Red Sox Offense Disappears, White Sox Sweep Doubleheader

Red Sox Offense Disappears, White Sox Sweep Doubleheader

Postgame, White Sox 3-1: The Sox get great pitching and a few timely hits to get a big doubleheader sweep and pull closer in the playoff race. Wrong colored Sox, unfortunately. The white ones had the big day.

The Red Sox clubhouse was a quiet place once again. There are still 26 games to go but there is a growing sense that the task at hand is just impossible to achieve.

Nobody said that, of course. However, when you score two runs in 18 innings of baseball in your own park at a time when wins are imperative, well, just not much to feel good about.

The deficit is 7 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay. If Boston can win Sunday behind Josh Beckett and if the Rays lose again in Baltimore, it will be 6 1/2 heading into a three-game set with the boys from Florida. If the Sox can sweep that set then we're talking about a race again.

That's a whole bunch of ifs, and too few have come to fruition this year.

Beckett goes against Mark Buehrle on Sunday, a 1:35 p.m. game.

Final, White Sox 3-1: It's not easy to win a baseball game when you score two runs. It's even more difficult to win two games with only two runs.

But that's what the Red Sox did today as Bobby Jenks picks up the four-out save, his second of the day.

For the second time today, the White Sox defeat the Red Sox, 3-1.

Be sure to check back in a little bit for more.

Mid 9th, White Sox 3-1: The wave made its way around Fenway Park in the top of the ninth, but now the Red Sox are going to need a wave of offense.

Hideki Okajima surrendered a two-out single to Gordon Beckham, but was able to limit the White Sox to only that.

Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew are due up for Boston in the bottom of the frame with one last chance to salvage a game in this doubleheader.

End 8th, White Sox 3-1: Bobby Jenks gets the White Sox out of the jam.

Jenks came in and shut the door on the Red Sox' eighth inning by getting Darnell McDonald to fly out just like he did in the first game.

The Red Sox leave two more on and the offensive troubles continue. They're going to need a ninth-inning comeback despite the fact that they've outhit the White Sox so far in the nightcap.

9:51 p.m.: It's now or never for the Red Sox in this one.

Ozzie Guillen has just made his way to the mound and he's calling on the big fella for the second time today.

Guillen is giving the ball to his closer Bobby Jenks and try to get four outs out of the big right-hander.

Jenks already pitched earlier, picking up the save in the first game for Chicago.

Mid 8th, White Sox 3-1: The odd year continues for John Lackey. The righty looked good tonight, but the Red Sox offense continues its dormant ways.

Daniel Bard pitched the eighth for the Red Sox and looked good despite giving up a flare base hit to Manny Ramirez.

Bard was able to work around the single to make relatively easy work of the White Sox in the eighth.

Manny is making this return a memorable one as he now has three hits on the day counting this afternoon's game.

The Red Sox, however, will have to wake up their bats and get something going to avoid what would be a disastrous day of baseball.

Mid 7th, White Sox 3-1: Carlos Quentin continues to abuse John Lackey and another defensive miscue just makes mattes worse for the Red Sox.

Quentin is now 7-for-11 (three homers, five RBIs) off Lackey in his career after he followed a Mark Teahen base hit with a double of his own.

Teahen coasted to third and then came in when Ryan Kalish's throw gets past second base and rolls all the way to the wall beyond the Red Sox' on-deck circle.

A sacrifice fly brings in Quentin, who moved up 90 feet on the Kalish error.

Both runs are earned but Lackey has not been given any help in this one.

Scott Linebrink is on to replace Gavin Floyd. Robert Manuel is warming for Boston. Lackey is done after 116 pitches, it would appear.

End 6th, 1-1: The duel continues as Gavin Floyd works around a hit batter in the sixth. Floyd has allowed two earned runs or less in 14 of his last 16 starts so this is not unexpected.

Floyd has thrown 115 pitches, however. We may have seen the last of him.

Mid 6th, 1-1: Manny Ramirez is a strikeout victim for the second time in the game and John Lackey will take a two-hitter into the seventh. His pitch count is at 91.

