Red Sox - 000 010 000 - 1 4 0 White Sox - 101 000 02x - 4 5 0Steven Wright - who came into this game second in the AL in ERA - delivered yet another quality start (6-3-2-4-6, 104), but White Sox lefty Jose Quintana was even better: 8-4-1-0-5, 101.
Chicago got on the board in the first inning when Jose Abreu's fly ball to the fence in right-center caromed wildly past Jackie Bradley for a run-scoring triple. The White Sox upped the score to 2-0 without a hit in the third. Three walks by Wright (one of them intentional) loaded the bases and a groundout from Todd Frazier scored Austin Jackson.
Quintana retired the first 10 Red Sox batters before Dustin Pedroia singled in the fourth. Pedroia was quickly erased on an inning-ending double play by Xander Bogaerts.
Hanley Ramirez lined a home run to right field in the fifth. Boston got a one-out single from Bradley in the sixth and a leadoff single from Bogaerts in the seventh, but could not move either man off first base. In Bogaerts's case, he watched as David Ortiz struck out, Ramirez flied to center, and Travis Shaw struck out.
Chicago added to its lead in the eighth against Junichi Tazawa. Adam Eaton bunted for a hit and Jimmy Rollins walked. Eaton advanced to third on ball four, which was also a wild pitch. Both men scored on Abreu's double to left. The inning dragged on. Frazier walked and Melky Cabrera grounded to third (he was originally called safe, but the call was overturned). Matt Barnes came in and walked Brett Lawrie to load the bases. Barnes got out of the jam, but he needed eight pitches to strike out pinch-hitter Carlos Sanchez and nine pitches to retire Dioner Navarro on a fly to center. Tazawa (23) and Barnes (22) threw a combined 45 pitches in the inning.
Boston went quietly, in order, in the ninth against David Robertson.
Baltimore beat the Yankees 4-1, so the Red Sox dropped back into second place, 0.5 GB. The Yankees are 8-16.
Steven Wright / Jose Quintana
After sweeping three games from the last-place Yankees, the Red Sox (15-10, a win pace of 97.2) are in Chicago for three games against the AL Central-leading White Sox (18-8, best record in the AL). Boston then will head to the Bronx for another weekend series with the MFY.
One key to Chicago's success is their 2.65 team ERA. (By contrast, Boston's ERA is 4.26.) The Red Sox will miss Chris Sale (1.66 ERA) and Mat Latos (1.84) in this series, but tonight's starter, Jose Quintana, has been even more stingy (1.47). The White Sox are scoring an average of only 3.9 runs/game, 8th in the AL and 19th among MLB's 30 teams.
Rob Bradford, WEEI:
Take one look at Hanley Ramirez dancing in front of his locker Sunday night after the Red Sox' three-game sweep of the Yankees, or various players mouthing musical lyrics and bebopping around while preparing their bags for Chicago, and it isn't hard to understand the vibe on this team right now.
The trepidation that lingered throughout spring training, and into the first few weeks of the regular season, has started to dissolve. This is a group that clearly feels good about things.
Said third baseman Travis Shaw: "I get it, it's still early. But first place is first place. If it were May 1st and we were in last, everybody would be freaking out. No matter the day, it's good to look up in the standings and seeing your name on top." ...
"Something pretty special is happening with this team right now," Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo said. "We believe we can win any game at any time."