The Boston Red Sox won for the seventh time in their last eight games to improve to a season-best 26 games over .500.
The 7-6 win clinched a three-game sweep over the Chicago White Sox, who had entered the series as one of the hotter teams in baseball.
Felix Doubront, who initially looked sharp, failed to make it out of the fourth inning, but was picked up by Brandon Workman (who got the win), Franklin Morales, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Koji Uehara.
Doubront allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk. Prior to the fourth inning the left hander had faced just one over the minimum. The outing matched his shortest of the season which came on May 3 against the Rangers in Texas.
Uehara picked up his 16th save of the season in 1-2-3 fashion. He has now retired the last 18 batters he's faced.
David Ortiz, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs knocked in, helped the Red Sox offense pick up for Doubront. For more on Ortiz check tomorrow's paper...
The Boston offense managed 11 hits on the night, including Stephen Drew's 11th home run of the season, which came in the third inning. Rookie Xander Boagerts got the start at third base in place of Will Middlebrooks and finished 1-for-4.
Dustin Pedroia (2-for-4, BB, R) reached base three times and Daniel Nava, who reached base on a walk in the seventh inning has now reached base safely in his last 36 starts (good for the longest active streak in baseball).
Both Shane Victorino (leg contusion) and Jacoby Ellsbury (swollen thumb) left Sunday's game for precautionary reasons and are listed as day-to-day. Ellsbury didn't speak much to the media following the game, but he did wave his had around and the swelling was hard to miss.
If you DVR'd the game, I suggest you check out Jarrod Saltalamacchia's first and likely only steal of the season. It came in the second inning and was just the second of his career.
Boston (82-56) will host the Detroit Tigers (80-57) tomorrow, with John Lackey (8-11, 3.19) opposing Doug Fister (11-7, 3.81). First pitch is at 1:35 p.m.
Thanks for reading.
Final: Red Sox 7, White Sox 6: Uehara sent the White Sox down in order, striking out one, to record his 16th save of the season and help the Red Sox to improve to 82-56 overall.
David Ortiz (2-for-3, BB, 2B 3RBI) and the Red Sox offense picked up Felix Doubront on a day that the young left hander didn't have his best stuff. With the victory Boston secured the three-game sweep of Chicago.
Brandon Workman picked up the win, improving to 4-2 on the season.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 6: Boagerts led off with a single to right, but was ultimately stranded at third base.
With one out Nate Jones replaced Leesman, who did a heck of a job keeping Chicago in the game. Leesman's line: 4.1 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned).
In a somewhat odd move, Quintin Berry (making his Red Sox debut) has replaced Ellsbury in center to start the ninth. There's likely more to come on this...
Koji Uehara on for the ninth.
Top 8th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 6: Things are getting dicey. Lefty Craig Breslow came on and retired Viciedo and Gillaspie without issue. Tyler Flowers then made a bid for the Mass Pike with a towering home run over everything in left to cut the Boston lead to one.
Breslow bounced back to get De Aza to fly to center to end the inning.
I can hear a song by Neil Diamond playing in the background, but I'm not sure what it's called...
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 5: Leesman retired Pedroia and Ortiz to start the inning, then lost his control, walking Nava, Carp, and Saltalamacchia in succession. However, the 26-year-old recovered to get Drew to ground out to end the inning.
The Red Sox have now left seven men on base.
Today's paid attendance was just announced at 37,053. That's the Red Sox' 22nd sellout this season. A good-natured tip of the hat to my colleague Nick Cafardo (sitting a row in front of me) for getting the word out.
Top 7th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 5: Morales retired Leury Garcia on a pop out to first and then allowed a single to Ramirez before being replaced by Junichi Tazawa.
Ramirez stole second (the play was bang-bang), and Konerko walked. But Taz recovered to punch out Avisail Garcia and pop up Keppinger.
Victorino Update: The Red Sox just announced that the right fielder has been diagnosed with a left hip contusion. His status is day-to-day.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 5: Bad news for the Red Sox, who went in order in the sixth. Shane Victorino, who has been red hot at the plate as of late, appeared to pull up lame a few steps towards first base after lacing a ground ball to third.
