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May 11, 2024 5:55 am

Skidding Red Sox aim for offensive revival vs. Nationals

Red Sox, nationals, hits

The Boston Red Sox will search for solutions to their offensive woes on Saturday when they face the visiting Washington Nationals in the second contest of a three-game series.

Boston’s losing streak reached three games when it dropped a 5-1 decision to Washington on Friday night. The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position during the loss, and are 2-for-29 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 33 baserunners during their three-game skid.

Boston has a 1-6 record in its past seven games, having scored seven runs total in the six losses.

“The way you come out of this is keep putting good at-bats (together), have traffic and at one point we’re going to get the big hit and we’re gonna get in that groove,” Boston manager Alex Cora said following the Friday loss. “But it didn’t happen tonight. We walked five times, but we struck out nine times, too. Just keep working and hopefully (Saturday) is the day.”

The Red Sox are hitting .217 overall and .158 with runners in scoring position during their last seven games.

“Second and third, less that two outs you have to cash in,” Cora said. “For me it’s more about that situational at-bat. I don’t know how many we had (Friday). Probably not many. It seemed like every opportunity was with two outs, but we just gotta keep digging and looking and see where we’re failing and hopefully we can find it (Saturday).”

Timely hitting wasn’t a problem for the Nationals on Friday. Washington scored each of its five runs with two outs and went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

“We stayed on the baseball,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We were really just trying to stay in the middle of the field, and (the hitters) did really well. The two-strike approach was way better today. They’re battling up there. They’re battling. The big thing for us is to get on base, it really is. Move the baseball, get on for the next guy and good things happen.”

The Nationals had a 3-0 lead after three innings and received five strong frames from Patrick Corbin, who earned his first victory of the season.

“When we come out and get the lead early, it gets our pitchers to relax a little bit, the starters,” Martinez said. “We did that and (Corbin) was able to settle in a little bit and gave us what we needed and the bullpen came in and shut it down.”

Boston hitters struck out five times with runners in scoring position. The Red Sox trailed 3-1 when Jarren Duran fanned with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Robert Garcia entered out of the Washington bullpen for that at-bat.

“Our pitchers threw strikes when they needed to,” Martinez said. “They made good pitches when they needed to. It was a good day for our guys. We have to come back (Saturday) and do it again.”

The Nationals will send Jake Irvin (2-3, 3.72 ERA) to the mound on Saturday. He will be opposed by fellow right-hander Cooper Criswell (2-1, 1.74). Neither pitcher has faced the opponent in his career.

Irvin took the loss in his latest start, when Washington dropped a 6-3 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 4. He allowed four runs in five innings, but all four runs were unearned. Irvin gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one.

Criswell didn’t factor in the decision when the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 9-2 on Sunday. He was pulled after throwing 80 pitches and surrendering one run in 4 1/3 innings. Criswell struck out five while yielding five hits and one walk.

–Field Level Media

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