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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Red Sox complete sweep of reeling Pirates with 6-1 victory

    Boston Red Sox's Connor Wong, left, celebrates with Wilyer Abreu (52) after they scored on a single by teammate Reese McGuire off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ryder Ryan during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    Pittsburgh — Wilyer Abreu had three hits and drove in two runs and the Boston Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

    Abreu's RBI single off Martín Pérez (1-1) in the third gave the Red Sox the lead for good. He added another RBI single in the sixth as Boston continued its strong play away from Fenway Park. Reese McGuire added a pinch-hit two-run single for the Red Sox, who improved to 10-3 on the road so far this season.

    Boston bounced back after a bumpy homestand by keeping the Pirates in check yet again. Justin Slaten (1-0) worked two scoreless innings in relief to earn the victory as the Red Sox's road ERA dropped to 1.45.

    Perhaps just as importantly, Boston found a way to take care of the Pirates without third baseman Rafael Devers and outfielder Tyler O'Neill. O'Neill is on the injured list and Devers didn't play in the series while nursing a bone bruise in his knee, forcing the Red Sox to rely even more on players such as the 24-year-old Abreu.

    Asked how his team has responded despite having so many key players unavailable, manager Alex Cora just shrugged.

    “Youth, to be honest with you,” he said. “They don’t know any better. Some of them, you know, they just show up every day, willing to work.”

    Ke'Bryan Hayes had two of Pittsburgh's seven hits and drove in the Pirates' only run with a first-inning sacrifice fly. Pittsburgh has dropped six straight to fall to .500 (11-11) for the first time this season.

    “It was a sloppy game,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We didn’t play well. You can point out multiple things that we need to clean up. In certain situations, guys are trying to do a little too much. In certain situations, we just played sloppy.”

    The Pirates have scored just nine runs during their slide and did little against five Red Sox pitchers. Pittsburgh didn't help itself with a couple of baserunning mistakes to take away scoring opportunities. Hayes and Jack Suwinski were both thrown out at second — Hayes in the fourth, Suwinski in the sixth — trying to grab an extra base in hopes of sparking a struggling offense.

    Pérez, labored through four-plus innings. The veteran left-hander, who had been sharp in his first four starts with the Pirates, gave up four runs in four-plus innings, with four walks and seven strikeouts. Pérez left in the fifth after Abreu led off with a double and Connor Wong walked.

    Pittsburgh reliever Ryder Ryan came on and gave up a flare to center by McGuire, a former Pirates prospect, that made it 4-1, more than enough considering Pittsburgh's current issues at the plate.

    Josh Winckowski, a reliever these days, made his first start since last August and just his second since the end of the 2022 season for Boston. The right-hander worked 3 1/3 innings, giving up one run and three hits with a strikeout before being removed after 46 pitches. Winckowski is optimistic that what the starting pitchers have done without Lucas Giolito (elbow surgery) is sustainable.

    “People are saying we need help in the rotation and the rotation (stinks) and whatnot,” Winckowski said. “So really happy for all the guys to be proving everyone wrong.”

    Trainer’s room

    Red Sox: Placed 1B Triston Casas on the 10-day injured list with a left rib strain. Casas injured the rib while fouling off a pitch in the first inning on Saturday. Boston called up C Tyler Heineman from Triple-A Worcester to take Casas' spot on the roster. ... Cora said after the game he expects Devers and O'Neill to be available this week.

    Pirates: C Yasmani Grandal (left foot), who is rehabbing at Triple-A Indianapolis, will be evaluated by the team early in the week. Grandal general manager Ben Cherington said Sunday that Grandal could come off the injured list “not too long from now.”

    Up next

    Red Sox: Are off Monday before beginning a three-game series in Cleveland on Tuesday. The Guardians took 3 of 4 from Boston at Fenway Park last week.

    Pirates: Welcome NL Central rival Milwaukee to PNC Park on Monday to start a four-game set. Rookie Jared Jones (1-2, 3.13 ERA) starts for Pittsburgh. Joe Ross (1-1, 4.91) is scheduled to start for the Brewers.

    Boston Red Sox's Reese McGuire, left, celebrates on first base after driving in two runs with a single off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ryder Ryan (not shown) during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
    Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Winckowski delivers during the second inning of the team's baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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