Red Sox 4, White Sox 6: Streak snapped by a matter of inches

Jonathan Daniel

Jon Lester struggled in his start, but at the end of a day the Red Sox' winning streak would have survived if things had gone just slightly differently.

The Red Sox missed big plays by inches, letting the White Sox escape with a 6-4 victory and snapping Boston's streak at five straight.

It did not take long for Jon Lester to show he simply didn't have it tonight. While the first two outs would come relatively easily on a pop-up and a strikeout, Alex Rios would hit a 2-2 fastball on he ground, but back up the middle. That seemed to completely derail Lester. He struggled to find the strike zone against Paul Konerko, walking him on five pitches, and then threw two balls to Adam Dunn. The Chicago designated hitter entered the game hitting .069/.182/.172 against lefties, but when Lester offered him a 2-0 fastball waist-high and outside, Dunn didn't miss it. The ball dropped into the right field stands, and the White Sox were up 3-0 after one.

Things would continue to go downhill in the second, and once again all the damage came with two outs. This time, though, it came with some help from the defense. A Tyler Greene double to right field never had a chance to be caught, but Will Middlebrooks let an Alejandro De Aza ground ball to third get under his glove and into shallow left field for an RBI double, extending the inning and allowing Alexei Ramirez a chance to double De Aza home to make it 5-0.

The Red Sox would finally strike back against Dylan Axelrod in the third, with Stephen Drew drawing a walk and Jarrod Saltalamacchia clubbing a two-run shot to left-center, but that would be all they would manage against the Chicago starter in six innings of work. With another poor play by Will Middlebrooks costing Lester a sixth run in the fifth inning, the Sox trailed by four going into the last third of the ballgame.

To that point, the Sox hadn't really felt like competitors since Dunn's homer, but all that changed in the seventh. A pair of leadoff walks from Matt Thornton to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli gave the Red Sox a golden opportunity, and Will Middlebrooks took advantage, hitting a hard drive to the wall in left. Dayan Viciedo's defensive efforts were sloppy at best, and both Ortiz and Napoli came around to score, bringing the Red Sox within two.

Ultimately, though, that would not be enough. The Red Sox had been hitting fly balls to the warning track all night, and that trend would hold frustratingly true. Jarrod Saltalamacchia would make the last out of the seventh with a fly ball to the warning track that, had it gone just a little further, would have tied the game. The same was true of an effort from Will Middlebrooks to dead center in the ninth. Both times, though, the balls died just shy of the wall, leaving the Red Sox with outs. Even Stephen Drew tried to keep the game going with a sharply hit two-out ground ball in the ninth, but Paul Konerko made a diving stop and tossed to Addison Reed to end a game that certainly could have gone the other way.

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