The Red Six threatened late, but they could not come through with another come-from-behind win over the Brewers on Saturday night. Boston instead fell to Milwaukee by a final score of 5-4 at American Family Field to drop back to .500 on the season at 11-11.
Garrett Whitlock, making his third start of the year for the Sox, took a step backwards after tossing seven innings of one-run ball against the Angels last Sunday. This time around against the Brewers, the right-hander allowed five earned runs on eight hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with just one strikeout over four-plus innings of work.
Milwaukee first got to Whitlock in the bottom of the second. William Contreras led off with a double and quickly came into score the first run of the game on a blooper of a ground-rule double off the bat of Brian Anderson. An inning later, with two outs Christian Yelich already on base, Whitlock served up a 412-foot two-run blast to noted Red Sox killer Rowdy Tellez.
Tellez’ second homer of the series and 14th in 37 career games against the Red Sox gave the Brewers an early 3-0 lead. It took until the top of the fifth inning for the Boston bats to respond.
After getting shut out by old friend Wade Miley for four innings, Christian Arroyo reached on a one-out single. Two batters later, Yu Chang continued his power surge by taking the lefty 399 feet deep to left field to cut the deficit to one at 3-2. Chang’s third home run (and fourth hit) of the season left his bat at a blistering 107.3 mph.
It did not take the Brewers long to retaliate, however. In the bottom of the fifth, Blake Perkins led off with a single and promptly scored all the way from first on a line-drive RBI double from Yelich that sailed over the head of center fielder Enrique Hernandez. Whitlock then plunked Jesse Winker and gave up a single to Willy Adames to fill the bases with no outs.
Having already thrown 81 pitches (54 strikes), Whitlock was given the hook by Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of Richard Bleier. Bleier, in turn, officially closed the book on the 26-year-old’s night by allowing one of the runners he inherited to score when he got Tellez to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. But the left-hander avoided any further damage and kept the Brewers at five runs by getting Contreras to ground out to end the fifth.
Another old friend, Joel Payamps, took over for Miley in the sixth. Justin Turner led off with a single and remained at first after the pinch-hitting Jarren Duran struck out. Rafael Devers then unloaded on a 3-2, 93.2 mph fastball at the top of the zone and deposited it 416 feet into the right field seats for his eighth big fly of the year already.
Devers’ 110 mph laser brought Boston back to within one run of Milwaukee at 5-4. After John Schreiber and Kutter Crawford put up zeroes in the sixth and seventh innings, the Sox threatened again in the eighth when Turner laced a one-out double. But Turner was stranded at second as newly-inserted Brewers reliever Hoby Milner (a lefty) fanned both Duran and Devers to escape the jam.
Crawford retired the side in the bottom of the eighth, taking the Red Sox down to their final three outs in the ninth. Masataka Yoshida made it somewhat interesting by reaching on a one-out single off Devin Williams, but the Brewers closer rebounded and sat down both Raimel Tapia and Reese McGuire to end it.
All told, the Red Sox went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four runners on base as a team. Whitlock was charged with the loss and now carries a 6.19 ERA through his first three starts. Turner, Devers, and Yoshida accounted for six of Boston’s eight hits.
More history for Devers
With his sixth-inning homer, Rafael Devers became just the third Red Sox player to have eight-plus home runs and 20-plus RBIs in the team’s first 22 games since the turn of the century. Carl Everett accomplished the feat in 2000 and Hanley Ramirez was previously the last to do it in 2015.
McGuire’s X-rays come back negative
Reese McGuire, who pinch-hit for starting catcher Connor Wong in the seventh inning, took a foul ball off his throwing hand in the bottom of the eighth. He was able to stay in the game, but was clearly in discomfort as he had issues throwing the ball back to Kutter Crawford.
Following the loss, McGuire had X-rays taken on his right hand. Fortunately for him, those X-rays came back negative.
Next up: Bello vs. Burnes in rubber match
The Red Sox still have a chance to take this three-game series from the Brewers on Sunday afternoon. Brayan Bello will get the start for Boston in the rubber match opposite fellow righty Corbin Burnes for Milwaukee.
First pitch from American Family Field is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: John Fisher/Getty Images)