BOSTON — Despite a last-ditch effort by Red Sox manager John Farrell to get the final out overturned, for the second straight game the Sox fell to the Cubs at Fenway Park, losing 2-1 Tuesday night. This time it was the almost always dependable Koji Uehara who gave up the go-ahead run. He allowed a lead-off single to Anthony Rizzo in the ninth, followed by a Starlin Castro double to put runners on second and third. Luis Valbuena’s sacrifice fly to Mookie Betts – making his Fenway debut at the position – gave the Cubs the lead.
The Sox had the tying run on base in the ninth with two outs when Brock Holt hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Valbuena, who was shaded to his left. Valbuena got to the ball but his footing slipped and couldn’t make the play. But that was as far as Holt would get as Dustin Pedroia grounded to Valbuena to end the game. The umpires reviewed the call at Farrell’s request, but the out call was confirmed.
The Sox again wasted chances, going 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position leaving nine runners on base.
The Sox got a strong outing from Clay Buchholz, who went 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits with no walks, two strikeouts, and two hit batters. He had hit just one batter in 57 1/3 innings this season entering the game.
The Cubs also got a strong outing from their starter, Edwin Jackson, who went six innings, giving up one run on six hits and four walks, one intentional, with three strikeouts.
Pedro Strop got the win (1-3) with a scoreless eighth, while Hector Rondon earned his 11th save and second in as many games.
Uehara took the loss, falling to 3-2.
Valbuena went 0-for-3 but drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly. And his two plays at third base in the ninth inning proved to be the difference in the game.
Uehara had a ninth inning that was very uncharacteristic of him and unlike what observers have been accustomed to. The normally lights-out closer gave up a single and a double followed by a sacrifice fly. In his last seven outings, spanning seven innings, he has recorded three saves and two wins but also has a blown save and a loss as his ERA has increased from 0.57 to 1.40. In that span he has allowed four earned runs for an ERA of 5.14, giving up seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
With two outs, Dustin Pedroia on first base in the seventh inning, and a 3-0 count, David Ortiz didn’t seem to think it was necessary to wait for ball four to be called.
QUOTE/TWEET OF THE GAME:
“I need to get younger.” — Koji Uehara, on what adjustments he needs to make.
NUMBERS TO KNOW:
The Sox have limited opponents to three or fewer runs in their last 14 home games since May 28, the longest such streak in team history…Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-5 with an RBI, his third three-hit game in his last four. It was his team-high 24th multi-hit game of the season…Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning with two strikeouts. Of the last 16 outs he’s recorded, 14 have been by strikeouts…A.J. Pierzynski went 2-for-3 with a walk, matching his season high reaching base three times…The Sox are now batting .228 with runners in scoring position, leaving an average of 7.38 runners on base per game…Mike Napoli left six runners on base, while Xander Bogaerts left four…Bogaerts is 0 for his last 19 with seven strikeouts…
WHAT IT MEANS:
With the loss the Sox fell to 38-46, eight games under .500 one shy of the season-low (which they reached May 25), and are 20-21 at Fenway. They have dropped six of their last 15 series at Fenway, and 14 of 28 series overall. It was the 18th time they scored one or no runs, and second straight game. They are now 14-18 in one-run games and 5-27 when they score fewer than three runs.
The Sox host the Cubs for the series finale Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. at Fenway. Right-hander Brandon Workman (1-1, 3.27) is scheduled to start, opposed by Chicago lefty Travis Wood (7-6, 4.52).
Workman will be making his first career start against a National League team. In three career interleague games, spanning 2 2/3 innings, he has allowed three earned runs on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Workman has been solid this season in nine appearances, six starts. In his last start, though, he took the loss, going seven innings at Yankee Stadium allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Wood, meanwhile, has struggled on the road. Going 4-4 with a 6.07 ERA in eight road starts compared to 3-2 (3.08) at home. He took a no-decision in his last outing, going 6 2/3 innings at Washington, allowing three runs on seven hits, tying a season high with five walks, and four strikeouts.
This will be his first career appearance against the Sox.