Nick Pivetta looks to continue his winning ways on Sunday afternoon when the host Boston Red Sox play the rubber match of their three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pivetta (6-5, 3.50 ERA) improved to 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his last eight starts after allowing one run on three hits in eight innings of a 6-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old right-hander has paid dividends this season after Boston acquired him and prospect Connor Seabold from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020 in exchange for pitchers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.

“I don’t know if it’s change of scenery or if it’s just (Pivetta) growing up,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, per the Boston Herald. “Maybe he’d be pitching this way in Philly right now. Sometimes you have to be patient. The organization pulled the trigger. They saw potential, right? At that point the Phillies needed some relievers and it happened. This guy is really good. He keeps learning and understanding that he has to work. …

“He tries to be perfect, he keeps working on his mechanics, his release points, his slider, so to get a pitcher like this it was a good one. It was a good trade.”

Pivetta also has provided length in his starts, including at least seven innings in four of his last seven starts.

“I think it’s really important,” Pivetta said. “It’s what I’ve really worked on my whole career to kind of get to.”

Pivetta owns a 1-1 record with a 4.63 ERA in four career starts versus St. Louis, although Nolan Arenado (3-for-5, RBI) has enjoyed success in a small sample size versus the hurler.

Arenado has belted a homer in back-to-back games to begin this series. He launched a two-run homer in the first inning on Saturday night, and the Cardinals scored six runs in the sixth inning to cruise to an 11-2 romp over the Red Sox.

Another Nolan also went deep on Saturday. Nolan Gorman joined Tyler O’Neill in clubbing a solo homer as St. Louis sent Boston to its fourth loss in its last 16 games.

“He took it as a challenge as far as that we were losing defense by bringing him up here,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of Gorman, per the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. “He’s developing his skill set at second (base).”

Tommy Edman is batting a robust 22-for-71 (.310) with 16 runs during this month for the Cardinals, who turn to rookie right-hander Andre Pallante (2-1, 1.46 ERA) on Sunday afternoon.

Pallante, 23, sustained his first loss on Wednesday after allowing two runs on as many hits in 2 1/3 innings in a 6-4 setback to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pallante will be making his 21st career appearance and first versus Boston on Sunday. He would be wise to tread carefully around Xander Bogaerts, who is riding an 11-game hitting streak.

The Red Sox, however, mustered just five hits on Saturday — all singles.

–Field Level Media