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Apr 21, 2024 7:17 am

Red Sox seek road series sweep vs. struggling Pirates

Kenley Jansen

The visiting Boston Red Sox will look to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon when the teams wrap up a three-game series.

After winning the series opener 8-1 on Friday night, Boston earned a 4-2 victory Saturday. The Red Sox have five home runs in the two games and have 29 homers in 22 games this season.

Their victory Saturday might have been costly, however, as first baseman Triston Casas left the game with rib discomfort shortly after batting in the first inning.

Entering the matchup, Casas had homered four times in the past seven games. He hit one of Boston’s four home runs in Friday night’s victory.

“We’ll know more over the course of the night,” Boston manager Alex Cora said after Saturday’s win. “There was a swing in that first at-bat where he kind of like stretched out. He came in and said, ‘I can play defense, but you need somebody to hit for me the next at-bat.'”

Boston already is without third baseman Rafael Devers, who did not play in his third straight game Saturday because of a bone bruise in his left knee. Devers has missed nine games this season because of injury.

Cora said he hopes Devers can return for Tuesday’s game at Cleveland.

“I talked to him (Saturday) morning, and I said if we can actually get away with these two days (Saturday and Sunday against Pittsburgh) and the off day and be ready for Tuesday, that would be great,” Cora said. “He felt like it was a good plan.”

Pittsburgh has lost five games in a row after opening the season with 11 wins in 16 games.

“I didn’t think our approach was bad often today,” manager Derek Shelton said. “It’s just when we had some crucial at-bats, in those situations, we didn’t really execute our plan.”

Pittsburgh is 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.

“You’ve just got to score,” said Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who had three hits Saturday. “Sometimes, you go through little ruts. We’re in a rut right now. It’s still April 20. We’ve got time to make adjustments in the box, so we’re going to make adjustments.”

Left-hander Martin Perez (1-0, 2.55 ERA) is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh on Sunday. Perez is 5-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 10 career games (nine starts) against the Red Sox.

Perez went 10-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 35 games for the Rangers last season, 20 of them starts. He moved from the rotation to the bullpen in August and made three relief appearances in the playoffs to help Texas win its first World Series title. He signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh in the offseason.

Right-hander Josh Winckowski (1-1, 4.63 ERA) will get the start for the Red Sox on Sunday. He is 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA in two appearances (one start) against the Pirates.

Boston closer Kenley Jansen earned his fifth save of the season by striking out the side in the ninth inning Saturday. It was the 425th save of his career, fifth most in major league history.

–Field Level Media

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