May 29, 2017

G50: White Sox 5, Red Sox 4

Red Sox   - 100 210 000 - 4  4  0
White Sox - 003 000 20x - 5  5  0
The Red Sox had not recorded a blown save this month until Monday afternoon, three days before the calendar flipped to June. Thanks, Matt Barnes. David Price (5-2-3-2-4, 88) had thrown five good innings in his season debut, leaving with a one-run lead. Barnes gave up a triple and a double to his first two batters in the seventh. Both of them scored and the Red Sox began their longest road trip of the year (10 games in 11 days) with a loss. They are now 10-13 away from Fenway.

It's definitely a step in the right direction. I felt good. Just command the baseball a little bit better with my fastball and I think things will take off for me. ... After the fifth I still felt strong. I felt strong in the fifth. After that inning I still felt really good. I didn't feel like my stuff changed all that much throughout the game. I'm back.
After Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first - Mookie Betts doubled and scored on Xander Bogaerts's sacrifice fly (which was actually a foul pop-up to first) - Price got himself into trouble by walking Chicago's #9 hitter, Adam Engel (who made his MLB debut two days ago), and the leadoff hitter, Tim Anderson (who had drawn only four walks all year (.278 OBP)). (Actually, Price probably struck Anderson out on a 2-2 pitch, but home plate umpire Stu Scheunwater called it a ball.) Melky Cabrera then clocked a long home run to left, giving the White Sox a 3-1 lead.

Boston tied the game in the fourth. David Holmberg (4-2-3-3-2, 72), whose longest outing this year had been two innings, could have been tiring when he walked Hanley Ramirez to begin the inning and walked Sam Travis with one out. Christian Vazquez golfed a double off the left field wall for one run and Jackie Bradley's groundout tied the game at 3-3. Betts greeted reliever Gregory Enfante with a line drive home run to left in the fifth.

Price hit the White Sox's #8 and #9 hitters to open the fifth; both of them were struck on the back foot. The Red Sox then forced one runner at second and Cabrera grounded into a double play. Bogaerts dove to his right and quickly (and somewhat off-balance) threw the ball to second and Josh Rutledge fired it on to first, barely beating Cabrera, who stupidly (but good for us!) slid headfirst into the bag.

(Rutledge had taken over at second because Dustin Pedroia left in the second inning. He suffered a sprained left wrist when he grounded out to first in the first inning. Holmberg was late covering the bag on the play, so Jose Abreu ended up sliding into the base to make the putout. Pedroia tumbled over him and when he put his hands out to break his fall, his left wrist was bent and injured. He played one inning in the field before leaving the game. Pedroia flew back to Boston for an MRI.)

Joe Kelly pitched the sixth. He threw 29 pitches to four batters (9-6-7-7), but gave up only a two-out walk. Barnes was not so lucky. He faced the bottom third of the Chicago lineup in the seventh. Yolmer Sanchez lined a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner for a triple. Kevan Smith followed with a drive to the same place; he got a double, which tied the game at 4-4. Barnes struck out Engel and got Anderson to ground out to third, but Cabrera grounded a single up the middle. Rutledge gloved the ball behind second base, on the outfield grass, and threw home. His throw appeared to be in time, but it was low and Vazquez could not handle it. Smith scored the go-ahead run.

The Red Sox did next to nothing against the White Sox bullpen. They did not get a hit over the final four innings. (After Betts homered in the fifth, Rutledge singled. That was Boston's last hit, as Chicago's four relievers retired 15 of the final 16 batters.) Juan Minaya walked one and struck out three in the seventh. Tommy Kahnle struck out two of the three men he faced in the eighth. David Robertson had no problems in the ninth, also striking out two batters, including pinch-hitter Sandy Leon to end the game.

The Orioles, who had lost eight of their last 10 games, beat the Yankees 3-2. So Boston stays 3 GB while Baltimore is 3.5 GB.
David Price / David Holmberg
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, DH
Young, LF
Travis, 1B
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
Marrero, 3B
David Price makes his first start of the season after dealing with left elbow strain. In two rehab starts for Pawtucket, Price allowed nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits over 5.2 innings. But hopefully, he was using those starts merely as spring training-type games to work on various things. Price will be on a 90-pitch limit.

Holmberg, a lefty, has appeared in eight games for the White Sox, with a 0.87 ERA in 10.1 innings of relief. This is his first start of the year - and first since August 26, 2015, when he was with Cincinnati. And he didn't do so hot back then, posting a 15.19 ERA in his final three starts of that season.

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