TORONTO — For this series at least, Canada’s border regulations proved to have little impact on the Red Sox.
Righthanders Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck were the only players placed on the restricted list on Monday before a 6-2 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Canadian regulations require either a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination or a second shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least two weeks before arrival.
Crawford and Houck will not be paid or accrue major league service time for four days. For Houck, that will be a loss of approximately $15,315.
Garrett Whitlock will replace Houck in the rotation and start on Thursday afternoon. Whitlock made his first career start on Saturday at Tampa Bay and retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced, seven by strikeout.
Righthanded relievers Tyler Danish and John Schreiber were called up from Triple-A Worcester.
Danish was optioned on Sunday to get Rich Hill back on the roster following his bereavement leave. He remained with the team and returned to the roster on Monday. Danish entered the bottom of the eighth inning in relief of Matt Strahm with the one out, two runners aboard, and the game tied, 2-2. He served up a grand slam to Bo Bichette, who delivered the crushing blow.
It was the first call-up of the season for Schreiber.
“I’m glad to be here and have the opportunity,” said the 28-year-old, who had a 3.48 earned run average in five appearances for the WooSox. “I’m excited to be here and I hope I can make the most of it.”
The Sox signed Schreiber to a minor-league deal prior to the 2021 season, leaving his low slot offered some variation from their other righthanders. He has since incorporated a sinker into his repertoire.
The Sox are scheduled to play the Blue Jays here again June 27-29 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Lefthanders Chris Sale and Josh Taylor, who are both on the injured list, are believed to be the only other unvaccinated players on the major league roster.
Both Crawford and Sale attended Florida Gulf Coast University.
Manager Alex Cora missed his fifth game after testing positive for COVID-19
“Better and better every day. Still going through the protocols,” interim manager Will Venable said. “Still kind of day to day. He’s not here today and that’s as far as I know.”
The Sox activated Kevin Plawecki from the COVID-19 injured list. He was on the lineup to catch Nate Eovaldi, who allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, including a pair of solo homers by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the fifth and Matt Chapman in the seventh.
Plawecki, who tested positive on April 18 and missed seven games, was 0 for 2 with a sacrifice.
Connor Wong was optioned back to Worcester. He appeared in two games and was 1 for 6.
Pressure on Pivetta
It’s seemingly too early in the season for a starting pitcher to be worried about his spot in the rotation. But Nick Pivetta is 0-3 with a 10.03 ERA in three starts and opponents have hit .333 with a 1.056 OPS against him.
It’s not a matter of bad luck. Pivetta is allowing an average exit velocity of 95.2 miles per hour and opponents have been crushing his curveball.
Pivetta, who faces the Jays and Kevin Gausman on Tuesday night, has said it’s a matter of timing in his mechanics and he feels progress has been made during side sessions.
Pivetta’s last start was against Toronto at Fenway Park on Wednesday. He allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks over four innings. All five of the runs came in the second inning when the Blue Jays sent 10 batters to the plate.
Pivetta has a 6.28 ERA in eight career starts against Toronto. But he threw six scoreless innings at Rogers Centre last Aug. 7 in a 1-0 loss.
Jays lose Biggio
The Blue Jays placed infielder Cavan Biggio on the COVID-19 injured list and called up righthander Bowden Francis . . . Through Sunday, the Jays led the majors with 22 homers. The Sox were tied for 23rd with 11 . . . Monday marked the first time since Aug. 26, 2019, that reporters from Boston were able to cover a Sox game at Rogers Centre . . . The game took only two hours and 16 minutes, the shortest of the season for the Sox by 22 minutes.
Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.