Nick Pivetta, Red Sox continue wild-card push vs. Orioles

MLB

Nick Pivetta gets the nod for Boston in the finale of a three-game series on the road against Alexander Wells and the Baltimore Orioles as the Red Sox desperately try to hang on to the final American League playoff spot.

Boston (89-69) earned a 6-0 victory against Baltimore on Wednesday to bounce back from a 4-2 loss in the series opener Tuesday. J.D. Martinez homered and drove in three runs while Nathan Eovaldi pitched six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts for the Red Sox.

The win kept the Red Sox in possession of the second AL wild-card spot with four games remaining. Boston pulled within one game of the New York Yankees for the top AL wild card while remaining a half-game ahead of Seattle and one game in front of Toronto.

“It’s fun, it’s fun. (I’m always trying to) see the scores. I didn’t know what happened around the league, but it’s fun,” Martinez told NESN after Wednesday’s win. “This is the best part of the season, and it’s awesome that it’s coming down to this.”

Baltimore (51-107) has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games as it seeks to end a long-lost season on a positive note. The last-place Orioles are 4-14 against the Red Sox this season, with three of those wins coming in a season-opening sweep at Boston on April 2-4.

“To face a good offense in must-win games for them right now and giving up one run into the sixth inning, I think that’s a real positive going forward and taking into next year,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said after Zac Lowther’s five-inning, two-run start on Wednesday.

Pivetta (9-7, 4.52 ERA) has pitched well in the month of September despite being unable to record a win in his three starts. The right-hander has pitched to a 3.14 ERA with five runs allowed and 15 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings this month.

One of those starts was a short 3 2/3-inning outing versus Baltimore on Sept. 18. Pivetta threw just 68 pitches while allowing three earned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out three in an eventual 9-3 Red Sox win.

This season, Pivetta is 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts opposite Baltimore. Overall, he is a perfect 6-0 with a 3.35 ERA and 46 strikeouts over seven career starts against the Orioles.

Baltimore will counter with Wells (1-3, 7.61 ERA) as the young left-hander makes his eighth start of the season.

Wells turned in a decent start last time out in a no-decision versus Texas last Friday. He allowed three runs on five hits — including a home run — while issuing one free pass and recording a strikeout over five innings in an eventual 8-5 loss.

Prior to that, Wells also went five innings in a no-decision at Boston on Sept. 19. Wells allowed six hits and a walk while fanning three in Baltimore’s 8-6 loss. It marked the second time this season the rookie recorded consecutive starts of at least five innings pitched.

Martinez went 1 for 2 with a solo home run against Wells in the Sept. 19 meeting. Current Boston hitters are batting a combined .296 (6-for-20) versus Wells.

–Field Level Media

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