Better late than never: Red Sox rally in Chicago
Bradley laces go-ahead two-run double in 14th to end three-game skid
CHICAGO -- They aren't smashing the baseball these days, not even close to it. But the Red Sox found a new way to win on a game that started on Wednesday night and ended early Thursday morning.
Dustin Pedroia referred to it as smashmouth basball.
Backed by a 15-walk attack that included three sacrifice flies, the Red Sox were finally able to pull out a 6-4, 14-inning victory over the White Sox.
"Just trying to find a way to score," said Pedroia. "I mean, everyone's by the heater, trying to stay warm and getting some pine tar on your bat. Smashmouth baseball, you know?"
Jackie Bradley Jr.'s two-run double into the right-field corner that set up the win was the first extra-base hit for the Red Sox since the first inning. In fact, it was the only hit for Boston that left the infield over the final 13 innings.
"We're still grinding away," said manager John Farrell. "We didn't come out of our approach. We took base on balls when they were issued, which was a lot. Thankfully we walk away with a win."
By doing so, the Red Sox avoided their first four-game losing streak since 2012. It was a win that took five hours and 17 minutes.
When Boston finally produced the rally to go ahead for good, Chicago had run out of pitching.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura went to utility infielder Leury Garcia to start the top of the 14th.
It was Garcia's first pitching appearance in the Majors, and he actually started pretty well, retiring Grady Sizemore on a groundout and A.J. Pierzynski with a flyout to right.
Daniel Nava worked the righty for a walk, and so did Jonathan Herrera. With the count full, Bradley slapped the 82-mph offering from Garcia down the right-field line.
There were two words Bradley kept telling himself before his go-ahead hit.
"Stay back," Bradley said. "He was actually kind of funky, though. He was throwing a kind of rise ball. It was one of those things where I just wanted to make him throw strikes. He got behind 2-0, worked his way back. I just wanted to stay back, see it late and put a good swing on it."
The Red Sox were able to win the game because their pitching gave them a chance to.
Lefty Chris Capuano got eight huge outs to earn the win, allowing one hit while striking out three.
Burke Badenhop came on for the final out to earn his fourth career save. Craig Breslow (four outs), Junichi Tazawa (two-thirds of an inning) and Andrew Miller also didn't allow a run.
"I'll tell you what, our pitchers did a heck of a job tonight," said Farrell. "The bullpen once again came in with not a lot of margin for error."
Jonny Gomes gave the Red Sox a temporary lead in the top of the 11th, hitting a sacrifice fly to deep left that scored Pedroia, who went 2-for-6 and reached base four times.
That sac fly was made possible by Xander Bogaerts, who executed a strong takeout slide into second to eliminate the possibility of a double play on a grounder to first by David Ortiz.
Pedroia started the rally with a walk and Bogaerts was hit by a pitch.
But Edward Mujica, filling in as the closer for one more night while Koji Uehara recovers from right shoulder soreness, couldn't get the job done.
Jordan Danks led off the bottom of the 11th with a walk and stole second, sliding just in front of the tag by Bogaerts.
After a strikeout by Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez moved Danks to third on a fielder's-choice groundout.
Mujica was one strike away from the save, but Tyler Flowers belted his 2-2 pitch off the glove of Bogaerts and into center for an RBI single to tie the game.
"He gets ahead in the count to Danks to lead things off, then went to the split a few times," said Farrell. "Ends up putting him on base. It's a bang bang play on the stolen base, and once he moved to third, there was probably more of a willingness to try to force contact with his fastball, which he did. Unfortunately, it was just past the outstretched arm of Xander. Bottom line, is it's a win."
The Red Sox were down by a run entering the top of the ninth.
Down, 3-2, Pedroia and Bogaerts started the inning with walks against Maikel Cleto.
Ventura then went to closer Matt Lindstrom, who kept Ortiz in the ballpark with a flyout to left. Gomes then gave the Red Sox their first hit since the first inning with an infield bleeder down the third-base line.
Sizemore tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left.
"You have some things go against you, but I mean, that's just a part of the game," said Pedroia. "You've got to keep trying to fight and find a way to score and just keep playing. Guys grinded. It's crazy seeing a position player out there pitching. Long game."
Three of Boston's walks came in the eighth inning, when Pierzynski sliced Chicago's lead to 3-2 with -- what else? -- a sacrifice fly. It was the first time the Red Sox had 15 walks in a game since May 7, 1992, also a road game against the White Sox.
Clay Buchholz turned in a strong start, limiting the White Sox to six hits and two runs over six innings. He walked to and struck out six to give the Red Sox their 11th quality start in 15 games.
"It was a little bit of a grind the first couple of innings, but I felt pretty good," said Buchholz.
There was hope of an offensive revival in the early going as the Red Sox scored in the first inning for the first time all season.
In fact, the night started auspiciously for the visitors as Pedroia not only returned from his left wrist injury, but opened the game with a double into the corner in left. Bogaerts followed with an RBI single up the middle and Boston had a 1-0 lead.
Buchholz gave up an unearned run in the first, thanks to a throwing error by third baseman Ryan Roberts.
The game stayed in a 1-1 tie until the bottom of the sixth, when the red-hot Ramirez drilled a two-run homer over the wall in left.
On this night, the Red Sox would not get deflated.
"We're battling all the way through," said Farrell. "When they're putting tomorrow's probables up on the board, we know we're deep in the night, but it was a much-needed win on our part."