The Boston Red Sox fought their way Thursday to a second straight win over the Chicago White Sox.
Jon Lester and Chris Sale both were excellent as the Red Sox earned a 3-1 victory in the rubber match of the teams’ three-game series. The Red Sox’s offense, which was shut down for much of the game, produced two runs on four hits in the ninth inning to complete the win.
The Red Sox now will return home for seven games — four against the Baltimore Orioles and three against the New York Yankees. Before shifting our full attention to the homestand, though, let’s tie up some loose ends from Thursday’s action.
– Lester dazzled Thursday, marking his fourth consecutive strong start to begin the season.
Lester didn’t allow a baserunner until the sixth inning and finished the contest with just one earned run allowed on seven hits over eight innings. He struck out nine and didn’t walk anyone, putting his season strikeout-to-walk ratio at 29-to-4.
The White Sox had runners at first and third in the eighth inning, but Lester capped his impressive outing by striking out Dayan Viciedo and pumping his fist as he walked off the mound.
– Sale, meanwhile, was excellent for the White Sox. He surrendered just one hit in his seven innings, and it happened to be a mammoth home run from Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning.
“I was looking for that pitch, and he threw it right where I was looking for it,” Bogaerts told reporters after the game.
Bogaerts’ homer was his first of 2014.
– The Red Sox produced just five hits total, but their ability to drive up Sale’s pitch count — he threw 127 pitches in seven innings — enabled them to get into the White Sox’s bullpen and do damage in the ninth inning.
David Ross doubled home a run in the ninth to give Boston a 2-1 lead, and Jonathan Herrera added an insurance tally with a well-placed bunt up the first base line.
– Ross really did it all for the Red Sox in Thursday’s win.
He provided the game-winning hit, called a great game in tandem with Lester and made a couple of strong defensive plays.
Ross helped preserve Lester’s then-no-hitter in the fifth inning by racing over toward the Red Sox’s dugout to make a catch. He then helped keep the game tied at one apiece in the seventh inning by tagging out Adam Dunn on a play at the plate.
Alejandro De Aza hit a line drive into the corner with Dunn on first base. Dunn tried to score, but the Red Sox executed a perfect relay — Daniel Nava tossed to Dustin Pedroia, who fired a two-hopper to Ross — to nail the hulking slugger to end the seventh.
“He’s not a big slider. I tagged him and I said, ‘Thanks for not running me over,’” Ross joked after the game. “He said, ‘I can’t anymore (due to the new home plate collision rule).’ We were laughing about that. But he’s a big boy rounding third.”
– Koji Uehara, pitching for the first time since April 9, earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning.