Red Sox look to remain ‘greedy’ in rematch vs. Athletics

The Boston Red Sox will look to keep swinging hot bats when they continue a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

In a 12-9 win Tuesday in the series opener, Boston finished with 13 hits and scored 11 runs over the first two innings. The 12-run outburst was punctuated by back-to-back home runs by Wilyer Abreu and Dominic Smith in an eight-run second inning.

Boston has won seven of its last eight games.

“We talked about being greedy a few weeks ago. We saw a window, but I think the window is getting bigger. It’s actually a door, and we can actually accomplish this,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’re gonna keep looking up there and keep playing good baseball, and let’s see where it takes us.”

It was a busy day up and down the Red Sox lineup, supporting a career-high 11-strikeout effort from Brayan Bello.

Ceddanne Rafaela tripled during a multiple-hit night, extending his rookie-leading RBI total to 51.

“I don’t see any reasons to feel pressured at all,” Rafaela said last weekend.

Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-5, 4.06 ERA) will look to continue his career success against Oakland on Wednesday.

After throwing five shutout innings in a 1-0 April 3 win at Oakland, Pivetta is 6-0 with a 0.71 ERA over six appearances (four starts) in the head-to-head series. He has struck out 44 in 38 career innings.

Pivetta is coming off a masterful outing last Thursday at Miami, striking out 10 over seven innings of one-hit ball. He did not factor into the decision in a 6-5 win in 12 innings by Boston.

The Independence Day start was Pivetta’s second double-digit strikeout performance of the season and curbed a stretch of back-to-back games in which he failed to work five innings.

Cora said that “pounding the strike zone” was the key to that start for Pivetta, who lost a no-hit bid two outs into his final frame.

The Athletics had won four of five to begin July before taking their second straight loss in the series opener. Oakland, however, recorded a 13-hit effort on Tuesday that included three-run homers by Lawrence Butler and Zack Gelof.

Butler has homered three times in his last seven games after starting the season with just two home runs before that span.

“He got to the point where the focus wasn’t just on hitting the ball where it’s pitched, more of just trying to do damage,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said last week. “That’s what we’re working on. He is a complete hitter, using the other side of the field like he did in spring training. You see the results, and that’s the potential.”

Drawing the Wednesday start for Oakland is left-hander JP Sears (5-7, 4.74 ERA), who is coming off dealing five shutout innings in a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. It marked his first win since May 25 and gives him a career-high-tying five victories this season.

“It’s contagious; you just want to do what the guy did before you,” Sears said of his last effort, which helped Oakland sweep the Angels.

Sears did not record a decision in his lone career encounter against the Red Sox. He allowed one run on two hits in five innings on July 9, 2023.

–Field Level Media