Nick Pivetta outdueled the best pitcher in the game, at least on the scoreboard.
With Jacob deGrom going for the Mets, you really knew there was one of two ways this game was going to go. Either it was going to be a tremendous pitchers’ duel or it was going to be a blowout for the Mets, because deGrom wasn’t going to give up too much. Fortunately for the Red Sox, it was the former and they came out on the right end of it. Nick Pivetta wasn’t necessarily more dominant in terms of pure stuff, but he got the better results as the Mets gave their ace no run support, as they are wont to do. The Red Sox offense couldn’t get to the Mets bullpen either, to be fair, so it was all about Boston’s pitching being able to give them a narrow victory for a second straight low-scoring win. Despite the lack of offense, the Sox still managed a sweep in Queens.
The Red Sox knew they were going to have their hands full when they arrived at Citi Field in Queens for their series finale against the Mets. The offense has been tremendous this season, but they were coming off a rough night and now had to turn around and face Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in baseball. They did have Nick Pivetta on the other side, who has put together some strong outings himself this season, but the story coming in was going to be what the offense could do against the Mets ace.
And in the first inning things went about as expected, with the Red Sox going down in order. In the second, though, they were able to get to deGrom a bit. Somewhat surprisingly, he was throwing more changeups than we usually see from him, and the Red Sox were able to get to him a bit in that second inning. It started with Xander Bogaerts, who led off the frame with a double out to left field. A couple batters later, Christian Vázquez came to the plate. He saw some tough pitches, but on a high fastball he was able to get his hands through the zone to poke a double of his own out to right field. That brought Bogaerts home, and it gave the Red Sox their lone run off deGrom.
From there, it was about as you’d expect against the Mets righty. They had a couple of small chances here and there, but for the most part it was pure domination against the Red Sox lineup.
Fortunately, Pivetta was indeed up for the challenge on the opposing side. The Mets did make the Red Sox righty work, fouling off a lot of pitches for some long at bats, but the results were phenomenal. It certainly didn’t look like it was going to be that way off the bat when he started the game with a pair of walks, but Pivetta was somehow able to sneak his way out of that inning without any runs crossing the plate.
As it would turn out, that would be New York’s last best chance against the former Phillie, with whom they are familiar. After his team took the lead in the top half of the second, Pivetta got the job done in getting the shut down inning. He did give up a single — the only hit the Mets would manage off him in the game — but a double play gave him a relatively easy three-batter inning.
He’d then toss a perfect third inning, though it was interrupted by a delay when home plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit in the face with a ball that was fouled back. He staggered pretty badly after being struck and was removed from the game, leaving three umpires for the rest of the night.
From there, Pivetta had two more strong innings in him before his night ended. He allowed two more baseunners over those two innings on a hit batter and a walk, but no runs. In all, he got through the five shutout innings on one hit, three walks and one hit batter while striking out seven. As I said, there were some efficiency problems and he couldn’t finish batters off when he had the chances, but overall it was a really strong outing.
With Pivetta out of the game, it was Garrett Whitlock getting the call for the sixth with the score still 1-0 Red Sox. It wasn’t a perfect inning as he gave up a single on a ball that got through the opposite side of the shift and then issued a two-out walk. He was able to work around the issue, though, getting a little swinging tapper to finish out the inning with the lead still in hand.
The Red Sox were able to get to the Mets bullpen for the seventh, but the results didn’t get much better as they sent only three to the plate. Whitlock was ready to match that, though. With rain starting to come down, the Red Sox rookie had a perfect inning to give him a second scoreless frame on the night.
After Boston once again failed to add any more to their total in the eighth, it was Adam Ottavino for the bottom half of the inning. He started the inning off with a strikeout, and then got a little help from his defense with Marwin Gonzalez making the big play at second base to snag a line drive. Throw in a routine fly ball from Pete Alonso, and it was yet another clean inning from the Red Sox pitching staff.
With another scoreless inning coming in the top of the ninth, it was Matt Barnes looking to keep his stellar season going, coming in to protect a 1-0 lead. He continued to exist on a higher plane of existence, striking out the side in a perfect inning to close this one out and help the Red Sox push their record to 16-9.
The Red Sox now head out to Texas for a four-game set against the Rangers. They’ll have Martín Pérez on the mound for the opener while Kyle Gibson goes for Texas. First pitch on Thursday is set for 8:05 PM ET.