Red Sox punch holes in Sale, win finale
BOSTON -- Tired of getting belted around by the White Sox in their own ballpark, the Red Sox responded by delivering a sixth-inning knockout of ace Chris Sale en route to an 8-2 victory on Thursday night.
The White Sox had won the first three games of the series by an aggregate of 28-14, and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first in the finale.
This time, the Red Sox bounced back with a strong performance by winning pitcher Steven Wright and a balanced offensive attack.
"Huge," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We were able to stay away from a number of guys and not even call down to get people up. Even when we scored runs, [Wright] went out and put zeros up, shutdown innings. For one time through this turn of starters, we get a guy to go deep in a ballgame, a huge lift for the entire staff."
After scoring two runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead, the Boston bats jumped on Sale for a four-spot in the sixth in which the first five batters reached base.
"They gave us a little of our own medicine tonight," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We've had a good run here for three days, and they came out and did to us what we did to them."
Sale allowed seven earned runs and a career-high of 12 hits over five-plus innings. David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts led Boston's attack with three hits each. Rusney Castillo and Blake Swihart both had two hits.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Wright Stuff: Knuckleballer Wright turned in arguably the best start of his career, logging seven innings for the first time and allowing six hits and two runs while notching eight strikeouts, another personal best. After allowing a two-run homer to Jose Abreu in the first, Wright was virtually untouchable.
"It was just one of those days," said Wright. "My last outing, it was definitely moving a lot more radically. Today, it wasn't moving quite as much. That's just the way it goes sometimes with the knuckleballs."
Seems like we've been here before: Another day, another first inning with runs for the White Sox. They settled for two on Thursday, coming with two outs, when Abreu connected on his 17th homer to right-center off Wright. The White Sox have an 18-3 edge over their last six first innings and have hit .526 in those frames.
Rusney displays power: The Red Sox got the power swing they had been waiting for from Castillo, who unloaded for a towering homer, estimated by Statcast™ to travel 429 feet, to left-center against Matt Albers in the seventh. Castillo started Boston's four-run rally in the sixth with a tapper in front of the plate that Sale couldn't make a play on. More >
White Sox pain: The White Sox fan base, front office and team itself collectively held their breath when Sale took a line drive directly to the left leg from Bogaerts in the first inning. Sale stayed in the game after throwing a few warmup tosses for head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and Ventura.
"Yeah, it might be hard to believe, but it got me in the muscle area," said a smiling Sale, adding that it didn't affect his up-and-down performance.
"I haven't seen that many hits against him," Ventura said. "So that was command and stuff like that was more of an issue." More >
"We know the reason why we lost this game. It was me. This was my game to wear. I wish I could have been better for them. Deflate my guys right in the middle of the game, right in the heart of the game, it's tough. But like I said, we are going to keep working and playing hard and get back after it." -- Sale, on getting knocked out by a four-run sixth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
After struggling against lefties for the first three months of the season, Ortiz has improved dramatically in recent weeks, hitting .379 with three homers since July 1.
White Sox: Rookie Carlos Rodon makes his 14th career start and his 17th appearance as the White Sox return home Friday for the series opener against the Yankees with a 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field. Rodon defeated the Indians in his last start by throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
Red Sox: Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez kicks off a three-game series against the Rays on Friday night at Fenway Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Rodriguez was masterful in his last start, holding the Tigers to three hits and a run while walking one and striking out six over six innings.
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