Not sure how many of you still care but the Rays are losing 7-2 in Baltimore. If that score holds and the Red Sox can rally the deficit would be back to 6 1/2 games, right where it was when this series was scheduled to start Friday night.

Tampa Bay comes into town Monday for the last three games between the teams this season.

End 5th, 1-1: The Red Sox get on the board but should've had more. J.D. Drew, Victor Martinez and David Ortiz are each retired with runners on first and third. Gotta get more than that, fellas.

The rally began with a leadoff walk by Ryan Kalish. Bill Hall singled him to third and Marco Scutaro singled behind a moving Gordon Beckham (Hall took off on the play). This was all with no outs and the 2-4 hitters were coming up.

Drew is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts in the doubleheader.

Mid 5th, White Sox 1-0: So on Saturday we get the good John Lackey. It's never easy to predict which one will show up. The White Sox have only an unearned run and two hits through five.

Lackey has struck out six and now has 23 punchouts in 19 1/3 innings over a span of three starts.

End 4th, White Sox 1-0: The search for some kind of punch continues. David Ortiz gets on with a base hit but the next three go in order. Six hitters in the Boston lineup are hitting .260 or worse.

Mid 4th, White Sox 1-0: Things get a tad testy in the fourth when John Lackey hits Carlos Quentin with a pitch and both benches are warned. Quentin lowered his shoulder on Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the second inning, popping the ball free. Home plate umpire James Hoye, for one, seemed to consider this payback.

Ozzie Guillen argued the warning as it puts his starter in a bind. Terry Francona came out to get an explanation. Lackey protested and may have had a point — the HBP pushed the two runners already on up to second and third.

Then again, Quentin has absolutely owned Lackey (6-for-10, three homers) and Ramon Castro was on deck.

You be the judge.

End 3rd, White Sox 1-0: The Red Sox get a runner to second base, which is an accomplishment these days. Bill Hall's double does the job. J.D. Drew walked one out later but Victor Martinez grounded out weakly to second and we press on in search of the big hit.

Boston has left 12 runners on in 12 innings of this doubleheader.

Mid 3rd, White Sox 1-0: When you give up a leadoff triple it rarely leads to anything good. But the Red Sox actually had a chance to strand the runner, if not for Jarrod Saltalamacchia's first real mistake with the team.

With Carlos Quentin on third John Lackey struck out Ramon Castro for the first out. Gordon Beckham then grounded one to Victor Martinez, who threw home with plenty of time to nail Quentin.

Despite having a hand in the mitt to seemingly hold the ball tight Saltalamacchia let it pop free when Quentin charged into him. It goes in the books as an error and the run is unearned.

End 2nd, 0-0: The Red Sox remain punchless in the second. Since their six-run inning the other night in Baltimore they have been held scoreless in 19 out of 22 innings. Two of the times they scored it was just one run.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: The boos seemed to be a bit louder for Manny Ramirez this time, and the cheers were extremely loud after he struck out. A bit more of an adult crowd for the nightcap.

End 1st, 0-0: It's always a bit sad to hear the fan reaction when David Ortiz hits into the shift. They forget a defender is parked well into right field and believe Big Papi has a single until it is scooped up and he is an easy out. Heartbreaking.

Victor Martinez had a two-out single in the first but that was it. The Red Sox have now scored two runs in their last 17 innings.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Our 10th inning of Saturday baseball begins with three quiet outs, although the White Sox continued with a theme established in the opener of working the Red Sox starter.

John Lackey needed eight pitches to retire both the leadoff man and the No. 2 hitter. He threw 21 pitches overall.

Clay Buchholz had a pitch count of 95 through five innings of the day game.

6:26 p.m.: In the interest of brevity, here is all you need to know on Jason Varitek's rehab assignment, the plan to bring back Clay Buchholz on short rest and the news on Mike Lowell's rib injury.

Now, on to Saturday night's must-win affair.

With the very first out he records John Lackey will lead the Red Sox in innings pitched. With the first hit he allows he will take over the American League lead for that unwanted category.

