It took some wildly improbable breaks, but the Red Sox will take it.

The Red Sox beat the Cubs 4-2 in 11 innings on Sunday to avoid the three-game sweep and finish the nine-game road trip 5-4. The win came thanks to a pair of defensive lapses by Chicago, including a two-run throwing error in the top of the 11th that put the Red Sox ahead for good.

Boston led 2-1 for most of the game, but the Cubs tied it up with a Patrick Wisdom solo home run off Matt Strahm in the bottom of the eighth. Tanner Houck came on and pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game to extras, and Jake Diekman pitched around a leadoff hit by pitch to keep the Cubs off the board in the 10th.

The Red Sox took the lead after Trevor Story hit an infield chopper a couple of feet in front of the plate. The ball was fielded by Cubs reliever Rowan Wick, who threw the ball over the first baseman to allow both Christian Arroyo and Bobby Dalbec to score.

The play would have been the third out of the inning.

Diekman came back on in the 11th and struck out the side to finish things off. The Red Sox leave Chicago 44-35 on the year and will now welcome Tampa Bay for the first of a three-game set at Fenway Park on Monday.


Bogaerts leaves game with apparent leg injury, Cubs tie game in eighth

Xander Bogaerts left Sunday's game against the Chicago Cubs after getting spiked on a close play at second base.

The Red Sox shortstop was hurt after Willson Contreras caught him in the left leg with his cleats while sliding into second on a stolen base attempt. Bogaerts tagged him out after he slipped off the bag, but he immediately called for the trainer and was subsequently pulled from the game.

Bogaerts was replaced in the lineup by Trevor Story, who had originally been given the day off, and Christian Arroyo moved over to shortstop.

No official updates have been provided on Bogaerts' condition.

Despite the lengthy delay that resulted from the play, Red Sox pitcher John Schreiber was able to get out of what had previously been a tight jam unscathed. Before Contreras was caught stealing he faced a two-on, one-out situation, but after that he was able to strike out Ian Happ to preserve the 2-1 lead.

It wouldn't last long, however, as Patrick Wisdom led off the eighth inning with a solo home run off Matt Strahm to tie the game at 2-2.


Sox take 2-1 lead following bizarre infield pop fly

Sooner or later the Red Sox were bound to finally have something go their way.

After struggling to get any kind of offense going throughout the weekend, the Red Sox caught a break in the top of the fourth when Franchy Cordero hit a sky high infield popup that was lost in the sun and fell in for a base hit.

That play came with two men on and one out, and Alex Verdugo came around to score and tie the game as a result.

Bobby Dalbec would subsequently single to load the bases, and Jarren Duran gave the Red Sox the lead after coming back from down 0-2 to walk in the go-ahead run. That brought Rafael Devers to the plate with a chance to do some real damage, but Devers struck out to end the inning and leave the Red Sox leading just 2-1 heading into the fifth.


Seabold escapes early jam, but Sox offense struggling again

Things did not get off to a good start for the Red Sox on Sunday, but if not for Connor Seabold things could have started a whole lot worse.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Rafael Ortega led off the game with a double to left that got past Alex Verdugo, and he came around to score on a Willson Contreras RBI single. Contreras subsequently took second when Jarren Duran's attempt to throw out Ortega at the plate went way off the mark, but Seabold was able to limit the damage to one after recording three quick outs to end the inning.

Seabold pitched around a walk and an infield single to put runners at the corners to escape the second scoreless too, but the Red Sox offense hasn't been able to capitalize so far. Boston has already grounded into two inning-ending double plays, the latter of which came with two men on and one out to end the top of the third.


Seabold to start Sunday, Valdez to be sent down

After several days of indicating he'd get the ball, Red Sox manager Alex Cora officially confirmed rookie Connor Seabold will be Boston's starting pitcher in Sunday's series finale against the Chicago Cubs.

While no official roster moves have been announced by the club, Cora said relief pitcher Phillips Valdez would most likely be sent down to Triple-A to fill space for Seabold.

Sunday will mark Seabold's third big league start and his second of this week's road trip. He first came up to start last Monday's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, during which he generated 21 swing and misses but otherwise got shelled, allowing seven runs in 4.2 innings.

Cora also indicated that J.D. Martinez and Trevor Story will both get the day off, saying they could use a breather.