Victorino threw his helmet to the ground in disgust and walked out towards right field before Farrell and the Red Sox trainer caught up with him.
Victorino entered today with multiple hits in five of his last six games (12-for-24). During the stretch Victorino had 2 doubles, 4 home runs, 11 RBI, and 2 walks.
Jonny Gomes entered the game in left field and Nava has moved to right. Morales is on for another inning of work.
Top 6th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 5: Franklin Morales replaced Workman to begin the inning and retired the White Sox in order. Suddenly, this game's sped up a bit.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 5: For the first time today the Red Sox went down in order. Boagarts (0-2, 2K's) is set to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
Top 5th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 5: Chicago got a run back, thanks to two hits in the inning off Workman. Ramirez led off with a single, stole second, and scored easily on a Konerko single to center.
Workman then retired Garcia, Keppinger and Viciedo (on a nice play up the middle by Pedroia) in order.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 4: The Red Sox added two more runs off Charlie Leesman (who started the inning in place of Rienzo), but not without some controversy.
Ellsbury led off the inning with a walk, stole second (his MLB-leading 51st theft of the season), and was taking his lead off third base when Pedroia hit a line drive to Chicago third baseman Connor Gillaspie. Gillaspie appeared to catch the ball in the air as he dove to his right, but it came trickling out of his glove when he tried to double off Ellsbury.
Gillaspie then turned and fired wildly to first base, allowing Ellsbury to score his second run of the game and Pedroia to take second. Chicago manager Robin Ventura came out to argue the play and was eventually ejected by second base umpire Dana DeMuth.
When the dust had settled, Ortiz knocked in Pedroia with a single up the middle. Nava then grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play to end the inning.
Rienzo's final line: 3 innings pitched, 5 runs, 4 walks, 3 K's, 77 pitches (47 strikes)
For those of you scoreboard watching: The Yankees currently trail the Orioles 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh. New York's pitching had held Baltimore's offense off the scoreboard for 18 straight innings, before the O's seven-run burst in the last half inning.
First pitch between Tampa Bay and Oakland should be coming any minute.
Top 4th: Red Sox 5, White Sox 4: For an inning that began with a Leury Garcia strikeout by Doubront, things sure got ugly fast.
Back-to-back singles to left (by Ramirez and Konerko) and a walk to Avisail Garcia loaded the bases with one out for Jeff Keppinger, whose fly out to center was deep enough for Ramirez to tag and score.
Viciedo then started a string of three-straight hits for the White Sox that ultimately spelled the end of the day for Doubront.
Viciedo planted one off the monster to bring in Konerko. Connor Gillaspie followed with a two-run single. After Tyler Flowers singled on a ground ball up the middle that Drew couldn't get to, Red Sox manager John Farrell made the slow walk to the mound to get Doubront.
Brandon Workman came on and walked De Aza, before fanning Leury Garcia (who K'd twice in the frame) to end the inning.
Doubront's final line: 3.2 inning, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 K, 90 pitches (60 strikes).
Doubront's start snapped a string of 11 straight games in which Red Sox starters had yielded three runs of fewer.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 5, White Sox 0: Steven Drew's 11th home run of the season broke up what was otherwise a solid bounce-back inning by Rienzo, who caught Bogaerts looking to end the inning.
Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, White Sox 0: 1-2-3 inning for Doubront highlighted by a big looping curveball to strike out Tyler Flowers for the second out of the inning. Through three innings of work Doubront has thrown 50 pitches (34 for strikes) and scattered two hits.
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 4, White Sox 0: Loads of trouble for the rookie Rienzo in the second, as Boston sends nine men to the plate and nets four two-out runs.
Carp singled to begin the inning and Saltalamacchia followed with a walk. A Stephen Drew fly to right allowed Carp to tag and move to third with one out. Salty then caught everyone by surprise by stealing second. Bogaerts chased a 3-2 slider to become the second out of the inning. However, Ellsbury bailed the Sox out with a single up the middle to score two.