That pretty much sums up Lackey's season. He has been a horse at times but the hits have come at a steady rate. Over his last six starts he has allowed 50 hits in 40 2/3 innings, going 2-3 with a 5.75 ERA.

Here is the lineup Lackey will face in his pursuit of his 13th win of the season.

Juan Pierre, LF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Alex Rios, CF
Paul Konerko, 1B
Manny Ramirez, DH
Mark Teahen, 3B
Carlos Quentin, RF
Ramon Castro, C
Gordon Beckham, 2B

Postgame, White Sox 3-1: Clay Buchholz threw 95 pitches in just five innings and likely was not going to be given much more slack than that as the club is considering using him on short rest Wednesday.

With the rainout Friday the Red Sox were going to need a starter for the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays. That figures to be a pretty big game in terms of keeping alive whatever hopes the team has at that point.

Buchholz will simply see how his body bounces back over the next few days and Terry Francona will make a call later on.

Look for more on the Buchholz decision and Mike Lowell's rib injury in stories on the site. For now we have to move onto the second game. Here is the Red Sox' lineup vs. Gavin Floyd:

Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Ryan Kalish, CF
Bill Hall, 2B

Final, White Sox 3-1: Well, at least the Red Sox don't have to wait and think about this one until tomorrow with the nightcap of this doubleheader still to follow.

White Sox closer Bobby Jenks worked around a leadoff single by Jed Lowrie to pick up his 26th save of the season.

Lowrie's single signaled a promising start to the ninth inning for the Red Sox, but Jenks was able to do his job to secure the win for the White Sox in the matinee opener.

Mid 9th, White Sox 3-1: Hopefully the Red Sox just picked up some momentum after Tim Wakefield craftily avoid damage in the top of the ninth.

With runners on first and third and only one out, Wakefield faked a pick-off throw to third only to turn and catch Alexei Ramirez breaking for second.

A pop-out followed and the Red Sox will have to make their comeback against White Sox closer Bobby Jenks in the ninth.

End 8th, White Sox 3-1: Sergio Santos continues to be a diamond in the rough for the Chicago White Sox.

The converted infielder has put up good numbers all year out of the White Sox bullpen, numbers he just improved upon with a perfect eighth inning.

It's been a frustrating day for the Red Sox bats, especially David Ortiz who just struck out for the third time today.

Mid 8th, White Sox 3-1: Tim Wakefield needed just seven pitches to get through his first inning of work since his Aug. 25 spot start.

The knuckleballer sent the White Sox down in order in the top of the eighth and got Manny Ramirez to ground out to third base to end the inning.

If the Red Sox are going to get anything going it's going to have to be off of reliever Sergio Santos who replaces Danks after seven strong innings.

End 7th, White Sox 3-1: Ten pitches gets John Danks through the seventh. Aside from a little hiccup in the fifth he has been outstanding.

Tim Wakefield is indeed on to pitch the eighth, and likely the ninth if the Red Sox do not rally.

Mid 7th, White Sox 3-1: Dustin Richardson gets his two men. Tim Wakefield was up and warming and we may see him in the eighth to face a trio of White Sox right-handers.

3:14 p.m.: Scott Atchison retired all six men he faced in a great relief outing the other night in Baltimore. He gives up five hits in just 1 1/3 innings of this one and leaves with the White Sox on top 3-1.

Gordon Beckham doubled in Alexei Ramirez and is at second with just one out and the top of the order coming up.

Dustin Richardson is your new Red Sox pitcher.

End 6th, White Sox 2-1: In the few pitches after John Danks needed an injury timeout for a left leg issue, the Red Sox drew a walk and got a single from Bill Hall. Swinging on the first pitch he sees Darnell McDonald grounds into a 5-4 force.

It may have been a cramping issue for Danks. He did not require a warmup toss after the trainer came out. The lefty has tossed 93 pitches.

Scott Atchison is out to begin the seventh.

Mid 6th, White Sox 2-1: Three singles, including the second of the afternoon by Manny Ramirez, are not enough for the White Sox to add to their lead. Double plays have really helped out Boston. It has turned three.

Not sure how much it matters anymore but for those who are curious the Yankees are tied with Toronto 5-5 in the fifth. Tampa Bay is at Baltimore later on.

