OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nick Pivetta pitched two-hit ball over seven innings to win his fifth consecutive start and the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 8-0 on Saturday.
One day after Nathan Eovaldi pitched six scoreless innings in Boston’s series opening win, Pivetta went one better than his teammate and extended a streak of strong starts over the past month by the right-hander.
“It wasn’t as easy as it looked. It was 100 pitches and he had to grind, especially the last inning,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We had a feeling that he was going to have a good one. It’s a very comfortable place to pitch. He was able to attack.”
Alex Verdugo had three hits and two RBIs as Boston won its third straight. Trevor Story doubled twice and made a tremendous defensive play. Xander Bogaerts added an infield single and became the career leader in games started by a Red Sox shortstop.
Pivetta (5-4) was crisp with seven strikeouts and two walks. He allowed one runner past second base and pitched out of that jam by getting Seth Brown to line out and Chad Pinder to fly out.
Since losing at Baltimore on May 1, Pivetta has given up six earned runs in 41 innings — an ERA of 1.32.
That’s in line with the rest of the Red Sox staff. Over the last four games, Boston starters have not allowed an earned run — a stretch of 24 2/3 innings.
“I’m just going out there having fun, repeating what I’ve been doing. I’m not trying to over-analyze it,” Pivetta said. “I’m just trying to go out and compete, have fun and win baseball games. That’s all I really want to do.”
Tanner Houck and Hirokazu Sawamura retired three batters each to complete the four-hitter.
Elvis Andrus and Ramón Laureano each doubled for the A’s. Oakland has lost five…