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Brayan Bello allows 1 hit in 6 innings as Red Sox breeze past Pirates 8-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brayan Bello allowed one hit in six innings, Rob Refsnyder hit his first home run of the season and the Boston Red Sox breezed past the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Friday night.

Bello (3-1) struck out seven and walked two. The lone hit he surrendered was a leadoff double by Jack Suwinski in the bottom of the second. Bello retired the last 11 batters he faced as the Red Sox bounced back from a dismal homestand by handing the Pirates their fourth straight loss.

Refsnyder, who made his season debut Thursday after being activated off the injured list, hit a two-run shot with one out in the fifth that chased Quinn Priester (0-1). Wilyer Abreu, Triston Casas and Ceddanne Rafaela also homered for Boston. Abreu finished 3 for 5, while Refsnyder and Connor Wong each had two hits.

Cam Booser, a 31-year-old left-handed reliever who walked away from baseball and became a carpenter after the 2017 season, allowed a run in the ninth in his major league debut.

Priester, a 2019 first-round pick who was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday, struggled in his first big league start of the season.

The 22-year-old right-hander gave up solo shots to Abreu and Casas in the first inning and labored from there. Priester, whose return to the majors following a bumpy 2023 was powered by improved command that helped him pile up 20 strikeouts in three starts, struck out just two while giving up five runs, four earned, in 4 1/3 innings.

Pittsburgh has cooled following a 9-3 start. The Pirates have dropped seven of nine since, with much of the attention turning to 2023 No. 1 overall pick Paul Skenes. The right-hander struck out eight in 3 1/3 innings for Indianapolis on Thursday, though Pittsburgh insists it is in no hurry to bring him up.

Boston, like the Pirates, started hot. The Red Sox won seven of 10 to begin the season before dropping seven of 10 during a 10-game homestand against Baltimore, the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland. Injuries to prominent players have piled up, though the starting rotation has been among the best in the majors despite losing Lucas Giolito for the season to Tommy John surgery in March.

Red Sox starters have posted a 1.71 ERA through 21 games, with 114 strikeouts against 27 walks.


Red Sox: 3B Rafael Devers (bruised left knee) was held out of the lineup for a second straight game, though manager Alex Cora is hopeful Devers won't need a trip to the injured list. ... RHP Nick Pivetta (right elbow) is “trending” in the right direction according to Cora. Pivetta will throw a bullpen session soon.

Pirates: C Yasmani Grandal (left foot) served as the designated hitter for Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday after catching seven innings Thursday. ... LHP Marco Gonzalez (left forearm) is shut down for at least the next two weeks.


The three-game interleague series continues Saturday. Kutter Crawford (0-0, 0.42 ERA) starts for Boston against Pittsburgh's Mitch Keller (2-1, 4.50).