A long, ugly game in Chicago results in a much needed victory for the Red Sox.
Jackie Bradley Jr. ripped a two-run double in the top of the 14th inning on a 77-miles-per-hour fastball thrown by White Sox utility infielder Leury Garciato to score Daniel Nava and Jonathan Herrera. The sixth hit of the night for the Red Sox gave the visitors a 6-4 lead that would stand and snap Boston's three game losing streak. Garcia came on to make his MLB pitching debut after White Sox manager Robin Ventura burned through nine pitchers to get to the 14th inning. With one out, Garcia walked Nava and Herrera to set the stage for the Bradley game-winning hit in a game that took 5 hours and 17 minutes to complete.
“Definitely the definition of a grind it out win,” Bradley Jr. said after the game. “It was like a heavyweight fight. Everybody's tired. We're just trying to will it out and do the best we can.”
Burke Badenhop came on for the one-out save in the bottom of the 14th to seal the win after Chris Capuano pitched 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Red Sox for his first AL victory. Over the course of the game, a total of 504 pitches were thrown.
After the Red Sox rallied to tie the game 3-3 in the ninth inning, they took the lead in the 11th when Dustin Pedroia came home on a sac fly by Jonny Gomes. But fill-in closer Edward Mujica could not finish off the ChiSox as Tyler Flowers tied it up again 4-4 with a ground ball base hit up the middle that scored Jordan Danks, who Mujica walked to start the 11th inning.
The Red Sox walked 15 times in the game but after the first three batters hit safely in the first inning, Boston went hitless until Jonny Gomes picked up a soft infield single to load the bases in the ninth inning. The 15 walks were the most in a game by the Red Sox since they walked 15 times in Chicago in a nine-inning game May 1992. In scoring twice in the eighth and ninth innings, the Red Sox had just the Gomes' hit but were walked six times in the two innings by White Sox relievers while the Red Sox bullpen kept them in the game into the extra frames.
“Our pitchers did a heck of a job tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The bullpen came in with not a lot of margin for error but they continue to put up zeros. We had multiple, multiple opportunities with men on base offensively and we're still grinding away and we didn't come out of our approach. We took bases on balls when issued, which were a lot. Thankfully, we walk away from here with a win.”
With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz left a fastball up to red-hot Alexei Ramirez and the White Sox shortstop hit it out for a two-run homer and a 3-1 lead. Adam Dunn walked to start the inning, and after Buchholz sent Dayan Viciendo down swinging, Ramirez crushed the hanging fastball into the left field seats to break the tie.
With the home run, Ramirez tied Frank Thomas' franchise record for longest hit streak to start a season at 15 games. Ramirez is now batting .415 and leads the AL in average, OPS, slugging, and hits.
Boston fought right to the end. After Pedroia led off the ninth with his first walk of the season, he advanced to second on a wild pitch by Maikel Cleto. Xander Bogaerts then became the 10th Red Sox batter to be issued a free pass on the night. The Red Sox would load the bases and Grady Sizemore would drive in Pedroia with the tying run with a long sac fly to left field off reliever Matt Lindstrom.
The Red Sox got a run back in the eighth inning without the benefit of a hit when A.J. Pierzynski hit a sac fly to drive in David Ortiz who walked, advanced to second on a walk to Gomes, and made it to third when Sizemore grounded into a force.
The Sox would go on to load the bases in the eighth when the White Sox trotted four pitchers to the mound. Four Red Sox walks in the inning resulted in the one run but Bradley popped out to shallow left to end the rally. It was the first time the Red Sox had four walks in an inning since the ninth inning in a game against the Rays in May last season.
The shaky Red Sox defense wasted no time rearing its ugly head again Wednesday night.
Things went badly in the bottom of the first when third baseman Ryan Roberts stole a page from Bogaerts' book when he bounced a routine throw to first base for a two-base error allowing the White Sox to tie the game without the benefit of a hit. Boston made two errors in the inning as Nava was charged with an E-3 earlier on an errant pick-off attempt by Buchholz.
The errors forced Buchholz to throw 31 pitches in the first inning and a whopping 51 after two. But the Sox righty would settle down until the sixth when he gave up the two-run homer to Ramirez. Buchholz would leave the game after the sixth, throwing 109 pitches, giving up three runs, two earned, six hits, two walks, a wild pitch, a HBP, and six strikeouts.
Pedroia returned to the lineup and hit a leadoff double to start the game. Bogaerts drove him in for the rookie shortstops first RBI of the year in the top of the first inning after White Sox starter John Danks gave up hits to the first three Boston batters. It was the first run the Red Sox scored in the first inning this season. Danks did not give up another hit after the first. He would last six innings, giving up one earned run on the three hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.
The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the third inning after A.J. Pierzynski grounded to third to end the threat. Bogaerts was hit by a pitch with one out and Gomes and Sizemore walked to load the bags with two outs. Over the 14 innings, the Red Sox were 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
In the bottom of the third, the Red Sox defense was aided by a stiff wind blowing in from right field as Jose Abreu flew out deep to Bradley Jr.