Final, Red Sox 6-2: Paul Konerko took Andrew Bailey deep in the ninth inning, but it wasn’t nearly enough. The Red Sox come away with a 6-2 victory over the White Sox, and they avoid a sweep in the process.
Clay Buchholz was solid once again, and he finally picks up his seventh win of the season after three straight no-decisions. Buchholz allowed one run on five hits in seven innings of work. He matched his season-low with just four strikeouts, but he grinded his way through the outing, and the Red Sox are now back on a winning path.
Buchholz becomes the first Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett in 2007 to begin a season with a 7-0 record. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 1.73.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who has taken some heat recently, reached base four times and scored a run out of the leadoff spot. Mike Napoli (three walks and a single) also reached base four times.
Boston finishes off its nine-game road trip with a 6-3 record, and the Red Sox will now return to Fenway Park for a six-game homestand, which begins with four games against Terry Francona’s Indians. Ryan Dempster will start Thursday’s series opener, which is scheduled to kick off at 7:10 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-1: The Red Sox added to their run total for the second straight inning, and Andrew Bailey will pitch the bottom of the ninth with a pretty comfortable cushion.
David Ortiz greeted the new pitcher, Donnie Veal, with a sinking line drive to center field. Ortiz made solid contact, but Alejandro De Aza charged in to make a nice snag off his shoe tops.
De Aza’s grab gave the White Sox two outs in the ninth, but Veal couldn’t finish off the escape. Mike Napoli walked for the third time to load the bases, and Daniel Nava ripped a two-run single into left field. Napoli has reached base safely four times in this game, and Nava has turned his night around after a couple of shaky at-bats early on.
Bailey, who was activated off the disabled list on Monday, will pitch for the first time since April 28.
11:08 p.m., Red Sox 4-1: The White Sox will make a pitching change, as the Red Sox have put two runners on in the ninth inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury put together a great at-bat against Nate Jones to lead off the inning, and he ended it by walking on the 10th pitch.
Jonny Gomes then singled into right field, and Dustin Pedroia struck out. White Sox manager Robin Ventura will turn to left-hander Donnie Veal with the left-handed hitting David Ortiz coming up.
End 8th, Red Sox 4-1: Koji Uehara did what he does more often than not. He got the job done, and then returned to the Red Sox’ dugout with plenty of enthusiasm.
Uehara struck out both Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza in the eighth inning. He got Flowers looking on a fastball, and he got De Aza to chase a splitter.
Uehara, who always brings plenty of energy, dished out a number of high fives upon returning to the dugout. It looked like Shane Victorino wasn’t quite ready, though, as Uehara caught him off guard with a high-five bid.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox’ bullpen will go to work with a little more breathing room, as the offense pushed across two runs in the eighth inning.
Brian Omogrosso, who pitched the seventh inning for Chicago, started the eighth inning, but he quickly found himself in a whole bunch of trouble. Dustin Pedroia flied out to left field to begin the frame, but David Ortiz and Mike Napoli followed up with back-to-back singles. Omogrosso then walked Daniel Nava, which loaded the bases and forced the White Sox to make a pitching change.
Nate Jones took over for Omogrosso, and he fell behind Will Middlebrooks 2-0. With the count at 2-1, Jones tried to go away to Middlebrooks, but the powerful third baseman drove a deep fly ball to the opposite field. It brought home Ortiz, and sent Napoli from second base to third base, which proved to be big.
Stephen Drew walked with two outs to reload the bases, and with Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate, a pitch got away from catcher Tyler Flowers. That allowed Napoli to race home with Boston’s fourth run.
Saltalamacchia eventually struck out to end the inning. He fouled a pitch off himself during the at-bat and limped back to the dugout after striking out, so that might be something to keep an eye on.
End 7th, Red Sox 2-1: Clay Buchholz is getting some hugs in the Red Sox’ dugout, so it appears his night is over.
Buchholz ended his evening by retiring the White Sox in order in the seventh inning. Dayan Viciedo struck out swinging, Conor Gillaspie flied out to left field and Jeff Keppinger flied out to right field.
Buchholz threw 113 pitches (71 strikes) over seven innings. He gave up one run on five hits, while striking out four and walking three. White Sox hitters took Buchholz deep into some counts, particularly early on, but the right-hander kept plugging along, and it’s hard to complain about the overall result.
Koji Uehara has been warming up, so he’ll likely take over when the White Sox come to bat in the eighth inning.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia carried some momentum over to his at-bat in the seventh inning, as he picked up his first hit of the game. The White Sox’ new pitcher, Brian Omogrosso, still managed to keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard, though.
Omogrosso got two quick outs, although both came in rather interesting fashion. Will Middlebrooks drilled a deep fly ball to the warning track that Alejandro De Aza flagged down on the run, and Stephen Drew was retired on a strange play by shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez turned his body in a number of different directions before catching a popup that sent him tumbling to the outfield grass.
Saltalamacchia’s two-out single was nearly caught by De Aza in center field, but it popped out of his glove. Jacoby Ellsbury extended the inning even further by singling, but Jonny Gomes grounded out to end the threat.