In other pregame updates:

  • Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) will throw his next bullpen session on Tuesday.
  • Nathan Eovaldi (lower back inflammation) is expected to throw an up-and-down bullpen session on Tuesday as well.
  • Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor strain) is feeling good after taking 20 swings during batting practice Saturday. He is trending in the right direction and may begin his rehab assignment Friday or Saturday.
  • Chris Sale (rib) will pitch his next rehab assignment Wednesday in Worcester. It may wind up being his last before rejoining the big league club.
  • The next step for Matt Barnes (shoulder) will be throwing live batting practice, and after that he may be ready to start a rehab assignment.

Here is how the two clubs line up for Sunday.

Red Sox

  • Jarren Duran CF
  • Rafael Devers 3B
  • Xander Bogaerts SS
  • Alex Verdugo LF
  • Christian Vázquez C
  • Rob Refsnyder RF
  • Franchy Cordero DH
  • Bobby Dalbec 1B
  • Christian Arroyo 2B
  • Connor Seabold P

Cubs

  • Rafael Ortega CF
  • Willson Contreras DH
  • Ian Happ LF
  • Patrick Wisdom 3B
  • Nico Hoerner SS
  • P.J. Higgins C
  • Alfonso Rivas 1B
  • Nelson Velázquez RF
  • Christopher Morel 2B
  • Keegan Thompson P

VIDEO: Sunday pre-game check-in


FINAL: Cubs 3, Red Sox 1

The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field haven't been so friendly for the Red Sox so far.

The Red Sox dropped their second straight game to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, managing only five hits in a 3-1 loss.

With the loss, Boston has now lost the series and will be looking to avoid the sweep Sunday.

Chicago took advantage of two Boston throwing errors in the second inning to score a pair of runs, and in the eighth extended their lead on a Patrick Wisdom RBI single. Boston was able to get the winning run to the plate after Jarren Duran doubled to lead off the ninth and Xander Bogaerts walked with two outs, but Alex Verdugo flied out to left to end the game. 


Red Sox bats silent as Cubs hold 2-1 lead

For the second night in a row the Red Sox offense has been oddly stagnant.

Despite Cubs starter Alec Mills leaving the game due to injury after recording only one out, the Red Sox have not been able to do any damage against the Cubs bullpen. Through the bottom of the sixth the Red Sox have only managed four hits, and the club's lone run came after Rafael Devers grounded into a double play with no outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at third.

Mark Leiter Jr., who came on in relief of Mills, pitched outstanding. He went 5.1 innings and allowed just the one run on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

On the plus side for the Red Sox, rookie Josh Winckowski has been excellent once again. He's gone six innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He's thrown 94 pitches, 63 for strikes, and his season ERA is now down to 3.12 through his first five big league starts.

He is still on the hook for the loss though, with the Cubs leading 2-1 in the top of the seventh.


Cubs starter Mills leaves game after seven pitches

Chicago Cubs starter Alec Mills left the game after just seven pitches due to lower back tightness, the club announced.

Mills, who came into the game with a 9.87 ERA over 17.1 innings, struck out Jarren Duran to lead off the game but then surrendered a double to Rafael Devers. He immediately was looked at by the trainer and left the game following Devers' hit, prompting a lengthy delay while Mark Leiter Jr. warmed up to take over.

The Cubs subsequently announced Mills' injury and that he's undergoing further evaluation. Leiter has pitched well in his place so far, throwing 1.2 scoreless innings through the top of the second with one hit, no walks and two strikeouts.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are having all kinds of trouble defensively. The Cubs scored two runs in the bottom of the second thanks to back-to-back throwing errors by Rafael Devers and Josh Winckowski. The latter allowed Patrick Wisdom to score on a Nico Hoerner bunt, and he came around to score shortly afterwards on a Narciso Crook sacrifice fly.

The Cubs lead 2-0 entering the third.


Hill placed on 15-day injured list

Red Sox starting pitcher Rich Hill was placed on the 15-day injured list Saturday, a day after he suffered a sprained left knee during the series opener against the Cubs.

Phillips Valdez has been called up from Triple-A Worcester to fill Hill's spot.

The injury marks the latest blow to the Red Sox rotation, which has been getting by without Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock over the past month and Chris Sale throughout the first half of the season. 

The 42-year-old Hill has gone 4-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 starts, but with him on the shelf the Red Sox will have to continue to lean on its Triple-A depth, including rookies Josh Winckowski, Connor Seabold, Kutter Crawford and top pitching prospect Brayan Bello.


