BOSTON -- Unable to convert opportunities on offense, the Red Sox dropped the rubber game of the series against the White Sox, 5-2, on Sunday at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox scored just six runs in the series loss -- eight in the last four games. Over those last four games, the Red Sox have hit 2-for-37 with runners in scoring position.
"You need to score runs to win games," Andrew Benintendi said. "And when you're 1-for-26 [with RISP in the series], you don't tend to do that. So nothing we can do about it now, just have to move on to tomorrow."
After the White Sox scored in the first, J.D. Martinez responded in the second with a leadoff double to right field and later scored on an RBI single by Rafael Devers. The Red Sox have allowed one or more first-inning runs in three of their last four games.
The White Sox took the lead with an unearned run in the third inning. The lead grew to 3-1 in the sixth inning on an RBI groundout by Trayce Thompson, when Rick Porcello collided with the umpire after stepping on first base.
Porcello (8-3) went six innings, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned) while walking three and striking out five. Porcello was frustrated with the three walks, especially because two of those went on to score, but the outing was still strong enough to put the Red Sox within reach of a comeback. The Red Sox bullpen kept the White Sox scoreless until the ninth inning, when Daniel Palka drilled a two-run double to left-center.
It was the second time in the series that a solid pitching performance was not backed up with runs on offense -- after Chris Sale pitched a gem on Friday but took a 1-0 loss..
"It is what it is, you're going to run into this sometimes," manager Alex Cora said. "There's a few things that we've got to get better ... like jumps in the bases and doing little things that can help us steal a few games like we did early in the season. But when you've got men in scoring position and you only get one hit the whole series, it's gonna happen."
In both the sixth and seventh innings, the Red Sox had the bases loaded with two outs. Blake Swihart flied out to end the sixth inning. In the seventh, Boston could only manage one run when Benintendi scored after Eduardo Nunez, who pinch-hit for Devers, reached on an error. Brock Holt ended the seventh with a fly out as the Red Sox stranded six runners in those two innings.
Despite coming up with seven hits, including three doubles, the Red Sox were unable to turn an opportunity into a score to overcome the deficit. They left 12 runners on base in Sunday's contest and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
But Cora is focused on accepting the series for what it is -- a scoring slump. One to learn from, but also move past. Benintendi agrees.
"It's going to happen over the course of the year, and I'm sure it will happen again," Benintendi said. "But all we can do now is focus on tomorrow."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
White Sox take advantage of Devers' error: With a runner on base and one out in the third, it looked like the Red Sox had a shot at a double play when Palka lined the ball to Devers. But the ball bounced off Devers' glove and into right field, allowing Jose Abreu to advance to third. Abreu scored later that inning on a bases-loaded walk, giving the White Sox a 2-1 lead.
Sunday's loss marks the first time this season that the Red Sox have fallen in the final game of a homestand. They broke a four-series home winning streak and are now 4-2 in rubber games.
HE SAID IT
"Our goal is to win the division. We know we're going to go through stretches like this, we know we're going to go through stretches like a week ago. It's just a matter of keep grinding, keep doing the things and try to get better. There's a few things that we can take away from this that were very positive this week. You know, Steven Wright, Sale, David Price, Rick. I mean, pitching wise, I think we're getting there again. I think the reset button for them as far as the rest, it worked out. It's just a matter of, we didn't score runs." -- Cora, on the positive and negative takeaways from this week
Wright (2-0, 1.57 ERA) will start for the Red Sox against the Orioles in Baltimore on Monday. Wright entered the rotation on Tuesday against the Tigers to replace Thomas Pomeranz, who is out with biceps tendinitis. The knuckleballer excelled in his new role, allowing two hits and no runs while striking out six through seven innings. He will face off against Dylan Bundy (4-7, 4.04 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.