The Red Sox needed something to spark some momentum ahead of their overseas trip across the pond to London. This series against the White Sox was their last chance to do just that, and they got off to a good start on Monday. Boston was trailing for a lot of this game, coming back to tie multiple times but failing to jump out in front. Eduardo Núñez was able to tie the game a couple of times with big swings, and then in the ninth they loaded the bases in front of Marco Hernandez. The infielder, who came in as a pinch runner in the eighth, came through with an infield single to walk it off and give Boston the win.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been mostly going strong for the Red Sox over his last five starts, even though he’s allowed four runs in two of them. The biggest issue for the lefty over his career has often been making it deep into games, limiting himself to five innings far too often. However, coming into this start he had pitched into the sixth inning in each of those last five starts including finishing seven full frames in each of his last two. He kept that first streak going in this one.
The first inning was a good sign of what was to come for Rodriguez in this start as he rolled through the top of Chicago’s order. He got a couple pairs of shoes as Dennis Eckersley would say, or a pair of strikeouts looking as every other person would say. Whatever you want to call it, he got those two quick outs before a ground out back to him on the mound to end a very quick first inning.
In the second inning, though, the White Sox did get on the board to jump out to an early lead. The Red Sox have, of course, become all too familiar with falling into early deficits. Here, rookie Eloy Jiménez started the rally when he just missed a home run and settled for a double high off the Monster with one out. After Rodriguez got the second out of the inning, old friend Yoán Moncada came to the plate. The switch-hitter hadn’t had a home run from the right side all year to this point, but that changed in a hurry. Rodriguez tried to sneak a cutter by on the inside corner but Moncada was all over it, hitting an absolute rocket of a line drive up into the Monster Seats. Just like that, it was 2-0 White Sox.
To his credit, Rodriguez didn’t let that home run snowball into a disastrous outing. He settled down in a big way after the big fly, getting the final out of the inning immediately after before tossing a 1-2-3 third. He came out in the fourth and fifth and allowed a single in each of those innings but nothing more.
On the other side, the Red Sox had the misfortune of starting this series against Chicago’s ace in Lucas Giolito. He has put up fantastic numbers all season, and we got a glimpse of how he did it here as the Red Sox weren’t totally overmatched but did have some trouble making contact at times. That includes the first inning where they did get a one-out double from Andrew Benintendi but stranded him in an effort that included a pair of strikeouts. Their first innings have been rough all year and that continued here.
Fortunately, they didn’t wait long to cut into Chicago’s lead after Moncada’s home run. In the bottom of the second, Jackie Bradley Jr. came up to the plate with one out. Giolito tried to start things off with a first-pitch fastball over the plate for a strike, but Bradley was ready to swing. He took the middle-middle pitch and put it out to straightaway center field in the seats right next to the 420 sign, bringing Boston to within one.
The Red Sox wouldn’t get anything more in that inning and then went down in order in the third before getting back in action in the fourth. There, they got a leadoff walk from J.D. Martinez before Rafael Devers hit into a fielder’s choice to swap out the runners at first base. After Xander Bogaerts ripped a base hit by Moncada and a wild pitch from Giolito, the Red Sox suddenly had a pair in scoring position with just one out. It was a prime opportunity to at least tie the game, but Bradley couldn’t get the ball deep enough to score the run on a fly ball to left field. It was much worse than that, though, because Devers got a little too cute and bluffed that he was going after Jiménez made the catch. That backfired when the throw came in to the cutoff man and Devers slipped getting back to the bag. As a result, he was cut down at third and the inning was over in the blink of an eye thanks to truly terrible baserunning.
The good news is the Red Sox came right back in the fifth with another chance. This time it was Michael Chavis starting the rally by ripping a bad changeup high off the Monster for a one-out double. That brought Eduardo Núñez to the plate, and after getting to a two-strike count he put a good swing on a tough pitch to loft a liner into right field for a big base hit. That brought Chavis around the score, and the game was tied.
It was still tied when Rodriguez came back out for the sixth, too, but it wouldn’t be for long. José Abreu came up to the plate in that inning with the Red Sox lefty just an out away from getting through six strong, but Abreu had other ideas. He got a 1-1 fastball middle-in and was all over it, hitting an absolute shot out to left field for a no-doubt solo shot, and the Red Sox were back down by a score of 3-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox came back with the bats ready to rally again. It started with one out when Devers drew a walk before Bogaerts ripped a double out to the left field corner. It was hit too well to score Devers, but it did put a pair in scoring position with one out. After Bradley was intentionally walked, the bases were loaded for Christian Vázquez. Giolito got a big strikeout against the Red Sox catcher, leaving it up to Chavis. The Red Sox rookie didn’t have to do too much as Giolito issued a walk, forcing home the tying run. That ended the White Sox starter’s night, but the Red Sox couldn’t add any more as Evan Marshall came in to strike out Núñez and end the inning.
Rodriguez then came back out for the seventh, but he started that inning off by walking Jiménez. Jon Jay then moved the runner up to scoring position on a walk. That ended up paying off as Yonder Alonso came up after Moncada was intentionally walked and ripped a base hit into right field. That brought Jimenez around to give Chicago their lead back and Rodriguez’ night was over with runners on the corners and just one out.
Marcus Walden was called upon to try and escape that mess, but Yolmer Sánchez came in as a pinch hitter and immediately hit a base hit of his own to extend Chicago’s lead to two. Walden did come back with two straight strikeouts to end the inning, but the Red Sox had work to do down by two with nine outs remaining.
Once again, the Red Sox wasted no time getting back on the scoreboard and into the game. Mookie Betts was up to lead off the inning and he showed some aggressiveness at the plate, jumping on a first-pitch fastball and sending it out over the wall in center field to cut Boston’s deficit in half. The Red Sox would have a chance at more later in the inning when Devers smacked a two-out double, but Bogaerts couldn’t get a big hit and the Red Sox settled for the one-run deficit.
Colten Brewer then came on for the top half of the eighth. The righty did allow a double but got two outs before getting to a 3-2 count on Jon Jay. At that point, Alex Cora came to the mound. It was assumed it was just a normal mound visit with the manager extending a message to the infield, but strangely enough Josh Taylor was called in to try and finish the at bat. He didn’t do it, throwing a ball and issuing the walk. The Red Sox lefty did finish the inning after that with a strikeout against Moncada.
In the bottom of the eighth, Bradley got things started on the right foot with a walk, but then with Vázquez up they tried a hit-and-run. It wasn’t the worst move in the world with the latter generally being a good contact hitter, but he swung through the 0-1 pitch leaving Bradley as a dead duck making the inning’s first out on the bases. Vázquez did follow that up with a base hit, and after Marco Hernandez came in to pinch run he moved up to second on a wild pitch. Eventually, it was up to Núñez with two outs and he came through with a clutch base hit through the left side, scoring Hernandez and tying the game. It was the second game-tying run for Núñez of the evening.
Taylor and Workman combined for a scoreless ninth that did see a runner reach scoring position, giving the Red Sox a chance to walk it off in the ninth with the heart of the order coming up. Benintendi got things started with a double out to the right field corner. He would eventually move to third with two outs, and after Bogaerts was intentionally walked it was up to Bradley to be the potential hero. He would instead draw the walk, though, loading the bases for Hernandez. The infielder who came in the previous inning to run came through with the bat, beating out an infield single to the left side to walk it off.
Boston and Chicago will continue this three-game set with the second game on Tuesday night. The Red Sox will send David Price to the mound while the White Sox will be going with a bullpen day. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.