Rich Hill Credits Red Sox Defense In Bounce-Back Win Vs. Pirates

Hill went five innings Wednesday night against Pittsburgh


August 17

Rich Hill overcame his struggles Wednesday night as the Red Sox continue their chase for an American League Wild Card spot.

Boston beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-3, securing its third straight series win. Hill took the mound after volunteering to be a bullpen asset to the Red Sox. The southpaw in a starting role went five innings and struck out four batters while only giving up two runs on three hits.

“We talked about his last outing, and obviously, it didn’t go the way he wanted,” manager Alex Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “And he takes pride in going five or six because he knows what it means, bullpen-wise. And he felt like the last one was better than the one in Houston. And in this one, he didn’t rush. They got two hits, two runs, and he knew, kind of like, ‘I gotta slow down here.’ And he did an amazing job.”

Hill went five innings for the first time since Boston’s June 26 win over the Cleveland Guardians, where the Red Sox also won, 8-3. The left-hander has taken responsibility for his recent struggles, but he recovered well after giving up the opening two runs Wednesday in the bottom of the first inning.

“We expect him to pitch well,” Cora said. “The one against Houston, it was on short notice. It was a phone call — ‘Hey, you’re pitching in Houston.’ He hasn’t pitched in a while, and there’s a guy who has some command, but it’s not coming in the zone. It’s that fastball up in the zone that they chase, and the breaking ball was sharp today. The slider was good. He got some lefties out, and it’s what we needed.”

Hill commented on his outing Wednesday, and he gave credit to Boston’s play on defense.

“We played great defense,” Hill told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “A lot of great action, great job behind the dish tonight. It was efficient. A lot of action within the first three pitches. Guys played great defense. (Xander Bogaerts) was excellent out there with his Gold Glove defense. It was good to obviously come out first inning, give up a couple but stay within the parameters of keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win. And I think that was buckling down and staying in the moment. It ended up being a good outing.”

The win Wednesday put the Red Sox four games back in the AL Wild Card standings as Boston will look to go for the sweep over the Pirates on Thursday. 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.

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