Wong Drives in Career-Best Three Runs, Pivetta Strikes Out 13 as Red Sox Beat Athletics 7-0
When moved to the bullpen in May, Nick Pivetta stuck with the same mindset he had as a starter determined not to let the change affect how he helped the Red Sox.
And now manager Alex Cora is reconsidering a spot in the rotation given Boston's long stretch of games next month without a break.
The right-hander (6-5) matched his career high with 13 strikeouts over six hitless innings of relief in Boston's 1-hitter and Connor Wong hit a two-run double and singled in a run for a career-high three RBIs, leading the Red Sox past the Oakland Athletics 7-0 on Monday night for their eighth win in nine games.
Pivetta's 13 strikeouts were most by a reliever in Red Sox history. He became just the sixth relief pitcher since 1901 to strike out 13 or more.
“I think for me I don’t really know what it is I think I’m doing what I’ve always been doing, going out pitching, it doesn’t matter where I’m pitching or when I’m pitching,” he said. “Just being consistent is the most important thing for me and that’s just what I’m focused on.”
He replaced lefty opener Brennan Bernardino, who worked two innings. It marked Pivetta’s ninth career double-digit strikeout game and first of 2023 — and his most Ks with the Red Sox after striking out 13 while pitching for the Phillies in June 18, 2018, against Saint Louis.
Boston plays 16 straight games without an off day in mid-August, so Pivetta may be called to start again.
“That was impressive,” Cora said. “Good fastball, good command of his off-speed pitches, working ahead, great tempo. ... We were able to extend him again and now he'll be ready, innings-wise and all that he should be ready for Sunday.”
Justin Turner and Adam Duvall added sacrifice flies for Boston, which is 6-1 in a stretch of 12 straight matchups against teams below .500.
The A's managed only Ryan Noda's first-inning single, lost their eighth straight game and dropped a season-high 46 games under .500 at 25-71. The game drew a Red Sox-heavy crowd of 9,987.
Oakland was held to one hit or fewer for the third time this year and was shut out for the 11th. The A's struck out a season-high 18 times.
Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-2), scratched from his previously scheduled start against Boston on July 8 because of illness, allowed a season-high six runs and matched his most hits allowed at nine, pitching 5 2/3 innings.
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A's first-round draft pick Jacob Wilson took batting practice and groundballs with his family watching on the field. The sixth overall selection, he's the son of former major leaguer Jack Wilson.
“It's surreal,” said the younger Wilson, who receives a $5.5 million signing bonus from Oakland.
Manager Mark Kotsay faced the new infielder's father — “Great competitor, great athlete, great shortstop, just a baseball player."
He sees similarities in the son.
Plate umpire Emil Jimenez grabbed at his right leg and was shaken after being hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth. Jimenez stayed in the game after being checked on by the A's athletic training staff.
Red Sox: 3B Rafael Devers was held out with tightness in his right calf that became bothersome during Sunday's road win against the Cubs. Manager Alex Cora hopes it's only a day. ... INF Pablo Reyes (abdominal strain) will join Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday to continue his rehab games. ... RHP Corey Kluber (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in the minors Friday while SS Trevor Story could soon begin a rehab assignment of his own as he works back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. ... C Connor Wong is slated for a day off Tuesday with Jorge Alfaro earning a start. ... LHP Richard Bleier was reinstated from the 15-day injured list and designated RHP Jake Faria for assignment.
Athletics: OF Ramón Laureano (fractured right hand) is set to begin a five-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday. ... RHP Dany Jiménez (shoulder) also will pitch for Las Vegas on Wednesday in his first outing, one inning and 20 pitches. ... LF Brent Rooker returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday with a flu bug.
The Red Sox hadn't announced a starter for Tuesday when they use another opener to pitch opposite RHP Luis Medina (2-7, 6.34 ERA), who relieved opener Sam Long at Boston on July 7.