CHICAGO -- Takeaways from the Cell, which was as cold and miserable Wednesday night as the name implies, and where the sporting world has truly spun off its axis when John W. Henry’s soccer team has scored more goals in its last half-dozen games than his baseball team has scored runs.
For those keeping score at home, it’s the Liverpool Reds 20, the Boston Red Sox 18, as good an explanation as any why Henry’s lads in short pants are in first place in the English Premier League, while Henry’s World Series ring-bearers are languishing at the bottom of the AL East.
But due to the generosity of the Chicago White Sox pitching staff, which walked 15 batters and hit two others, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who ran out of pitchers and ended the game with a utility infielder on the mound, the Red Sox managed to salvage face on a night they scratched out just two infield hits and Jackie Bradley Jr.’s double in the last 13 innings.
Bradley’s double came off 23-year-old Dominican utilityman Leury Garcia, who was pitching for the first time professionally. Garcia got two quick outs, Grady Sizemore grounding to first and A.J. Pierzynski lined out to right, then walked two in a row before Bradley doubled just inside the right-field foul line, scoring both runners.
The result: The Red Sox beat the White Sox, 6-4, in 14 innings before an announced crowd of 13,302, with only scores of fans still left at the finish of the 5-hour, 17-minute game. The Red Sox scored a run without a hit in the eighth, scored the tying run in the ninth with the help of two walks, Jonny Gomes’s infield hit, and Grady Sizemore’s sacrifice fly, and scored the go-ahead run in the 11th on a walk, a hit batsman and Gomes’s sacrifice fly.
The White Sox, down to their last strike, tied the score in the bottom of the 11th against Edward Mujica when Tyler Flowers singled home Jordan Danks, who had walked and stolen second. That was the only run allowed by six Sox relievers over the last seven innings, the White Sox managing just three singles.
Chris Capuano, who was on the mound Tuesday night when the White Sox won on a walk-off error by Xander Bogaerts with two out in the ninth, pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing only a single by Flowers with one out in the 14th. He retired Adam Eaton on a fly ball for the second out, which is when John Farrell went to his bullpen for Burke Badenhop, Boston’s seventh pitcher of the night.
Badenhop retired Marcus Semien to end it, giving Capuano his first win in a Sox uniform and Badenhop his first save.
Take this game, please: The White Sox tried to give the game away in the eighth, when four White Sox relievers walked four Red Sox batters, and Boston scored without the benefit of a hit, A.J. Pierzynski bringing home David Ortiz with the team’s second run on a sacrifice fly. But Bradley, who was 1-for-20 on this trip, popped out to shortstop Alexei Ramirez in short left to end the threat.
The White Sox were at it again in the ninth when the sixth White Sox pitcher, Maikel Cleto, walked Dustin Pedroia to open the ninth and Pedroia stole second on the first pitch to Bogaerts, sliding headfirst into second base despite an inflamed left wrist. Cleto then walked Bogaerts, the 10th Chicago walk of the game, prompting White Sox manager Robin Ventura to summon his seventh pitcher of the night, Matt Lindstrom.
Lindstrom retired Ortiz on a first-pitch fly ball to left, but Gomes then hit a slow roller down the third-base line for an infield hit, loading the bases. That brought up Sizemore, hitless in his previous nine appearances. Sizemore lifted a fly ball deep enough to left to score Pedroia with the tying run.
The generosity overflowed in the 11th, when Daniel Webb, the eight Chicago pitcher and last live body in the White Sox pen, walked Pedroia and hit Bogaerts. A strong takeout slide by Bogaerts spared Ortiz from hitting into a double play, and Gomes lined a 2-and-0 pitch to left, deep enough to score Pedroia.
Welcome return: Pedroia, who was out of the starting lineup the last two games with inflammation in his left wrist, doubled and walked twice. He scored three runs and stole a base, with a headfirst slide into second base, which probably is not the way trainers advise players to do it when their wrist is throbbing.
My kingdom for a hit: The first three Red Sox batters reached safely on hits. Pedroia doubled and scored on Bogaerts’ single, and Ortiz followed with a base hit. The Sox would not get another hit until Gomes’s infield hit in the ninth, going 1-for-34 over 10 innings. Pedroia’s infield hit to short in the 13th was Boston’s fifth hit of the night, Bradley’s double the first extra-base hit since Pedroia’s leadoff double. The team is batting a collective .172 (35-for-204) on this trip.
RISP is not a four-letter word: Boston’s season-long woes with hits with runners in scoring position continued. They were 2-for-15 with two sacrifice flies Wednesday and are 6-for-44 with RISP on this trip, a .136 average.
Quality: Clay Buchholz held the White Sox to three runs, two earned, on six hits through six innings, striking out six while walking two. It’s the 11th quality start by Sox starters this season -- they came into the game tied for the major league lead. But Buchholz left the game trailing, 3-1, after Ramirez hit a two-run, two-out home run in the sixth. Ramirez has a 15-game hitting streak.
Not so much: With Mike Napoli out with a dislocated ring finger on his glove hand, Daniel Nava played first base and had a rough first inning. He was charged with an error when he was unable to glove Buchholz’s low pickoff throw, and he was unable to keep third baseman Ryan Roberts’s throw from skipping past him for a two-base error, a run scoring on the play.