Whitlock will return to bullpen following return from injury

Help is on the way for the Red Sox bullpen, and once again it's coming from within.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed Saturday that when Garrett Whitlock is activated from the injured list he will return to the multi-inning reliever role he thrived in upon his arrival in Boston last season.

"It's pretty likely he'll be in the bullpen," Cora said. "We were talking about taking care of him and all that, but it will be like what he did last year, a multiple-inning guy."

Originally a starting pitcher throughout his professional career, the Red Sox used Whitlock out of the bullpen last year after acquiring him in the Rule 5 Draft to help ease him back after missing significant time due to Tommy John surgery. He responded by delivering a historic rookie season, posting a 1.96 ERA in 46 games while emerging as the team's closer down the stretch.

This season he once again started in the bullpen before shifting to the starting rotation. While not as dominant as out of the bullpen, Whitlock still proved up to the task, posting a 4.15 ERA in nine starts before going on the 15-day injured list in early June with right hip inflammation.

Cora said that Whitlock's role won't be affected by Rich Hill's knee injury, and if the veteran spends time on the injured list they should be able to get coverage from the club's rookies before Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi return from their respective injuries.

As for Whitlock, he threw on the field at Wrigley with pitching coach Dave Bush Saturday and Cora said they will see how he feels tomorrow before deciding on the next steps. 

"He's trending in the right direction but he still has to face hitters," Cora said.

In other injury news:

  • Rich Hill is awaiting the results of an MRI on his sprained left knee. The veteran told reporters based on his past injury history the injury could warrant a trip to the injured list, but he and Alex Cora both said they'll wait and see before making a decision.
  • Nathan Eovaldi (lower back inflammation) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session at Fenway Park today. "He felt good," Cora said.
  • Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor strain) took 20 swings at Fenway Park. Cora said he's trending in the right direction and if everything goes well this week he might go on a rehab assignment Friday or Saturday.
  • Chris Sale (rib) threw his regularly scheduled bullpen Saturday and is in line to make his next and possibly last rehab start in Worcester on Wednesday.
  • James Paxton (Tommy John surgery) threw 32 pitches during a bullpen session. "He's slowly but surely getting to throwing changeups and a good fastball, he's feeling good about where he's at."
  • Matt Barnes (right shoulder inflammation) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Thursday. He'll start with live batting practice on Monday.
  • Josh Taylor (back) will pitch today for the Portland Sea Dogs. 

VIDEO: Saturday pre-game check-in


Rookie starters to shoulder load for remainder of series

The kids are getting their chance to play.

With the Red Sox starting rotation still dealing with a litany of injuries, rookies Josh Winckowski and Connor Seabold are expected to shoulder the load for the remainder of this weekend's Cubs series. Winckowski will make his fifth big league start tonight, and while Sunday's starter hasn't been officially announced, Seabold is in Chicago with the taxi squad and the expectation is he'll get the ball.

Winckowski has given the Red Sox a major boost since making his debut earlier this spring. The 24-year-old, originally acquired in the Andrew Benintendi trade, is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA through his first four starts. He's been particularly good lately, shaking off a bad debut to go at least five innings with two or fewer runs allowed in each of his last three outings, all victories.

Seabold's big league track record isn't as strong, but he's still an intriguing young pitcher. The 26-year-old allowed seven runs over 4.2 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays last Monday, but despite that he also generated 21 swing and misses, the most by a Red Sox starter in a game this season, and has been dominant at Triple-A.

The Red Sox have also gotten big league contributions from rookie Kutter Crawford, who is currently in Worcester but has appeared in 10 games and made two starts for Boston, and top pitching prospect Brayan Bello is getting tantalizingly close. Bello has posted a 2.81 ERA over 51.1 innings since his call-up to Triple-A, and if Rich Hill isn't able to make is next start due to Friday's injury, Bello would seem like a candidate to fill his spot for at least one turn of the rotation.