Rienzo then walked Victorino and Pedroia to load the bases for Ortiz. Big Papi jumped on the first pitch and laced a double down the right field line to score Ellsbury and Victorino. Ortiz is now just three hits shy of 2,000 for his career. Nava grounded a 3-2 pitch to third to end the inning.
The Sox continued to show a high level of patience at the plate. Rienzo's last pitch to Nava was his 60th of the outing.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0: Avisail Garcia (acquired by Chicago in the three-team trade that sent Jose Iglesias to Detroit) led off the inning with a single to right. Following a Jeff Keppinger fly out to center, Garcia too was picked off while trying to steal second by Doubront (with Carp's throw to Drew arriving at second with plenty of time). Dayan Viciedo grounded Doubront's 30th pitch of the game to short to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0: Ellsbury began the inning with a ground out. Victorino then went down looking at a sharp curveball by Rienzo.
The Sox looked to have something brewing with two outs in the inning after Pedroia (boasting the high sox today) laced a two-out single off the monster and Ortiz walked, but Daniel Nava flied out to the track in left center to end the inning.
Top 1st: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0: Alejandro De Aza went down looking at a Doubront curveball to begin the game. Leury Garcia then legged out an infield single (by half a step) that Stephen Drew did a nice job to get to deep in the hole. Alexei Ramirez followed with a fly out to Victorino in right.
Garcia then showed off his speed once again, stealing second despite being picked off by Doubront. Mike Carp's throw to Drew covering appeared to come in a split-second too late (though Drew seemed to disagree). However, Doubront made sure second was as far as Garcia would get by striking out Paul Konerko to end the inning.
Pre-game: Good afternoon from Fenway Park. There's been some scattered showers on and off this morning, but the tarp was taken off the field just moments ago. The announced start time for today's game is now set for 1:50 p.m.
Felix Doubront (10-6, 3.74) will take the mound across from White Sox rookie Andre Reinzo (1-0, 4.21). We'll have updates all game and please feel free to leave your comments.
A few notes:
"Iím just happy to be here and happy to be a part of the team," said the the 28-year-old who was acquired from the Royals in exchange for Clayton Mortensen on Aug. 27.
Berry had spent the entire 2013 season in Triple A and was surprised when he was told the news of his trade.
"I was already getting my stuff ready for the offseason," he said. "I sent my wife home to get everything prepared and then all of the sudden, boom, this happened."
Berry, who is known around baseball as an excellent base stealer, will likely be utilized in late-inning pinch running situations. So, it was no surprise that former Red Sox outfielder Dave Roberts' name came up.
"Oh Iím very familiar [with Roberts]," said Berry. "He set a high pedestal, man, and Iím ready to try to meet it, whatever I can do to help, it doesnít matter what it is."
It was Roberts' steal in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS that helped ignite Boston's historic comeback against the New York Yankees.
"It was the first time that Iíve been able to throw with that velocity without thinking about it, so that was definitely encouraging," Buchholz said. "I rely a lot on movement and for me to get the movement that Iíve had in the past the effort level has to be pretty much at the peak and that was what I was trying to do my last time out."
Buchholz is scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday in a minor league game and should be able to get to 70 pitches. Assuming all goes well, he would then rejoin a Red Sox staff that has performed admirably in his absence.
"[The recent Red Sox starting pitching] makes it a lot easier not having to rush back or stress about anything," said Buchholz. "Everybody theyíve called on has done their job and thatís what's expected of you in this city and it makes it fun to watch and not near as frustrating as it could have been.
"Thatís why I want to make sure that Iím ready," Buchholz continued. "I donít want to come in and make a zoo out of the rotation."
Buchholz also commented on the news that Daniel Bard had been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for the Red Sox new acquisitions.
"Itís the business side of the game and itís tough, you know coming up and being around each other for a long time," he said. "Heíll get back to the way he was. I think itís just a matter of time. I think everything will work out.
"It definitely makes you think about how quickly something like that can happen."