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Struggling

Arroyo, Verdugo, Hill lead Red Sox over skidding Pirates 8-3

The ball bounces past Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds on a two-run double by Boston’s Christian Arroyo during the second inning of Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh. AP Photo

PITTSBURGH — Christian Arroyo had three hits and three RBIs, Alex Verdugo reached base five times and 42-year-old Rich Hill won for the first time in nearly two months as the Boston Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 on Wednesday night.

The Red Sox won for the fifth time in six games and got back to .500 at 59-59. Boston in four games behind Toronto in the race for the third and final AL wild-card spot.

Arroyo hit a two-run double and scored on Kike Hernandez’s sacrifice fly in the second inning as Boston went ahead for good 3-2. Arroyo also singled in a run in a three-run ninth that broke the gamer open.

Over the last two weeks, Arroyo has emerged as the Red Sox’s regular second baseman. The utility infielder has started the last 10 games at the position.

Verdugo was 3 for 3 with two walks.

Hill (5-5) allowed two runs on three hits in five innings for his first win since June 26. He struck out four and walked none. The left-hander was making his third start since missing a month with a sprained left knee.

The last time Hill pitched at PNC Park, he took a no-hitter into the 10th inning for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 23, 2017, before Josh Harrison hit a game-ending home run.

Hill didn’t flirt with immortality this time. Kevin Newman led off the first inning with a single and Bryan Reynolds followed with a two-run home run into the bullpen in center field. The Pirates didn’t score again until the ninth inning as their losing streak reached six games. Reynolds had two hits.

Quickly down 2-0, Hill bounced back to retire the next 12 batters before Rodolfo Castro singled leading off the fifth inning. The Red Sox went ahead 3-2 an inning later.

The Red Sox made it 4-2 on Verdugo’s RBI double in the fifth.

Rookie Roansy Contreras (3-3) was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to the game and allowed four runs on six hits in six innings with four walks and three strikeouts. He had been sent to the minor leagues July 7 to limit his innings pitched.

Boston broke the game open in the final two innings. Pinch-hitter Rob Refsnyder drew a bases-loaded walk from Eric Stout in the eighth and then Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run double in the ninth to increase the lead to 8-2.

Ben Gamel hit an RBI single for the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP James Paxton is expected to make his first rehab start Thursday in the Florida Gulf Coast League. After undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery last year, Paxton signed with Boston as a free agent in December. … LHP Matt Strahm (left wrist contusion) is expected to join the team Thursday and could be activated from the injured list then … SS Xander Bogaerts (bruised right shin) returned to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday.

Pirates: C Tyler Heineman (right groin strain) was activated from the 10-day DL, C Jose Godoy was optioned to Indianapolis and RHP Austin Brice was designated for assignment. … RHP Mitch Keller played catch a day after being removed from his start after two innings because of shoulder fatigue. … RHP David Bednar (low back inflammation) may be able to start playing catch by the weekend. … Though out for the season following hamstring surgery, C Roberto Perez has been cleared to participate in baseball activities and is hopeful of playing winter ball.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 4.45) will start Thursday night as Boston tries to sweep the three-game series. He is 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA in six starts since missing five weeks with lower back inflammation.

Pirates: RHP JT Brubaker (2-10, 4.45) is winless in six starts since the beginning of July, going 0-3 with a 4.88 ERA.

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