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B.C.’s Pivetta strikes out 13 in historic relief pitching performance

Pitcher matched his career high while doing something that has not been done in more than a century
Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta celebrates another strikeout during game 4 of the 2021 American League Divisional Series as Boston beat Tampa Bay 6-4 with a walk-off homer in the 13th inning. (Facebook/Boston Red Sox)

Victoria-born Nick Pivetta has made some Major League Baseball history.

According to ESPN, Pivetta’s 13 strikeouts without allowing a hit Monday are the most by a reliever since the mound was set at its current distance in 1893.

When moved to the bullpen in May, Pivetta stuck with the same mindset he had as a starter determined not to let the change affect how he helped the Red Sox.

And now manager Alex Cora is reconsidering a spot in the rotation given Boston’s long stretch of games next month without a break.

The right-hander (6-5) matched his career high with 13 strikeouts over six hitless innings of relief in Boston’s 1-hitter and Connor Wong hit a two-run double and singled in a run for a career-high three RBIs, leading the Red Sox past the Oakland Athletics 7-0 on Monday night for their eighth win in nine games.

Pivetta’s 13 strikeouts were most by a reliever in Red Sox history. He became just the sixth relief pitcher since 1901 to strike out 13 or more.

“I think for me I don’t really know what it is I think I’m doing what I’ve always been doing, going out pitching, it doesn’t matter where I’m pitching or when I’m pitching,” he said. “Just being consistent is the most important thing for me and that’s just what I’m focused on.”

He replaced lefty opener Brennan Bernardino, who worked two innings. It marked Pivetta’s ninth career double-digit strikeout game and first of 2023 — and his most Ks with the Red Sox after striking out 13 while pitching for the Phillies in June 18, 2018, against Saint Louis.

Boston plays 16 straight games without an off day in mid-August, so Pivetta may be called to start again.

“That was impressive,” Cora said. “Good fastball, good command of his off-speed pitches, working ahead, great tempo. … We were able to extend him again and now he’ll be ready, innings-wise and all that he should be ready for Sunday.”

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