Well, that game was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Red Sox fell behind early on Wednesday’s getaway day when Chris Sale imploded for three runs in a first inning that honestly should have been worse. The offense did a good job of keeping the game close and Sale settled in as the day went on, giving his team a chance to come back. They did just that in the eighth with a little assistance from the White Sox defense. That inning culminated in a clutch, two-run single from Xander Bogaerts to take the lead. All that was standing between them and a sweep was three more outs from Matt Barnes. Getting those from the righty has been easier said than done of late, though, and sure enough he blew yet another save on a two-run shot from José Abreu. A crushing loss before having to fly across the Atlantic out to London.
After a brutal weekend in which they dropped two of three to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox headed into this week’s three-game set against the White Sox looking to get back some of that momentum they’d lost in the Toronto series. They did the job in the first two games, picking up a couple of victories and putting themselves in position to pick up a sweep with a win on a getaway day Wednesday afternoon. To make things even better, they had their ace on the mound in Chris Sale, who was going up against his former team that he had already dominated earlier in the year. Things were looking good.
That is, they were looking good until the game actually got going. Sale was absolutely dreadful in the top half of the first inning and he put his team in a hole right away. The southpaw was having trouble commanding his pitches and was staying away from his fastball early. As a result, the White Sox were jumping on hittable pitches and getting on base at will. The game started with a base hit out to right field before Yoán Moncada was hit in the leg with a slider. Moncada would eventually leave the game after being struck by the breaking ball. With two runners on, José Abreu stepped to the plate. He would line one out to right field and Mookie Betts started in the wrong direction. It would have been a tough play either way but that one step in made it a sure thing that it would drop over his head, resulting in an RBI double for the White Sox slugger.
Things kept going from there, too, when James McCann smacked a base hit through the left side to score another run. Just like that, it was 2-0 Chicago with runners on the corners and still nobody out. Sale did recover from there to get a strikeout for out number one, but then he gave up yet another base hit to make it 3-0 Chicago. The bases would eventually load up after a one-out walk, but Sale managed to escape with his team still only down three. It honestly could have, and perhaps should have, been worse.
The Red Sox ace came back looking better in a 1-2-3 second, but the White Sox got back to work in the third. McCann led off that inning and eventually got a slider down and in that he was able to jump all over. Chicago’s catcher blasted it out into the Monster Seats, and just like that the White Sox had four runs on the board. Later in the inning, Sale would Jon Jay with a pitch, and the outfielder moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. That paid off when Ryan Cordell hit a weak ground ball to third base. Rafael Devers couldn’t get the out, and his throw caused Michael Chavis to stretch a bit toward right field. When Chavis went to show the ump he had caught the ball on a close play, Jay kept going home and scored on a very heads up baserunning play. Just like that, it was five runs for the White Sox.
After that third inning, though, Sale put it in cruise control and ended up with a better outing than one could have imagined. The lefty retired the next ten batters he faced after Jay scored on the infield single, and Sale got through six innings. He did allow the five runs and it was a poor start overall, but he did also end up striking out ten.
Either way, after that first inning it was up to the Red Sox offense to pick up their ace for his second straight start. They came through last weekend in the first game against the Blue Jays, and they were going up against Reynaldo López in this one. The good news is they didn’t waste any time getting going on Wednesday. After falling down 3-0 in the top of the first, Devers smacked a one-out single in the bottom half before J.D. Martinez stepped in with two outs and crushed a changeup out to left field. With that swing of the bat, the Red Sox were back within one.
They would of course fall back down by a score of 5-2 in the top of the third, but they got back to work in the bottom half of that inning as well. Once again it started with Devers, who led off the bottom of the third with a double off the Monster in left field. After the next two batters got out, McCann tried to catch Devers sleeping with a back-pick at second base. Instead, his throw got a way and Devers snuck over to third base. Then, after Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a walk, López threw a wild pitch and failed to cover the plate, allowing Devers to come in and bring Boston back to within two. The Red Sox had another chance with runners on the corners later in the inning, but Marco Hernandez popped out to end the inning.
The score was still 5-3 when we headed to the top of the seventh with Sale now out of the game and Marcus Walden coming in out of the bullpen. The righty got off to a bit of a rough start, giving up a leadoff double to Leury García. The runner would then move over to third on a sacrifice bunt before coming in to score on an RBI single from Abreu, putting the White Sox back up three. Walden would get out of it from there, but the damage had already been done.
A familiar story then unfolded in the bottom half of the seventh with the Red Sox looking to once again get some runs back. As was the case in the previous two scoring innings, it was Devers getting things started, this time with a well-struck base hit out to right field. Martinez would eventually get to the plate with two outs and he ripped a line drive deep in the gap in right-center field. Cordell almost made a spectacular diving catch, but he came up short and the ball bounced to the wall, allowing Devers to come around to score. That cut the deficit back down to two. Bradley would then bloop one into left field to put runners on the corners with two outs, leaving it up to Chavis to keep the inning going. He couldn’t do it, flying out to right field to end the inning.
Steven Wright then came on for his 2019 debut in the eighth, allowing a couple baserunners but getting out of the inning unscathed. Then, in the bottom half of the inning, Eduardo Núñez got things going with a one-out base hit. Brock Holt then came in as a pinch hitter and hit a pop up out to right field. It ended up out in no-man’s land, however, and bounced up over the wall for a ground-rule double. That put two runners in scoring position for Betts, one of which was Brian Johnson, who came in to run for Holt. Betts hit a ground ball out to Jose Rondón at third base, who decided to try and make the play at the plate despite playing back. Núñez was able to slide in safely, bringing the Red Sox to within one. After Devers grounded out back to the pitcher, Bogaerts had a chance with two in scoring position and two outs. The shortstop came through, singling right up the middle to score both runs and put the Red Sox up by a run.
So, with the Red Sox suddenly ahead it was up to Matt Barnes to close this one out. The inning did not get off to the start Boston was looking for when García led off with a base hit, but Christian Vázquez cut him down trying to steal second in the next at bat. That was followed by another base hit, though, bringing Abreu up to the plate. The White Sox slugger worked a tremendous at bat, and on the tenth pitch he got a fastball that caught too much of the zone. He didn’t miss it, blasting it way out into the Monster Seats for a two-run shot. Just like that, Chicago was back in front.
Josh Taylor came on to finish the inning, and now the Red Sox had to pull off another comeback. Bradley was up to lead off that inning for Boston and he reached on a walk. That was all they would get, though, as Bradley was left at first to finish off a brutal, crushing loss.
The Red Sox now have two days off as they travel across the Atlantic to London ahead of their historic two-game set against the Yankees. That will be on Saturday with Rick Porcello taking on Masahiro Tanaka. First pitch for that one is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET.