Monday's matinee in Chicago was billed as Josh Beckett's chance to re-establish himself as the Red Sox' ace. Beckett turned in a solid performance, but the Boston bats were silenced as the White Sox took the third game of a four-game series with a 5-1 win.
Mark Buehrle bettered Beckett's efforts, picking up his first win since hurling a perfect game on July 23.
White Sox 5, Red Sox 1 Headliner:
U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill.
Sept. 7, 2009
Headliner:If this weekend is any indication, Mark Kotsay must be loving his time wearing different colored Sox. A late addition to the lineup at first base, Kotsay drove in what proved to be the game-winning run on a two-RBI single in the bottom of the third inning. He finished the series at 6-for-11 with two homers and six RBIs.
Dirt Dog: Buehrle wasn't nearly as effective as he was during his days of perfection and no-hitting, but he managed to consistently retire the Red Sox. He lasted into the eighth inning, giving up eight hits and two walks but only let one runner cross the plate. As usual, he wasn't flashy, but he was effective, earning his 12th win of the season and dropping his ERA to 3.77.
Better Luck Next Time: The Red Sox would have had their hands full facing Bobby Jenks in the ninth inning with a two-run deficit. A two-out, two-run home run allowed by Hideki Okajima in the bottom of the eighth inning, however, erased all thought of a Boston win.
The tater was just the latest in what has been an awful stretch for the 33-year-old reliever. In his last four outings, he's given up six earned runs in two innings, surrendering 10 hits, two walks and two home runs with just two strikeouts.
The offense deserves some mention in this spot as well, with Jason Varitek and Rocco Baldelli going a combined 0-for-8 with three strikeouts as the only two Red Sox players without a hit on the day. Baldelli saw just nine pitches in his four at-bats.
Key Moment: Victor Martinez, who lined out to center with the bases loaded in the fifth, led off the eighth inning with a single to center, chasing Buehrle from the game and giving the offense a shot to make some noise. Instead, the Red Sox offered little more than a whimper.
Kevin Youkilis grounded into a fielder's choice, hustling down the line to just beat out a double play. Jason Bay was then called out on strikes on a pitch that appeared to be six inches off the plate. Perhaps influenced by the widened strike zone, Mike Lowell chased a pitch off the plate to end the inning.
On Deck: What better for a team that struggled in Chicago than a trip home to face the 56-81 Baltimore Orioles? The Birds may not be a pushover, however; they took two of three over the Rangers this past weekend, outscoring the wild-card contending team 13-9. Tuesday night, the Orioles will send David Hernandez (4-6, 4.54 ERA) to the mound. He is 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA against the Red Sox this year. Clay Buchholz (4-3, 4.40 ERA) will get the ball for the home team. He's 2-2 with a 6.17 ERA against the Orioles in his career, though he had a fairly successful start against them at Fenway once upon a time.