Ellsbury has reached base safely three times in this game. He has two singles and a walk.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is having a tough night at the dish, but he’s having a great night behind it.
Saltalamacchia has struck out twice, but he’s making an impact on the defensive side of things. Salty has thrown out two would-be base stealers, including Alex Rios in the sixth inning.
Rios started the inning with a single past a diving Dustin Pedroia and into center field. Clay Buchholz bounced back to retire Adam Dunn on a high popout in shallow center field and Paul Konerko on a deep flyout to left. Rios took off with Dayan Viciedo batting, and Saltalmacchia delivered a throw right on the money.
Saltalamacchia has had a hard time throwing out runners this season, but he’s turning in a great effort in this one. Entering the game, Saltalamacchia had only thrown out one runner — 1-for-19, 5.3 percent — all year.
Making Salty’s throw in the sixth inning even more important is that it limited Buchholz’s workload. Buchholz is up to 104 pitches in this game, and no one is warming up in the Boston bullpen yet.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Hector Santiago has given the White Sox exactly what they needed.
Chicago trails in this game, but Santiago, who started on three days’ rest in place of Chris Sale (shoulder tendinitis), has given the White Sox six solid innings and a chance to win.
Santiago retired the Red Sox in order in the sixth inning. David Ortiz flied out to center field, Mike Napoli struck out swinging and Daniel Nava popped out in foul territory along the first-base line.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Clay Buchholz hasn’t generated a whole lot of momentum, and he has really had to work to record outs. But to his credit, he has gotten the job done thus far.
Jeff Keppinger led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a slow grounder to third. Will Middlebrooks charged in and decided to play it with this bare hand. He made the play, but his throw to first base was off the mark, allowing Keppinger to reach.
The play was ruled a hit, but one could certainly make the case that Middlebrooks should have been charged with an error. If he delivered a good throw, Keppinger likely would have been out. At the very least, it would have been a close play.
Buchholz battled back to strike out Tyler Flowers looking, and he nearly got Alejandro De Aza to ground into an inning-ending double play. De Aza runs very well, though, and he was able to beat out Stephen Drew’s throw at first base.
Alexei Ramirez got a very good piece of one with two outs, but Jacoby Ellsbury flashed some leather. Ellsbury ran back toward the center-field wall and made a sweet running catch to end the inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Hector Santiago has done a pretty good job of settling down after a rocky first inning.
Santiago walked Jacoby Ellsbury to begin the fifth inning, but the lefty bounced back to induce a 5-4-3 double play with Jonny Gomes batting. The inning ended when Dustin Pedroia popped out to Paul Konerko in foul territory along the first-base line.
Santiago is up to 94 pitches through five innings.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Paul Konerko led off the fourth inning with a hit, but the White Sox couldn’t use it as springboard toward better things.
Dayan Viciedo grounded to short after Konerko’s single, and the Red Sox again had a hard time spinning a double play. Stephen Drew threw what looked like a knuckleball to Dustin Pedroia, and it ruined any chance Boston had of completing the twin killing.
But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Connor Gillaspie grounded to second with one out, and Pedroia started up a successful inning-ending double play.
Hector Santiago, who struck out the side last inning, will stay in the game to pitch the fifth inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Hector Santiago was very impressive in the fourth inning.
Santiago struck out Will Middlebrooks, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in order. All three hitters went down hacking, and Santiago, who has thrown 83 pitches, now has eight strikeouts.
Middlebrooks and Drew both struck out on fastballs, while Saltalamacchia fanned on a changeup.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: A baserunning decision allowed the White Sox to cut the Red Sox’ lead in half in the third inning.
Tyler Flowers led off the inning with a little ground ball in the infield. Clay Buchholz initially looked like he was going to make the play, but he let it roll past him. Stephen Drew made a barehanded play, but he had no chance of throwing out Flowers at first base.
Alejandro De Aza followed up Flowers’ infield single with a sensational at-bat. Buchholz started the at-bat ahead in the count 1-2, but De Aza battled back to work a walk. De Aza fouled off three straight pitches and then laid off the last two pitches he saw in order to earn the nine-pitch free pass.
Alexei Ramirez almost let the Red Sox off the hook. He nearly grounded into a double play, but Stephen Drew’s throw to second base took Dustin Pedroia a little off the bag. Ramirez was able to beat out the throw at first base, which set up runners at the corners with one out.
Alex Rios got into a very hitter-friendly 3-0 count before Buchholz battled back. Buchholz got Rios to ground a 3-2 pitch to short, but the Red Sox were unable to turn a double play because Ramirez was off with the pitch. Drew instead had to settle for throwing out Rios at first base while Flowers scored Chicago’s first run.
Adam Dunn struck out swinging to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Hector Santiago is pitching on three days’ rest, and is making just his fifth start of the season, so it’ll be interesting to see how long the left-hander goes in this game.
Santiago, who had a rough first inning, issued two walks in the third inning, although the threat actually wasn’t that daunting because of a double play from David Ortiz.
