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Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1

Nick Pivetta still missing his best stuff, Red Sox missing timely hitting in loss to Blue Jays

Nick Pivetta had another rough outing on Wednesday, getting shelled in the second inning in particular.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Nick Pivetta faced his locker inside the Red Sox clubhouse last week, mirroring the mechanics he wanted to employ on the mound.

He hoped something would click so that his first two outings — where he allowed eight earned runs in just 7 ⅔ innings of work — would just be a footnote in a 162-game season.

So, Pivetta stood alone, his back to the crowd of people surrounding him, and reminded himself of his gather over the mound, keeping his body connected throughout his motion. Staying tight, in synch. The hope was that it would lead to better command. Better velocity. Better results.


In his third start Wednesday against the Blue Jays, that hope glimmered toward the latter part of the outing, but the results were still the same.

The Blue Jays inflicted most of their damage against Pivetta early in the game, piecing together a five-run second inning that all but certainly put the stamp on a 6-1 Red Sox loss.


“It’s unfortunate,” Pivetta said afterward. “I mean, I can’t remember the last time I’ve kind of had to deal with something like this. But you kind of figure out who you are in these moments.”

Pivetta works best when he’s pounding the strike zone with his fastball. But his velocity has been a couple ticks down to start the year, averaging just 92.8 miles per hour, compared to 94.8 mph a season ago. That makes his curveball, according to manager Alex Cora, a bit less of a fool-me pitch, and, frankly, hitters certainly aren’t being fooled. Last season, opponents slugged just .295 on his curveball. This year, it’s up to .625.

“I do believe his fastball plays,” Cora said. “And when that plays everything else falls into place.”

Matt Chapman led off the inning with a single to right field. The next batter, Raimel Tapia, pulled a 1-2 curveball that Pivetta left middle-in for a two-run blast. After two walks, a wild pitch, a mound visit, a sacrifice fly, and a two-run single, the Sox found themselves in a deep hole while Pivetta solidified another rocky outing.


Pivetta completed just four innings, but following a conversation with pitching coach Dave Bush after that second frame, Pivetta believed he found something.

You saw flashes of 95 and 96 mph. The Sox are holding onto that.

“Seems like he was more aggressive with the fastball and was able to get it to the outside part of the plate,” Cora said. “If we’re going to take anything positive out of this, it’s the way he finished.”

Nick Pivetta watches a homer from Toronto's Raimel Tapia sail into the seats in the second inning Wednesday night at Fenway.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Red Sox didn’t have issues racking up hits in this one, but the timely knocks were non-existent. They tagged Jays starter José Berríos for eight hits but just scored that one run off the righthander. Berríos went six innings, striking out six. Their only run came in the first on an RBI single by J.D. Martinez.

The missed opportunities lingered into the latter part of the game, too. base. In the seventh Christian Arroyo and Xander Bogaerts tallied back-to-back singles and moved to second and third following an Alex Verdugo groundout. But Trevor Story struck out to end the frame. The Sox were 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

“We’re not taking care of the mistakes that we get in those moments,” said Story who was 0 for 3 on the night. “Speaking for myself, we just gotta be a little better with runners in scoring position. We’re getting guys on but we gotta finish off innings like that.”


Trevor Story appeared to avoid a serious injury after he was struck in the helmet by a pitch during the third inning of Wednesday night's game at Fenway.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

For Pivetta, there’s still a ton of season left. There are more outings where he can implement the mechanics he searched for at his locker that day last week. The proper circular motion of his arm. Making sure his hands are breaking properly before he begins his descent toward home plate.

That’s what he’s sticking to.

“I’m going to flush this away,” Pivetta said of his outing. “I’m starting against them the next time in Toronto. We’ll see how the results go then but I have really, really high hopes.”

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.