Nick Pivetta makes final case for Opening Day starter in Red Sox 5-2 loss to Twins

The race for Opening Day starter is coming down to the wire, and after Brayan Bello made a persuasive final argument in his latest start on Sunday, Nick Pivetta answered with a strong case of his own.

Pivetta pitched well in Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins, allowing two runs over four-plus innings while striking out five. The right-hander threw 79 pitches and spread five hits and a walk across his outing, with the only significant damage coming on a solo home run by Carlos Correa in the third.

Pivetta came out after allowing a leadoff single to start the bottom of the fifth, and that runner wound up coming around to score as part of a four-run Twins rally against Red Sox reliever Brendan Cellucci. He also had to work his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first, but escaped unscathed and proceeded to retire nine of the next 11 batters he faced.

Now Pivetta will await Cora’s final call on who will get the ball Opening Day against Seattle, a decision that’s expected imminently.

Offensively, Connor Wong hit a two-run home run in the top of the third, his second home run in as many days. Wong finished 2 for 3 to improve his average to .433 on the spring, and Jarren Duran (1 for 3) used his speed to turn a routine base hit into a double. Ceddanne Rafaela, who has made a strong push for the starting center field job, also made his first appearance at second base this spring, signaling he could factor into the equation at that position until Vaughn Grissom returns from injury.

Relievers Greg Weissert, Isaiah Campbell and Wyatt Olds each threw a scoreless inning, and with his latest gem Campbell has now posted seven consecutive scoreless outings this spring since joining the Red Sox.

Who’s up next

Kutter Crawford will get the start for Boston on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’ll be followed out of the bullpen by Josh Winckowski, Isaiah Campbell and Joely Rodriguez. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at JetBlue Park.

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