End 5th, White Sox 2-1: The Red Sox score for just the second time in their last 12 innings when Marco Scutaro drives in Bill Hall with no outs in the fifth.

There were opportunities for more. With runners at first and second J.D. Drew uncharacteristically swung at the first pitch and flied to center for the first out. Victor Martinez popped to left and with two outs Adrian Beltre's liner to left was tracked down by Juan Pierre.

Shows what I know. Figured Terry Francona would give Clay Buchholz at least another inning, what with another game to worry about and a limited bullpen. But Buchholz is done after five innings and 95 pitches. Scott Atchison is in.

Mid 5th, White Sox 2-0: That's a little more like it. Clay Buchholz has his first perfect inning since the first, picking up his second strikeout along the way.

As a reminder, Felix Doubront is still not available and Terry Francona has a second game to worry about so he will get as much as he can out of Buchholz.

Of course, as I type this, there is action in the bullpen. It looks like Scott Atchison.

End 4th, White Sox 2-0: John Danks has his second 1-2-3 inning, slicing through the trio of David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie. Danks has thrown 32 pitches fewer than Clay Buchholz.

Mid 4th, White Sox 2-0: Two double plays and a caught stealing have helped Clay Buchholz limit the White Sox to just two runs. They have six hits and a walk already against the righty.

The race for the American League Cy Young Award seems to be a four-way battle, with Buchholz up against CC Sabathia, David Price and Felix Hernandez. 

Against such competition one slip-up could eliminate someone. Buchholz might want to clean things up a bit or else could fall back in the pack a bit, despite his phenomenal ERA.

End 3rd, White Sox 1-0: Because of the caught stealing to end the top of the third the White Sox will have Paul Konerko leading off, followed by you know who. John Danks worked around a two-out single by Victor Martinez in the third.

Mid 3rd, White Sox 1-0: The White Sox failed to score in a third inning that had a bizarre ending but they succeeded in making Clay Buchholz work. The righty needed 11 pitches before retiring Gordon Beckham and eight more to get Juan Pierre before Omar Vizquel drew a five-pitch walk.

Alex Rios then singled and with a 1-2 count on Paul Konerko he broke for second as Buchholz wheeled and fired to Jed Lowrie covering.

Lowrie seemed to have Rios, who just collapsed on the ground, but instead chose to fire home to catch a streaking Vizquel. If Vizquel crossed before Rios was tagged the run would've counted so maybe that was Lowrie's thinking. Or maybe he forgot how many outs there were.

Buchholz ended up throwing 32 pitches in the inning. He has thrown 62 already.

End 2nd, White Sox 1-0: A single by Adrian Beltre, a double by Mike Lowell and a walk to Jed Lowrie loads the bases with one out. Give John Danks credit for getting out of it.

Bill Hall strikes out and Darnell McDonald grounded into a force. Early missed opportunity right there.

Lowell's double extends his hitting streak to five games and showed just how strong the wind is right now. It tailed away from center fielder Alex Rios before landing in the triangle.

Mid 2nd, White Sox 1-0: Manny Ramirez has four hits, including a home run, in his last six Fenway Park at-bats. His single in the second pushes Paul Konerko to third. Konerko scores on a 4-6-3 double play.

The reception for Manny was similar to when he was here in June. It started with some boos but the cheers eventually won out. He promptly poked one down the line in right, one of three hits off Clay Buchholz in the inning.

End 1st, 0-0: A total of 20 pitches were thrown in a speedy first inning, 12 by John Danks in the bottom half. All three outs were recorded in the air.

Before the game Terry Francona was asked if he thought Manny Ramirez could propel Chicago to an A.L. Central crown. His reply was simple:

"I hope not this weekend."

We will see Ramirez in a matter of moments.

Mid 1st, 0-0: The wait for Manny Ramirez's second first at-bat as an opposing player at Fenway Park will have to wait another inning. Clay Buchholz motors through the top of the first in perfect fashion.

