Red Sox fall short in close Game 1 battle

April 18th, 2021

One of the early trademarks for the 2021 Red Sox has been a never-give-up approach that allowed them to mount come-from-behind wins in seven of their first 10 victories this season.

“We’re never out of the game,” manager Alex Cora said after watching his team come back yet again on Saturday night.

They weren’t out of it by any means on Sunday afternoon, but Dallas Keuchel and the White Sox bullpen did what most teams have been unable to do this season, finishing off the Red Sox in a 3-2 Chicago win in the first half of a split doubleheader at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox continued to get solid work from their pitching staff, holding their opponent to three runs or fewer for the sixth straight game. But Keuchel kept Boston’s lineup off balance all afternoon, pitching the White Sox to a win in the second game of the four-game set.

Tanner Houck was recalled from the alternate training site to serve as Boston’s 27th man, getting the start in the first half of the doubleheader. The 24-year-old barely had time to settle in before Tim Anderson welcomed him back to the Majors with a first-pitch home run, belting Houck’s 96.8 mph fastball into the Red Sox's bullpen.

Keuchel made quick work of the Red Sox in the early innings, retiring the first seven batters and nine of the first 10. Chicago doubled its lead in the fourth on Yasmani Grandal’s RBI double, but the Red Sox answered against Keuchel in the fourth, getting on the board with Hunter Renfroe’s run-scoring infield single.

The White Sox stretched their lead in the fifth on Yoán Moncada’s RBI single against Josh Taylor, a run charged to Houck, who gave up a pair of singles in the inning before being lifted with one out. Houck’s final line saw him charged with three runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out two without issuing a walk.

That run proved to be the game-winner after Kiké Hernández wrapped an 0-1 sinker around the Pesky Pole in right field to lead off the sixth, cutting Chicago’s lead to 3-2 while chasing Keuchel from the game in the process. It was Hernández’s second home run of the season, his first at Fenway Park.

Aaron Bummer replaced Keuchel after the home run, getting through the rest of the sixth unscathed thanks to J.D. Martinez's double-play grounder that thwarted a potential Boston rally. Liam Hendriks closed out Chicago's win with a scoreless seventh, picking up his second save of the season.