Pirates on Thursday.
— Christian Arroyo had also been a hot bat for Boston. In the 16 games since returning from the injured list, the infielder was batting .390 (23-for-59), along with a .988 OPS and seven extra-base hits. However, Thursday was a different story. Arroyo went 0-for-4 at the plate, striking out three times.
— Xander Bogaerts had one base hit against the Pirates, but it was good enough to keep him in the top five of hit leaders in the American League with Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge.
— The Red Sox will travel to Camden Yards to take on the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, and full coverage of the game is available using NESN 360 following an hour of pregame.