Today's lineups are as follows:

Red Sox

  • Jarren Duran CF
  • Rafael Devers 3B
  • J.D. Martinez DH
  • Xander Bogaerts SS
  • Alex Verdugo LF
  • Trevor Story 2B
  • Franchy Cordero 1B
  • Kevin Plawecki C
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. RF
  • Josh Winckowski P

Cubs

  • Rafael Ortega CF
  • Willson Contreras DH
  • Ian Happ LF
  • Patrick Wisdom 3B
  • Nico Hoerner SS
  • Yan Gomes C
  • Narciso Crook RF
  • Alfonso Rivas 1B
  • Christopher Morel 2B
  • Alec Mills P

Hill says he feels 'stupid' for trying to pitch through knee injury

When Rich Hill hurt his knee during the bottom of the fifth inning, he did what many athletes naturally do when something like that happens. He tried to tough it out and pitch through the pain.

That wasn't a good idea, and it wasn't long before he knew it.

"I feel stupid for staying in to be honest with you, stubborn. I put us in a really bad position and unfortunately that falls on me," Hill said. "I thought it was going to be a little tweak and pitch through it but we'll find out what the extent of what's going on in the next couple of days."

After he left the game the Red Sox announced Hill suffered a left knee sprain, which Hill said happened on the first pitch with two outs in the fifth. At that point Hill had allowed two runs on two hits through the first 4.2 innings, but from that point on he became noticeably less effective. He walked Willson Contreras, allowed a single to Ian Happ and then hit Patrick Wisdom to load the bases, after which Cora removed him from the game.

Cora said afterwards they should know more about the extent of the injury soon.

"We'll know more during the night and tomorrow and we'll go from there," he said.

Losing Hill would be yet another blow for a starting rotation that is already without Garrett Whitlock and Nathan Eovaldi. Hill is having another quality season at age 42 and currently stands at 4-4 with a 4.20 ERA on the season.

The good news is even if Hill does miss time, the Red Sox are expecting to get some rotation help back in the coming weeks. Whitlock is nearing a potential return and Chris Sale is on track to make his season debut at some point before the All-Star break.

But even if Hill's injury is serious enough to keep him out, the veteran said he's confident he'll be able to bounce back.

"I'm just hoping for the best, but either way I've been through a lot in this game and I know I can recover from whatever it is and be back at some point," Hill said.


FINAL: Cubs 6, Red Sox 5

The Red Sox bullpen did not have its best day.

Given a two run lead in the bottom of the sixth, Hansel Robles and Jake Diekman combined to allow seven straight baserunners and three runs, all with two outs in the inning. The Cubs tied the game on a towering two-run home run by Christopher Morel off Robles and then loaded the bases when Willson Contreras walked, Ian Happ doubled and Patrick Wisdom walked.

Alex Cora summoned Diekman, who promptly allowed the go-ahead run to score on a wild pitch. The Cubs then walked again to reload the bases before Diekman finally struck out Alfonso Rivas to end the threat.

That turned out to be all the offense Chicago needed, as the Red Sox failed to mount any offense the rest of the way before Cubs closer David Robertson shut the door for the save in his 700th career appearance. All told Red Sox pitchers walked 10 batters, which went a long way towards allowing the Cubs to win despite going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position while stranding 11 runners.


Duran gives Sox breathing room with RBI single

Jarren Duran is having himself quite a game.

After leading off with a home run on the game's first pitch, Duran added an RBI single in the top of the sixth to give the Red Sox some breathing room.

The ball was blooped into shallow center field just over the outstretched glove of Andrelton Simmons, but with two outs Christian Vázquez attempted to score on the play as well and was easily thrown out at the plate by Cubs center fielder Rafael Ortega.

Duran is now 2 for 4 with two RBI on the day. The Red Sox lead 5-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth.


Cubs chase Hill, Sox lead down to 4-3 entering sixth

What looked like it was trending towards a rout has suddenly become much more interesting.

After allowing just one hit through four shutout innings, Rich Hill came back out for the bottom of the fifth and things quickly went awry. He allowed a walk and an RBI triple to open the inning and got looked at by the trainer after suffering what the club later announced was a left knee sprain. He stayed in the game but allowed another run to score on a groundout and subsequently reloaded the bases with a walk, single and a hit by pitch with two outs.

Alex Cora then called upon Tyler Danish to put out the fire, which he eventually did but not before walking in a run to make it 4-3. Alfonso Rivas wound up recording the final out on a high fly ball to deep center field, which Jarren Duran collected to end the threat.

Hill finished the day with 4.2 innings pitched, three hits, three earned runs, four walks, three strikeouts and a hit by pitch. He threw 75 pitches, 43 for strikes.


Duran homers on first pitch, Bradley breaks skid

After sitting out the last three games in Toronto, Jarren Duran wasted no time making his presence felt.

The Red Sox rookie lead off Friday's game with a solo home run, pouncing on the first pitch of the game for a tape-measure shot to straightaway center field. It was the first of many hard hit balls the Red Sox got off Chicago Cubs starter Adrian Sampson, who has been knocked around through the first two innings.

Following Duran's 417-foot shot, Rafael Devers immediately smoked towering foul ball to right field that cleared the stadium, and after he grounded out J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts both singled before Alex Verdugo grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Then in the top of the second Trevor Story reached on an error by the third baseman, Franchy Cordero singled and Christian Vázquez walked to load the bases. That brought up Jackie Bradley Jr., who broke out of his 0 for 26 slump by clearing the bases with a three-run double to make it 4-0.

Rich Hill, upon taking the mound for the bottom of the first, struck out the side for a scoreless frame. He allowed a double to the ivy-covered walls to Ian Happ but got Christopher Morel, Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom swinging. He walked a man in the second but otherwise remains scoreless through two.


VIDEO: Friday pregame check-in


Sale to make next rehab appearance in Worcester next Wednesday

Chris Sale's return to the big leagues appears imminent.

Thursday night the Red Sox ace made his latest rehab appearance in Portland, throwing four innings while allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out seven. He threw 52 pitches, 36 for strikes, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora said by all accounts the outing was a big success.

"He felt good, mechanics were sound, consistency, efficient, he actually felt one more inning was good," Cora said in the Wrigley Field visitor's dugout Friday. "Physically great, good stuff, he felt like his slider was good, he actually praised [Portland catcher Elih] Marrero, he did a good job. Sometimes you go to a rehab start and you call the pitch that works the best, he mixed it up and it felt good."

Looking ahead, Cora said Sale will next throw a bullpen on Saturday and is in line to start on an extra day's rest Wednesday with the Worcester Red Sox. That could be his last rehab appearance before returning to the major league club, but Cora said they'll see how things go next week first before making any final decisions.

“We’ll see how it goes. He’s getting close, very close," Cora said. "We’ll talk about it and go from there but the way he feels you can sense it. He’s in a great place.”

In other injury news: 

Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) and Nathan Eovaldi (lower back inflammation) are each progressing in their recoveries from injury, Alex Cora indicated Friday.

The two pitchers, who have both been on the 15-day injured list since June 9, are scheduled to throw off the mound Saturday, Cora said. Whitlock is currently with the team in Chicago while Eovaldi remains home in Boston.

In addition to the two pitchers, outfielder Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor strain) also took 15 swings on Friday, Cora said. Left-handed relief pitcher Josh Taylor (back) recently pitched on back to back nights with the Portland Sea Dogs on June 28-29, and Cora had no update on what his next step might be, nor on the latest regarding Matt Barnes (shoulder).


Red Sox kick off historic series at Wrigley

This weekend the Red Sox play their first series at Wrigley Field in a decade this weekend, and only their third series in The Friendly Confines ever, as the face the Chicago Cubs for a three-game set. Here is everything you need to know as the series kicks off Friday afternoon.

How to watch

Friday: NESN, WEEI 93.7 FM, 2:20 p.m. ET

Saturday: FOX, WEEI 93.7 FM, 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: NESN, WEEI 93.7 FM, 2:20 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers

Friday: Rich Hill (4-4, 4.09 ERA) vs. Adrian Sampson (0-0, 1.69 ERA)

Saturday: Josh Winckowski (3-1, 3.60) vs. Alec Mills (0-1, 9.87)

Sunday: TBD vs. Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.34)

Friday's lineups

Red Sox

  • Jarren Duran CF
  • Rafael Devers 3B
  • J.D. Martinez DH
  • Xander Bogaerts SS
  • Alex Verdugo LF
  • Trevor Story 2B
  • Franchy Cordero 1B
  • Christian Vázquez C
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. RF
  • Rich Hill P

Cubs

  • Christopher Morel 2B
  • Willson Contreras C
  • Ian Happ LF
  • Patrick Wisdom 3B
  • Narciso Croos CF
  • Yan Gomes DH
  • PJ Higgins 1B
  • Nelson Velázquez RF
  • Andrelton Simmons SS
  • Adrian Sampson P

 

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