Nick Pivetta hasn’t gotten much run support this season, but on Wednesday afternoon, he didn’t need much.

After allowing one run over six innings in his first start, Pivetta followed things up with five shutout innings in a 1-0 win over the Oakland Athletics. He didn’t have his best stuff, striking out three and allowing five hits and a walk, but he was able to do enough to help the Red Sox complete a three-game sweep and extend their winning streak to four.

“We grinded, we did; good teams find a way to win games like that, and we did,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said. “I know people throughout the years get on us because we come here and we don’t sweep or we lose the series, but you know what, we swept, and now we move on.”

Though the Red Sox tagged Oakland’s pitching staff for 10 hits, they weren’t able to string together many rallies and didn’t capitalize on most of the opportunities they got. The one exception came in the top of the fourth, when Triston Casas, Masataka Yoshida and Ceddanne Rafaela hit three straight singles to load the bases, and Enmanuel Valdez put the Red Sox ahead with a sacrifice fly.

Then, Rafaela ensured the Red Sox maintained that one-run lead with some more exceptional defense in deep center field.

In the bottom of the fourth, Rafaela nearly made a catch that would have been even more improbable than his sensational grab Tuesday night. That game-saving catch had an expected batting average of .830, per Statcast, but this time he got slightly crossed up and wound up bobbling and dropping a ball that had an expected average of .850. Essentially, he made an extremely difficult play look like a borderline error.


No matter, because a couple of batters later, he ended the inning by making perhaps his best play of the week, a sensational leaping grab against the wall. The expected average on that one was .880. So in almost any other circumstance, it would have been a tying double at minimum, and in nine other MLB ballparks it would have been a go-ahead two-run home run.

“It was definitely a grind of a game today, defense did tremendous behind me today making lots of plays, good double plays, Rafaela stretching out there in the outfield for me,” Pivetta said. “Took a team effort today and it was a good team effort win.”

Jarren Duran stayed hot at the plate, going 4 for 4 to improve to 9 for 12 in the series and bump his average to .393.

Pivetta’s ERA stands at 0.82 through two starts. Including his last two starts of 2023, Pivetta is just the sixth pitcher in team history to make four consecutive starts with five-plus innings, and no more than one run and one walk allowed.

According to the Red Sox, that list also includes Chris Sale, Pedro Martinez and Cy Young.

Joely Rodriguez, Justin Slaten, Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen combined for four scoreless innings of relief, and though Jansen finished the job to earn his second save of the season – tying Billy Wagner for sixth in MLB history with 422 in his career – it didn’t come easily.

After walking two batters on Tuesday night, Jansen walked two more in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday, and his velocity was noticeably down again.

He also fell victim to some poor defense as Valdez failed to turn what would have been a game-ending double play, but Jansen managed to get Ryan Noda to strike out swinging to wrap things up.

“I think it’s awesome to tie a guy like that,” Jansen said of matching Wagner on the saves list. “That’s the thing that should motivate you. One of the greats that did it. He’s probably the best lefty closer.”

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