Nick Pivetta strikes out 10, pitches Red Sox past A’s 1-0
The Red Sox absolutely needed this kind of deep, efficient outing from Nick Pivetta with Boston's bullpen drained and down following a pair of extra-inning games.
His emotion on the mound also provided great energy with many Red Sox fans in the seats.
Pivetta struck out 10 over seven innings to win for the first time in seven starts, Boston went ahead on a double-play groundout by Rafael Devers in the sixth and the Red Sox capped a winning series against the Oakland Athletics with a 1-0 victory Sunday.
"I'm an emotional, energized guy. I really care about everybody on this team, I really want to do good for them, every single day I want to show up for them," Pivetta said. "And I want to pump them up, too. I want to be energetic and I want us to have fun, and I want us to go out there and show ourselves every single night."
The teams played a third straight one-run game after splitting a pair of extra-inning contests, including Oakland's 7-6, 12-inning victory Saturday that snapped Boston's eight-game winning streak.
Pivetta (7-3) allowed two hits and walked two. He had been 0-3 since beating Atlanta on May 26.
"He was incredible today," Oakland's Chad Pinder said.
Manager Alex Cora sure appreciated not having to further tax his relievers and how Pivetta realized the task.
"Outstanding," Cora said. "He set the tempo right away in the first inning. He struck out the side. He understands where we're at. ... Probably his best one."
Alex Verdugo had two hits for a Red Sox squad that is 10-3 during a stretch with 16 straight games and 19 in 20 days.
Garrett Whitlock pitched the eighth for Boston before All-Star closer Matt Barnes escaped trouble to finish for his 19th save in 23 chances. He allowed Matt Olson's leadoff single then a one-out walk to Jed Lowrie.
Matt Chapman's two-out single in the first extended his streak reaching base to 21 games but Pivetta still struck out the side that inning.
"It seemed like each game had a different personality to it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Both starting pitchers were fantastic today. Tough to get good swings off him let alone string together a bunch of hits."
James Kaprielian hung tough in a pitcher's duel. The A's right-hander struck out a career-best 10 batters over seven innings with one walk, allowing one run on five hits.
"That's a good baseball team over there, and I think we're a good baseball team, too," Kaprielian said.
Kaprielian (4-3), who has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his 10 starts, lost his second straight outing.
OLSON AN ALL-STAR
Slugging A's first baseman Olson was picked for the AL All-Star team for the first time in his six-year career.
He has 20 homers and 53 RBIs after a forgettable 2020 year in which he batted .195 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs playing all 60 games of the shortened season.
Manager Bob Melvin told him in front of his teammates before the game. Not since Yonder Alonso in 2017 has an A's first baseman represented Oakland in the Midsummer Classic.
"It's a special moment ... I don't know what to expect. I want to go in, soak it up and have fun with it for sure," Olson said. "Last year in a way kind of put a chip on my shoulder. I'm not trying to be one of those guys but I had a really bad year last year in my opinion and I thought in a way it let the team down. We came up short of a World Series last year."
Red Sox: INF Christian Arroyo is scheduled to be activated Monday from an injured list stint for a bruised right knee. He played for Triple-A Worcester on Saturday. Cora said Arroyo would go through a full workout on the field Monday in Anaheim as the Red Sox get a look at how he has recovered.
Athletics: DH Mitch Moreland was placed on the injured list without explanation, and Melvin said he couldn't provide further details per baseball's guidelines but it wasn't immediately clear whether that meant he was on the COVID-19 IL. ... RF Stephen Piscotty was activated from the IL sooner than expected but not in the lineup after missing 15 games with a sprained left wrist. He went 0 for 4 in a rehab appearance with Class A Stockton on Saturday.
The A's had won eight straight on the Fourth of July, so this marked their first loss on Independence Day since a 2-1 defeat at Seattle in 2011.
LHP Martín Pérez (6-4, 4.04) takes the ball for Boston on Monday night at Angel Stadium trying to win his third straight decision.
After a day off Monday, RHP Chris Bassitt (9-2, 3.04) pitches for the A's in a key series at rival Houston.
"It's a big series leading up to the break," Melvin said.