12:45 p.m.: If past history means anything then Clay Buchholz could be in for a rough one. Then again, he is a different pitcher than he was in his first few years. Either way, the White Sox have enjoyed their meetings with the young righty.

Buchholz has given up 12 runs on 13 hits in just 7 2/3 innings vs. Chicago. Five of the hits have been home runs. He has also walked five batters.

Saturday's Chicago starters are 8-for-21 (.381) with a pair of home runs and four walks against Buchholz. 

As mentioned earlier, those meetings came when Buchholz was a different pitcher. He has not faced the White Sox since Aug. 24, 2009, when he gave up seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings. Then again, that was his only bad effort in a dominant stretch of 10 starts so maybe there is something to it all. We'll see in a few minutes.

12:01 p.m.: Jason Varitek is meeting with team medical officials Saturday and may get clearance to play soon.

"We will see what they allow him to do," Terry Francona said. "Hopefully they let him play."

Varitek had a scan on his broken foot Friday. He was seen throwing aggressively in the pouring rain during the afternoon and shows very little of the limp that was evident since he got the protective boot off.

With the Triple-A slate winding down there is very little time for a rehab assignment. Because of that, Francona called Saturday's get-together with the doctors "an important meeting for him."

Francona said Dustin Pedroia's surgery went well and that he spoke with his second baseman by phone. Pedroia was "upbeat" and the club is encouraged with how the procedure went.

Pedroia will be on crutches for a month or so and then likely in a boot for another 4-6 weeks. He should be able to pick up with a somewhat normal offseason routine by Dec. 1, which is a customary time for players to start ramping back up anyway.

Francona admired Pedroia's ability to give a comeback a try.

"Guys are built to play. The really special ones, Pedey I would put in that category, they find a way, they try," Francona said. "Wearing the boot, cuttring the corners, that's kinda what the good ones do. A pretty special guy. He gave it a good shot."

Pedroia should not have any hesitations about going 100 percent once spring training rolls around.

In other injury news, Felix Doubront is doing better but will not be pitching Saturday. He has played catch but isn't quite ready to return. It leaves Francona a bit short in the bullpen on a doubleheader but there was never any consideration to bring in another arm.

"We better be OK with what we have," he said.

Junichi Tazawa is in Boston for the first time this year. He continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery. The facility in Fort Myers shuts down for a bit before instructional league play begins and Tazawa had been there all summer, so a change of scenery might help him feel a bit better about himself.

Finally, the rainout Friday has put Boston in a bind for Wednesday's series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays. We may see Tim Wakefield in that one, but Francona will wait before making an announcement.

11:42 a.m.: The Manny Ramirez buzz is certainly not what it was the last time he arrived, as expected. His words of contrition may have something to do with that. The newness of it has worn off a bit, despite his new uniform.

Manny will bat fifth against Clay Buchholz. Below are the lineups for both teams. Sorry for the delay. Also, we will have all the injury updates in a few minutes.

Red Sox

Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jed Lowrie, 2B
Bill Hall, LF
Darnell McDonald, CF

White Sox

Juan Pierre, LF
Omar Vizquel, 3B
Alex Rios, CF
Paul Konerko, 1B
Manny Ramirez, DH
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Andruw Jones, RF
Alexis Ramirez, SS
Gordon Beckham, 2B

9:39 a.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we are getting for a long day in perfect conditions for baseball. We should have the lineups for you in a bit, as well as all the news and notes leading up to the first pitch.

8 a.m.: The Red Sox went nearly five months of the season without experiencing a rainout. They've had to take on two in less than two weeks.

Hurricane Earl put an end to any plans for Boston and the Chicago White Sox to play baseball Friday night at Fenway Park. The teams will meet in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

The matinee begins at 1:05 p.m. The evening affair is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. This with tickets for Friday night's game can use them in the day game. Both games will air on NESN, with coverage beginning at 12 p.m.

Clay Buchholz will aim for his 16th win of the season in the opener opposite White Sox lefty John Danks. John Lackey goes against Gavin Floyd in the nightcap.

Boston split a doubleheader against Seattle to end its last homestand, taking the opener before succumbing to Mariners ace Felix Hernandez at night.

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