By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Nick Pivetta was absolutely dealing for the Red Sox on Thursday night, setting down Rays batters with relative ease. But as he traversed through inning after inning of no-hit ball, he had a few things working against him.

For one, the 28-year-old was getting close to that 100-pitch threshold that represents the end of the road for so many pitchers. And though he went out for the seventh inning with zeros across the board, there was also a goose egg on the Red Sox’ side as well.

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So when Pivetta hit that 100-pitch mark after three batters in the bottom of the seventh, Boston manager Alex Cora made his way to the mound ready to take the righty out of his no-hit bid. There was a runner on second after Austin Meadows reached on a Michael Chavis error earlier in the inning, and Cora was determined to keep it a 0-0 game. He pulled Pivetta for reliever Josh Taylor, which set up a lefty-lefty matchup with Joey Wendle after Boston intentionally walked Manuel Margot. Taylor got Wendle to fly out to end the inning, and the Rays’ scoring threat.

It kinda stunk for Pivetta, who had fanned eight while only issuing two walks over his 6.2 innings of no-hit ball. He obviously wasn’t too enthused to leave the mound with a no-hitter going. But he understood the move, and agreed with his skipper.

“I did not want to come out but it’s not about me. It’s about the game. It’s about winning baseball games,” said Pivetta. “That’s what’s most important. The matchups worked out really well with J.T. He’s been doing really well against lefties and that’s really important. It was a tie ballgame at the time. I was at 100 pitches. Right now it’s just about winning baseball games and that’s the most important.

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“I don’t mind the decision at all,” Pivetta added.

“It wasn’t tough. It wasn’t tough,” Cora said of that decision. “It’s a 0-0 game, we have one of the best lefties in the game, probably the best lefty throwing the ball in the game. It was a no-brainer.”

Cora was asked if he would have handled it differently had the Red Sox owned a lead at the time, but the manager didn’t want to get into hypotheticals.

“We didn’t have the lead there, so I had to make the decision. I don’t know how I would’ve reacted if we had the lead,” he said.

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Unfortunately for Pivetta, Cora and the Red Sox, the Boston offense was nearly non-existent on Thursday night. The Red Sox were held to just four hits themselves, and ran into some outs on the base paths. The Rays won 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth when a Matt Barnes curveball curved a little too much, catcher Christian Vazquez couldn’t block it, and Margot scored the only run of the game on the wild pitch. That lost Boston the game, and the team’s hold on first place in the AL East.

CBSBoston.com Staff