Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora has a few postgame press conference catch phrases.
But his typical line “it’s a big league win” felt especially true when he pulled it out Saturday, though.
Boston split a doubleheader with the Toronto Blue Jays, dropping Game 1 after a walk-off homer from Marcus Semien. They had stranded two the inning prior. Game 2 appeared to be trending in that direction, too, with everything going wrong on offense. Despite a costly seventh-inning baserunning error, the Red Sox managed a 2-1 win in extras.
“I’ll talk to them tomorrow,” Cora said after Game 2. “Let’s celebrate this one. I promised myself that I’m not gonna look back at that one, you know? Let me celebrate this one, we can talk about it tomorrow.”
The win snapped a three-game losing streak, but things have been trending downward a bit longer than that.
“This one was huge, obviously, the scuffle has been real,” Alex Verdugo said after hitting a game-saving home run in Game 2.
“We’ve dropped a good amount of games out of like our last 10. So, just to come up here, split this doubleheader today, after you know a tough loss in the first game as well, great pitching performance by Pivetta, it’s just big man. Big to come out here, win a game like that and you know kind of trying to get the momentum going back on our side.”
Here are other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— Starting pitching was not the biggest issue Saturday, for what it’s worth.
“We pitched well the whole day, so that’s a positive for us. What Nick (Pivetta) did in the first game and then what Tanner (Houck) and the rest of the crew did in the second one, that’s good,” Cora said. “That’s a good start of what we’re trying to accomplish, getting better pitching wise.”
Before extras, it all seemed to be going downhill for the Red Sox from the moment Pivetta was relieved from his scoreless six-inning start in Game 1.
Cora commended the starter for an “outstanding job,” which was his fifth outing of the season that lasted at least five innings without a run while allowing two or fewer hits. That leads the American League.
Tanner Houck went 3 2/3 innings with a solid six strikeouts. There was traffic, though, as he allowed a run off three hits and two walks.
— Houck’s short day had less to do with him, and more to do with the position Boston was in with its bullpen to really attack Toronto, Cora said.
It ended up working out, with Josh Taylor relieving him, Garrett Whitlock putting in a solid two innings with three strikeouts, Barnes getting the win and setting up Adam Ottavino for the save with runners on in extras.
— Still no results from J.D. Martinez or Jarren Duran’s COVID-19 test. Both players are on the COVID-19-related injury list, and Alex Cora shared the process was a bit delayed due to the team being on the road.
— Chris Sale struck out eight batters in Scranton in what hopefully will be his final rehab start. Boston will assess how he feels tomorrow.
Of note, following Houck’s strong start, he was returned to Triple-A Worcester. Is that Sale’s roster spot?
— One more game decides the series against the Blue Jays. Whether the Red Sox can split will be determined after first pitch Sunday at 1:07 p.m. ET.
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