Santiago tried to go away against Ortiz in the first inning and the slugger made him pay by dropping a two-run single into left field. He changed his approach against Ortiz in the third, and the Red Sox DH pulled a ground ball to the right side to start up a 4-6-3 double play.
Mike Napoli walked with two outs, giving him two walks for the game. Santiago bounced back to strike out Daniel Nava, who has now struck out twice against the lefty.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz’s second inning was much smoother.
Buchholz still struggled to find a rhythm during the inning’s open at-bat. He went to a three-ball count against Dayan Viciedo before eventually getting him to ground out to short.
Stephen Drew made a nice play ranging in and to his right. He scooped Viciedo’s chopper on the back hand and fired a good, strong throw to first to record the out.
Buchholz then got Conor Gillaspie to fly out to left field. Jeff Keppinger, like Viciedo, grounded out to short to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Jacoby Ellsbury has been taking a lot of heat, and is facing a tremendous amount of pressure. He took a step in the right direction in his second at-bat, though.
Ellsbury singled with two outs in the second inning. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it didn’t lead to any additional damage on the scoreboard, but it’s still encouraging considering the ongoing debate about whether or not to move Ellsbury out of the leadoff spot.
Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each struck out before Ellsbury’s hit, and Jonny Gomes ended the inning with a flyout to left field.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the first inning. But he still managed to hold down the White Sox’ offense.
Alejandro De Aza led off the inning with a single into center field. Buchholz responded by giving De Aza, who stole 26 bases last season, a lot of attention over at first base, and it paid off. De Aza tried to steal second, but he got a terrible jump, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia was able to gun him down.
Buchholz still struggled to settle in after that, as he walked both Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios, but he struck out Adam Dunn and retired Paul Konerko on a sharp line drive to left field to end the inning. Jonny Gomes made a nice sliding grab on Konerko’s lineout.
Buchholz threw 22 pitches in the frame, and only 10 were strikes.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox were no-hit until the seventh inning on Tuesday. They obviously have different plans for this game.
David Ortiz — the guy who broke up Jose Quintana’s bid for a no-hitter on Tuesday — dropped a bloop single into left field to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Jonny Gomes was hit by a pitch after Jacoby Ellsbury grounded back to the mound to kick things off. Dustin Pedroia then ensured Ortiz went to work with two runners in scoring position by doubling down the left-field line. Hector Santiago hung a 2-1 changeup, and Pedroia turned on it, drilling it down into the corner.
Ortiz’s two-run single wasn’t hard hit by any means. Santiago actually made a really good pitch down and out of the strike zone, but Ortiz poked it into left field to get the job done.
The Red Sox threatened to add more when Mike Napoli walked and Ortiz surprisingly swiped third base (no, seriously), but Santiago struck out both Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks to limit the first-inning damage.
8:11 p.m.: The first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury is a strike, and we’re underway.
8:04 p.m.: Clay Buchholz still leads the American League in ERA with a 1.78 mark. Win No. 7 has been very elusive, though.
This is Buchholz’s fourth crack at winning his seventh game. If he succeeds in improving to 7-0, he’ll become the first Red Sox pitcher to start a season 7-0 since Josh Beckett in 2007.
7:45 p.m.: It’ll be interesting to see how long the Red Sox stick with Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot if he continues to struggle. It’ll be even more interesting to see who John Farrell inserts at the top of the order if he does eventually make a lineup change.
Farrell made his weekly appearance on WEEI on Wednesday, and he said that Ellsbury is still Boston’s leadoff man right now. He didn’t rule out a change, though, noting that the Red Sox moved Ellsbury out of the leadoff spot in the past. That came in 2009 when Terry Francona was still Boston’s manager, and Ellsbury responded by going on a tear and recapturing the job later that season.
In an ideal world, Ellsbury will play his way out of his current slump. If that doesn’t happen, though, I think the Red Sox really have no choice but to make a change.
5:25 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury is still leading off for the Red Sox. Take a look at Wednesday’s lineups below.
Red Sox (27-19)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP (6-0, 1.78 ERA)
White Sox (21-23)
Alejandro De Aza, CF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Dunn, DH
Paul Konerko, 1B
Dayan Viciedo, LF
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Jeff Keppinger, 2B
Tyler Flowers, C
Hector Santiago, LHP (1-2, 2.78 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox’ offense sputtered again on Tuesday, and Boston lost its second straight game against the White Sox. Clay Buchholz will now be asked to fend off a sweep while trying to end the Red Sox’ nine-game road trip on a positive note.
Boston is 5-3 on its current trip, but it’d be hard to get too fired up about the overall results if it ends with a three-game sweep in the Windy City. The Sox were riding high after taking care of business in Minnesota, but they haven’t been able to come up with timely hits in Chicago, and now they’re once again staring a mini skid in the face.
Buchholz will be making his fourth attempt at picking up win No. 7. He still owns a perfect 6-0 record, but he’s received a no-decision in each of his last three starts. Buchholz gave up two runs over seven innings in his last start against the Twins on Friday, but the Red Sox needed 10 innings to pick up a 3-2 victory. Buchholz will go up against Hector Santiago on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s game will kick off at 8:10 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and follow all of the action right here as well.