July 18, 2024

Texas Rangers infielder Ezequiel Durán, left, outfielders Leody Taveras, center, and Adolis Garcia jog during a spring training workout at the team's training facility on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, in Surprise, AZ.

After taking opener in Toronto, Red Sox turn to Tanner Houck

The visiting Boston Red Sox got a boost from their Canadians in the series opener. Now they will aim for a series victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Nick Pivetta, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, pitched seven effective innings and Tyler O’Neill of Burnaby, British Columbia, hit two solo homers in a 7-3 Boston victory on Monday that started the three-game series.

After taking opener in Toronto, Red Sox turn to Tanner Houck | Sports |  albanyherald.com

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Tanner Houck (7-5, 2.08 ERA) on Tuesday. In five career games (four starts) against Toronto, he is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA. The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Chris Bassitt (6-6, 3.56). He is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in three career starts against Boston.

Houck will be looking to build off what Pivetta gave the Red Sox as they won their third straight game. The right-handed surrendered three runs on nine hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

“It was huge, where we were bullpen wise we needed a long one,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Pivetta’s outing.

“I think the biggest thing is the guys got some runs early and I was able to settle in,” Pivetta said. “It’s always very exciting for me to pitch in my home country. My mom was here today with my aunt, so I think that’s really great. I was happy that we could put the win together and have a good day.”

O’Neill also enjoyed turning in a big performance in his native country.

“I wanted to show up in front of the home crowd, I guess you could say,” he said. “It’s always fun coming back home and breathing that northern air, just being up here for a little bit.”

The Blue Jays, on the other hand, will look for a better performance out of Bassitt than they got from left-hander Yusei Kikuchi in the Monday loss.

“Just an abnormal start for Yusei with his stuff tonight,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Kikuchi gave up five runs on seven hits — including four home runs — in four innings.

Bassitt was particularly effective against Boston last season, when he gave up three runs on 11 hits with six walks and 11 strikeouts over 14 innings across two starts.

One player who likes seeing Bassitt is Rafael Devers. The Red Sox third baseman is 3-for-8 with a double and two home runs in his career against Bassitt.

Both teams are also dealing with injuries.

Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette (calf) missed his third consecutive contest on Monday but took ground balls before the game.

The Blue Jays also placed right-hander Yimi Garcia (right elbow neuritis) on the injured list on Monday and promoted left-hander Brandon Eisert, who pitched two scoreless innings against Boston in his major league debut.

An MRI exam revealed no structural damage for Garcia. Chad Green likely will be the closer in his absence. Garcia had been filling that role with Jordan Romano (right elbow inflammation) on the IL.

Boston shortstop David Hamilton (left side discomfort) left the opener at Toronto in the fourth inning.

“We were proactive (in taking him out),” Cora said. “We will know more (Tuesday). He said he felt it a bit pregame, but in his first at-bat it grabbed him.”

Boston reinstated Romy Gonzalez (hamstring) from the IL on Monday and optioned infielder Jamie Westbrook to Triple-A Worcester. Gonzalez started at second base but moved to shortstop when Hamilton left the game, with Enmanuel Valdez taking over at second

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