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Having lost two straight, the Boston Red Sox needed a stopper Tuesday night. They turned to a man who hadn’t lost since June 2009, and he was terrible. Red Sox starter Alfredo Aceves gave up eight runs in just five innings of work, and the Chicago White Sox banged out 15 hits – 12 singles – and survived a late-game Boston push to out-slug the Red Sox, 10-7.
Whatever mystery and deception enabled Aceves to retire the White Sox 1-2-3 on eight pitches in the first inning, it disappeared before the second. The White Sox walked and singled to lead off the inning, then loaded the bases with one out. Second baseman Gordon Beckham put the White Sox up 1-0 with a single to left.
The White Sox went up 2-0 when third baseman Brent Morel’s grounder bounced high on a ranging Jed Lowrie, hit Lowrie in the glove and was kicked away. The play was ruled an RBI fielder’s choice with an error.
Aceves fielded a chopper in front of the plate by left fielder Juan Pierre and threw home for the second out, but shortstop Alexei Ramirez bounced a 1-2 pitch over Aceves’s glove and into center field to plate two more. Ramirez finished the game 4-5, including an additional RBI single in the fourth to make it 6-1 White Sox.
Aceves pitched into the sixth, hitting a batter and giving up a single without recording an out. Reliever Scott Atchison fared no better.
An immediate passed ball by Jason Varitek moved the Chicago runners to second and third, and with one out Pierre bounced a ball over a drawn-in Adrian Gonzalez to drive in both and take an 8-1 lead. The White Sox finished the inning up 10-1.
Aceves took the loss, allowing eight runs – six earned – on eight hits and three walks. He struck out one (the first out of the game) and hit a batter, his fifth of the season. He threw first-pitch strikes to only half the batters faced, and got only 11 called strikes in the game. Nearly twice as many (21) were put in play, with the White Sox content to score runs a base at a time.
Atchison gave up four hits, allowing two inherited runners to score while being charged with two runs of his own. His ERA is now 5.11.
The lone bright spot for the pitching staff Tuesday was the return of Bobby Jenks. After retiring the first two batters faced in the eighth on just four pitches, Jenks gave up back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. First baseman Paul Konerko lined a 1-2 pitch back up the middle, but Jenks snared the ball out of the air and doubled replacement left fielder Brent Lillibridge easily off first.
White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber dominated the Red Sox for the first seven innings. He retired the first eight Red Sox in a row, then made his only mistake until the eighth, allowing a Varitek two-out solo home run into the White Sox bullpen to make it 5-1 Chicago. Varitek finished the night 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
The Red Sox put runners on base every inning from the fourth through the seventh, but never broke through for runs. They finally broke through against Humber in the eighth.
Boston’s defensive replacements keyed the eighth-inning scoring, with Josh Reddick banging a double off the Green Monster and Drew Sutton scoring him with a single, also off the wall, to make it 10-2 White Sox. After Kevin Youkilis’s two out single – again off the wall – put runners at the corners, Humber was lifted for Will Ohman.
The left-handed reliever was called in to face David Ortiz, but Ortiz (2-4) simply took him the opposite way for a three-run home run into the Green Monster seats.
The Red Sox scored twice more in the bottom of the ninth, on a Reddick sacrifice fly and a Sutton RBI double, but then simply ran out of outs. Still down 10-7 with two outs, Chris Sale struck out Gonzalez to end the game.
Boston’s late-game scoring was never really a comeback. Humber, who threw over 70 percent of his pitches for strikes, kept the Red Sox offense in check for too long. Aceves gave up a bunch of runs early, then kept giving up more runs with each new inning, making a comeback more and more difficult as the game went on. The eighth and ninth innings were simply garbage time, and the Red Sox, who are definitely playing like garbage right now, used the time to pad their numbers and save a modicum of their self-respect.
Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Alexei Ramirez, Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, Boston Red Sox, Brent Lillibridge, Brent Morel, Chicago White Sox, Chris Sale, David Ortiz, Drew Sutton, Gordon Beckham, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick, Juan Pierre, Kevin Youkilis, MLB, Paul Konerko, Philip Humber, Scott Atchison