Red Sox can’t avoid sweep, fall to White Sox, 3-2, for fifth straight loss

The Red Sox wrapped up a miserable homestand by getting swept by the White Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon. Boston fell to Chicago by a final score of 3-2 to extend their losing streak to five consecutive games and drop to 10-19 on the season.

Tanner Houck, starting in place of the injured Michael Wacha, allowed three earned runs on four hits, no walks, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts over just 2 2/3 innings of work.

After facing the minimum through his first two innings, Houck ran into some trouble in the top half of the third when he yielded a leadoff single to Reese McGuire. The right-hander then plunked Josh Harrison with a 94 mph sinker to put two runners on base, both of whom advanced an additional 90 feet on a Danny Mendick sacrifice bunt. Leury Garcia plated McGuire on a softly-hit single that didn’t even reach the infield dirt. Jose Abreu followed by drilling a two-run double down the left field line that put the White Sox up, 3-0.

Abreu would be the final batter Houck would face. The 25-year-old hurler needed 39 pitches — 25 of which were strikes — to record eight outs. Of those 39 pitches, he only managed to induce four swings-and-misses while raising his ERA on the season to 5.70.

In relief of Houck, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and he stranded the lone runner he inherited in the third. A 15-minute delay that saw first base umpire Marty Foster take over behind the plate for Ron Kulpa did not prevent Sawamura from pitching a scoreless frame in the fourth as well.

Tyler Danish, just called from Triple-A Worcester in place of Wacha, worked his way around a bases-loaded jam in the fifth before giving up a leadoff single to Yasmani Grandal in the sixth. Austin Davis then came on and continued to keep the White Sox off the scoreboard despite hitting a batter.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup had been stifled by White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel through the first 5 1/2 innings of Sunday’s contest. Keuchel, who owned an 8.40 ERA coming into play Sunday, had managed to work his way around a significant amount of traffic on the basepaths up until the bottom of the sixth.

There, the Boston bats finally made the left-hander pay after Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts reached base via a pair of back-to-back one out singles. With runners on the corners and one out in the inning, J.D. Martinez drove in Devers on a productive groundout and Christian Vazquez did the same with Bogaerts on an RBI single to left field. The Red Sox now only trailed by one run at 3-2.

Boston relievers continued to impress from there, as Hansel Robles retired the side in the seventh, Jake Diekman punched out the side in the eighth, and Matt Strahm faced the minimum in the top of the ninth.

Down to their final three outs in the bottom of the ninth and now matched up against White Sox reliever Jose Ruiz, Martinez led off by drilling a double off the Green Monster before being pinch-ran for by Franchy Cordero, who represented the potential tying run.

Despite the encouraging start to the inning, Vazquez popped out to second base, Alex Verdugo struck out on a foul tip, and the pinch-hitting Kevin Plawecki flew out to center field to seal the 3-2 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team. Trevor Story, meanwhile, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is now batting .194 with a .545 OPS on the season.

By losing by one run on Sunday, Boston fell to 3-7 in one-run games this season.

Next up: On to Atlanta

The Red Sox will look to take advantage of their first of two off days this week before opening up a quick two-game series against the Braves in Atlanta on Tuesday night.

Georgia native and right-hander Garrett Whitlock is slated to start the opener for Boston, while Atlanta will roll with fellow righty Kyle Wright.

First pitch from Truist Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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