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Surging Red Sox aim to stay hot vs. Athletics

Sportsnaut
Jun 14, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Phillips Valdez (71) is congratulated by catcher Christian Vazquez (7) after defeating the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox look to keep the good times rolling when they continue a three-game series against the visiting Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Boston showed no signs of jet lag in its first contest after a 10-game, three-city road trip, posting a 6-1 win over the A’s on Tuesday to improve to 10-2 in its last 12.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each belted a homer to lead the Red Sox, who have outscored opponents by a 55-26 margin over its last 12 games.

Boston’s lineup had a different look on Tuesday, as Franchy Cordero replaced Christian Arroyo, who was a late scratch due to illness. Rob Refsnyder led off for the third time in four games and played center field as the Red Sox faced Oakland lefty Jared Koenig, who was tagged for six runs on nine hits across four innings.

“He’s very athletic, hitting the ball hard and controlling the at-bats, which is very important,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Refsnyder. “… We knew at one point he was going to be a part of this. He hits lefties and gives you versatility in the outfield.”

Refsnyder went 3-for-4, scored a run and drove in another. He is 6-for-15 in six games this season.

“I just try (to) be a small piece of the puzzle,” said Refsynder, who also made a full-extension diving catch to rob Seattle’s Ty France of an extra-base hit on Sunday.

“(Alex Cora) put me in some pretty good spots. Just trying to get on base for the big guys.”

With Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) and Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) both placed on the injured list over the last few days, Boston is sending right-hander Josh Winckowski (0-1, 12.00) to the mound.

Winckowski allowed four runs on six hits in three innings during his major-league debut on May 28 against Baltimore.

James Kaprielian (0-3, 5.73) will look to break the longest losing streak of his career when he starts against Boston for the second time this season.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 17 1/3 innings over his first three starts against the Red Sox. In a June 3 loss, he allowed four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Kaprielian, who began the season on the injured list with an inflamed right AC joint, has allowed 14 runs in 19 2/3 innings over his last four starts. That stretch included a Thursday no-decision during which he pitched five innings of two-run ball against Cleveland, allowing back-to-back home runs in the fourth.

“Step in the right direction,” Kaprielian said of his outing. “I feel like I did a good job of owning the inner-third. … Home runs are going to happen. Overall, I was able to execute some good pitches. Unfortunately, we got the loss. Trying to be positive here, it’s something to build off of.”

On Tuesday, third baseman Jonah Bride became the 10th Oakland player to make his MLB debut this season. He went 0-for-3.

“(Bride is) an unorthodox player,” A’s farm director Ed Sprague told The Athletic last week. “When people first see him, I don’t think they’re gonna be wild about what they see. He’s a guy that you appreciate the way he does things when you watch him every day.”

–Field Level Media