'Relentless' Red Sox record season-high 24 hits in rout of White Sox

June 7th, 2024

CHICAGO -- Those inside Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday hardly had time to settle into their seats before the Red Sox put the game’s first tally on the scoreboard.

And in fact, 's leadoff home run off White Sox starter Jake Woodford’s second pitch was only the beginning for the Red Sox. Boston knocked off Chicago, 14-2, behind a persistent offensive effort.

“They were relentless today,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

Boston arrived in Chicago to face a White Sox team that had lost straight 13 games, dropping its record to an MLB-worst 15-47 record, entering Thursday. But for as much as Chicago has struggled, the Red Sox know better than to look past any opponent -- even with a big homestand against the Phillies and Yankees on deck.

“You gotta respect the fact that they're a big league club and they can pitch,” Cora said pregame Thursday. “You just gotta play baseball at this level. Stuff-wise, everybody's capable of going out there and shutting you down. We haven't been great. We’re a .500 team, so we cannot take anything for granted.”

Message received. Every player in Boston’s lineup tallied at least one hit, and four players had multiple. Duran went 4-for-5, Rob Refsnyder 3-for-6, Dominic Smith 3-for-5 and Ceddanne Rafaela 4-for-6.

The offense’s big night backed another strong start by , who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Houck threw seven innings and allowed two runs on three hits, with nine strikeouts and no walks.

“It’s always nice to get into rhythm on the offensive side,” Duran said. “We got into a good spot early, and we just kept it rolling. We didn't settle, which was really good on us, and I love that out of us.”

Boston scored 11 runs in the game’s first six innings, which included a big swing by Enmanuel Valdez. The second baseman connected on a three-run homer off Woodford in the fourth inning, which pushed Boston's lead to 6-0. The Red Sox scored four times in both the fourth and sixth innings.

When hit his first career home run in the seventh inning, a Statcast-projected 388-foot solo blast, it pushed the lead to 12-1.

Westbrook made his Major League debut on Sunday after more than 10 seasons in the Minor Leagues. Thursday was the latest first for the 28-year-old, who recorded his first career hit in Wednesday’s win over the Braves.

As he rounded the bases after Thursday’s homer, Westbrook cracked a smile.

“I was trying to just slow down, because I didn't want to be sprinting around the bases,” Westbrook said. “I don't know how fast I was going or not. But I wanted to take a moment to smile and appreciate it and just have that one for myself, because it's special, man. It really is.”

When Westbrook got back to the dugout, Duran placed the team’s celebratory home run medal around his neck. Westbrook was then greeted by high-fives from his teammates. Loud cheers and applause could be heard from outside the Red Sox’s clubhouse postgame as the team celebrated Westbrook’s achievement.

Cora light-heartedly pointed out it took Westbrook less than 10 plate appearances to get hit by a pitch, record his first hit, first home run and catcher’s interference.

“It was fun, man,” Cora said. “It's been such a good week for him, and for us, because stuff like that gives us energy, and everybody was excited regardless of the score.”

Westbrook’s homer only added on to the Red Sox’s big advantage, which was more than enough support for Houck. The 27-year-old continued his stellar start to the season, lowering his ERA to 1.91 in 13 starts.

Even with a big lead, Houck’s performance pitching deep was important for a Red Sox pitching staff that will rely on its relievers in a bullpen game in Sunday’s series finale. Houck has thrown seven innings in three of his last four starts.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” Houck said. “I think in years past, I always expected better out of myself. I never wanted to only go five innings. I never wanted to only go through the lineup twice. I always knew that I could do this.

"It was just about putting it all together and continue to show up each and every day … and just putting in that work and trying to get better and everything. But it's just a long time coming. I've always had this plan to work out this way. God is good.”