Coming off a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, the Red Sox kicked off a seven-game, two-city road trip on Thursday night by getting walked off on by the Chicago White Sox in a gut wrenching 6-4 loss on the South Side.
On a night where the conditions looked downright miserable in the Windy City, it was David Price who made his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox in this series opener.
Working the first six innings Thursday, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.
Two of those runs charged to Price came immediately in the bottom half of the first inning, when White Sox backstop James McCann, who caught the lefty 15 times when the two were with Detroit, launched a two out, two-run home run just out of the reach of Jackie Bradley Jr. in center to give his team an early 2-1 lead.
Other than that though, Thursday’s outing went relatively smoothly for Price up until his final inning of work in the sixth.
It could have been worse had it not been for an errant send of Jose Abreu attempting to score all the way from first on a James McCann double that was snuffed out by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts for the second out of the frame, but back-to-back base hits from Yoan Moncada and Jose Rondon did indeed allow McCann to score Chicago’s third run of the contest to knot things up at three runs a piece.
After all that commotion, Price ended his outing by getting Yonder Alonso to ground out to Mitch Moreland to put an end to the sixth, notching his second straight quality start in doing so.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his changeup nearly 29% of the time he was on the mound Thursday while inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 24 times.
Unable to pick up his second winning decision of the season, Price’s next start should come against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore next week.
In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was fairly effective up until things got away from them in the ninth.
But, before that disaster, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes tossed a scoreless frame each while both of them faced the minimum three hitters and combined for four total strikeouts.
That paved the way for Ryan Brasier to pick up the save with a one-run lead to protect in the ninth, but just about everything that could have gone wrong for the Red Sox did.
The inning started with a five pitch strikeout of Yoan Moncada for the first out. On the very next play, a ground ball off the bat of Jose Rondon should have been good for the second out, but instead the base runner reached first safely thanks to a botched effort from Rafael Devers fielding the ball down the third base line.
Still, even with the tying run reaching first when it was completely avoidable, you can’t put this one all on Devers. The nine errors in 32 games is far from ideal, but Brasier did not exactly come through in an important situation either.
Anyway, a single from Yonder Alonso allowed Rondon to advance to third, meaning the tying run was just 90 feet away from scoring. But, that didn’t really matter though, because Nicky Delmonico ended this game two pitches later by mashing a three-run walkoff dinger over the center field wall to give the White Sox the win.
First losing decision and second blown save of the year for Brasier.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, who was making his first start since April 17th after missing time on the injured list due to a strained left hamstring.
The top of the Boston lineup really brought it in this one, and that was evident right away in the first inning when Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts all reached base with one out to load the bases for arguably the team’s hottest hitter in Rafael Devers.
On the sixth pitch he saw from Giolito in his first at-bat of the night, Devers lined a sacrifice fly with an exit velocity of 98 MPH to left field, plating Betts from third and giving his club an early lead. That was the only run they could come across in their half of the first, and that was essentially the theme of the night: failing to capitalize on multiple-run scoring opportunities.
Fast forward to the third, and Andrew Benintendi led things off against Giolito by tattooing his third big fly of the season to the left field seats. A 376 foot shot momentarily tied the game at two momentarily.
After Betts and Martinez followed that up with their second hits of the contest to put runners on first and third, Devers collected his second RBI by grounding out to second, which allowed Betts to score and make it a 3-2 game in favor of the away side.
From that point on though, the Boston bats were unable to get to the White Sox starter again and only managed one more run, which came on a JD Martinez force out to drive in Benintendi from third in the seventh.
That did put the Red Sox ahead 4-3, and they had the chance to add on what would have been some important insurance in the ninth, but ultimately came up short in a 6-4 defeat.
Some notes from this loss:
The Red Sox 1, 2, and 3 hitters Thursday night: 8-13 2BB, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 1 K. The Red Sox 4-9 hitters tonight: 0-20 2 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K
From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:
Also from Smith:
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to start a new winning streak in the second of this four-game set later Friday night.
Ex-White Sox star Chris Sale will get the start for Boston, still looking for his first winning decision of the season.
On the other side, right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who was included in the same trade with Giolito that sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington, will get the start for Chicago.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN.