Yankees faster than Red Sox

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
The New York Yankees used to be the champions of the long games. But no longer, the title now belongs to the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees are actually speeding up their games, making them, to borrow a phrase from a famous Yankee broadcaster, more manageable. The fine folks at FiveThirtyEight explain in more detail.

The New York Yankees haven’t dominated the majors since 2002, winning just one world championship over that period. But they’ve dominated MLB rankings for length of game. From 2002 to 2012, the Yankees’ average length of game was in the top four of the 30 major league teams each season, including five league-leading performances. Yet lately they’ve gotten faster: The average Yankees game has been shorter each year than the year before since 2009, culminating in last year’s 15th-place showing of three hours and five minutes — just half a minute longer than the league-average figure.

The slowest team in baseball is now — wait for it — the Boston Red Sox. New York’s archrivals have ranked in the top three in average game length each year since 2003. Last year, Boston’s fourth straight season as the slowest team in baseball, its average game took three hours and 15 minutes.

As much as we all like baseball, I don't think many will complain about the Yankees being a middle of the pack team in term of length of games.

A Sox rarity: Herrera's bases-loaded bunt

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
CHICAGO -- Your eyes did not deceive you Thursday night. That was a Red Sox manager, John Farrell, calling for a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the ninth inning, and Red Sox pinch hitter Jonathan Herrera executing it perfectly for an insurance run in Boston’s 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

You saw the Red Sox do something they have not done in 32 years, since Gary Allenson dropped a bases-loaded bunt single on Aug. 28, 1982 in the 10th inning of a walkoff win, according to research by Sox crack statman Jon Shestakofsky. The last time they sacrificed with the bases loaded was June 12, 1979 at Kansas City, when Butch Hobson reached on an error, and the day before Jerry Remy successfully sacrificed.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura had just instructed reliever Ronnie Belisario to issue an intentional walk to load the bases in the ninth, when Farrell sent the switch-hitting Herrera to bat for Ryan Roberts and inserted Grady Sizemore to run at third base for Mike Carp. Ventura countered by summoning left-hander Scott Downs to face Herrera, switching him to the right side.

Herrera is a better hitter left-handed, so that’s when Farrell said he made his decision to have Herrera bunt. It was a safety squeeze, meaning Sizemore waited to see that Herrera got his bunt down. Herrera pushed a beauty down the first-base line, so good that he beat it out for a base hit.

The Sox have not had a sacrifice bunt with the bases loaded in this century -- that much we know from certain, from a check of Baseball-reference.com. It remains to be determined whether they’ve had a bunt hit in those circumstances.

Herrera, the former Rockie who has 29 sacrifice bunts in his career, including four with the Red Sox, said he has bunted with the bases loaded before, although if he did so, it was not a sacrifice. None of his sacrifices have come with the bases loaded.

“It was the perfect time for me to try to get that RBI and help the team -- a big difference to be ahead by two runs,’’ Herrera said. “That was a really big opportunity for me to get the ball down.’’

Prim Siripipat recaps Thursday night's action from around the league, including a big game for Ian Kinsler and a rare triple play at Tropicana Field.

For Ross, some heart-pounding action

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
CHICAGO -- A night after winning in about as ugly a fashion imaginable, struggling to outlast the White Sox in 14 innings despite being on the receiving end of 15 walks and two hit batsmen, the Red Sox ended their two-city trip to New York and Chicago in sublime fashion.

Jon Lester took a perfect game into the sixth inning in a dominating eight-inning performance in which he struck out nine and did not walk a batter. Xander Bogaerts hit a tape-measure home run, his first of the season. Mike Carp delivered a pinch single, his first pinch hit in five attempts this season, in Boston’s decisive two-run, ninth-inning rally. David Ross broke a 1-all tie with an opposite-field, ground-ball double, and Jonathan Herrera perfectly executed a bases-loaded, safety squeeze for the team’s final run.

Besides outstanding pitching on both sides -- Chicago left-hander Chris Sale allowed only one hit, Bogaerts’ home run, and struck out 10 -- there was superb defense. White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton took a home run away from David Ortiz with a leaping catch in the first inning, a strong relay from Dustin Pedroia cut down the lumbering Adam Dunn at the plate, and Ross made a hustling catch of a pop fly by Paul Konerko at the dugout railing in the fifth.

“Pitching, defense, timely hitting, tough at-bats, timely walks, big home run, everyone had to scratch and claw,’’ Ross said. “A good team win. And Jonathan’s safety squeeze was humongous.’’

Eaton’s catch, Ross said, was “one of the best I’ve seen, live.’’ He was a tad more modest describing his catch of Konerko’s popup, which retired a White Sox slugger who has had considerable success against Lester while the lefty’s perfect game was still intact.

“I would have given it a 7,’’ he said when asked how the gymnastic judges would have scored it. “For me, at my age [37], I give it a 10. In that situation, every out is so big, both pitchers with no-hitters, my heart was thumping.’’

That heart was pounding again when Ross, who sustained two concussions last season that sidelined him for months, saw the jumbo-sized Dunn bearing down on him from third base while trying to score on Fernando De Aza's double in the seventh.

“I’ve played with Dunn, I know he doesn’t slide,’’ Ross said. “I tagged him. I said, ‘Thanks for [not] running me over.’ He said, ‘I can’t do that anymore,’ so we were laughing about that.

“But it was scary, to be on your blind side and have that big tank coming down the line. Great throw by Pedey.’’

Bogaerts: Taking off?

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
CHICAGO -- After making a throwing error that cost the Red Sox a game Tuesday night, rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts vowed to turn the experience into a positive.

“You can use it two ways,’’ he said that night. “I could be down and keep going down from there, or I could use it as a turning point, something to move on, turn my season around from that play.’’

The next night, Bogaerts reached base five times -- on a single, two walks and two hit batsmen -- and stole a base. And Thursday night, he hit his first home run of 2014, a 444-foot blast (according to ESPN Stats and Information) deep into the left-field seats that broke up Chris Sale’s no-hit bid.

“Man, how about that?’’ said Red Sox catcher David Ross, whose ninth-inning double broke a 1-all tie and led to Boston’s 3-1 win in the rubber game of this three-game set against the Chicago White Sox. “That was impressive. It was loud, I promise you that.’’

Turning point?

“Why not?’’ asked Bogaerts, who earlier in the day had been compelled to answer questions about an embarrassing posting on his Twitter account, which he subsequently deleted after what he termed was an inadvertent tweet of a private photograph. “Why not?

“We’re starting to come together.’’

After four losses in five games, including three of four to the Yankees in the Bronx, the Sox grinded through a 6-4, 14-inning exercise in ugliness Wednesday night, then won a sublime duel between Sox left-hander Jon Lester and Sale in which both pitchers took no-hitters into the sixth inning.

Red Sox manager John Farrell, trying to generate some life at the top of the Sox order, placed Bogaerts in the No. 2 hole in the last game of the Yankees’ series on Sunday. He singled in that game, took an 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday night, but has made an impact in each of the last two games. His single Wednesday, besides accounting for his first RBI of the season, accounted for the first run the Sox have scored in the first inning this season, and his home run Thursday was even more impressive than his first big-league homer, which carried 443 feet over the left-field bullpen in Yankee Stadium last Sept. 7.

His performance has raised some intriguing lineup possibilities for manager John Farrell when Shane Victorino comes off the disabled list, as expected, sometime next week. Farrell will likely install Victorino back in the No. 2 hole in which he thrived last season. But rather than returning Bogaerts to a lower spot in the order, Farrell could consider having Bogaerts bat leadoff and return Pedroia back to the No. 3 hole.

That would make eminent sense if Victorino was still switch-hitting, but if he sticks to batting right-handed--and he has given no indication of doing otherwise--that would leave the Red Sox three straight right-handed hitters at the top of the lineup, which is probably untenable.

The manager said before Thursday’s game that he had not made any lineup decisions yet. “We have to get Shane back first,’’ he said.

Lester looks special in outdueling Sale

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy watched tall, skinny Chris Sale, fresh out of Florida Gulf Coast University, become a star in Chicago. He watched Jon Lester win a World Series in Boston. Days ago, he forecast that this would be special.

"I'm not going to lie," Peavy said Thursday night after his buddy Sale and teammate Lester both took no-hitters into the sixth inning before the Red Sox prevailed 3-1 with two runs in the ninth off White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario. "I did see a pretty good one coming. At one point in time, I'm thinking, 'Something's gotta give.'

"That was worth the price of admission. As a baseball purist and someone who loves the game, I hope people locked in to what was going on tonight. That's two bona fide No. 1-stuff guys, No. 1 makeup guys, two really, really good southpaws, two of the best pitchers in the league.

"Not to take anything away from Clayton Kershaw. He gets a ton of hype, as he should, but these two guys don't get nearly the hype, and they're at the same level. These guys are special."

[+] EnlargeJon Lester
Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesJon Lester was in full command Thursday, retiring the first 16 batters he faced.
So maybe the Kershaw comp is a little excessive (Lester's agents, the Levinson brothers, have gotta love it), but you get the idea. Sale gave up one hit in seven innings, a 444-foot home run by Red Sox rookie Xander Bogaerts with one out in the sixth. Lester was perfect through the first 16 batters, allowing only one ball out of the infield, before the White Sox strung together three hits in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score.

Sale struck out 10 in grinding out 127 pitches in seven innings. The Bogaerts home run was the only hit he allowed, although it took a terrific leaping catch by center fielder Adam Eaton to keep David Ortiz from a home run, too, in the first. Lester went one inning more, allowing seven hits, striking out nine and not walking a batter and emerged with the win when his battery mate, David Ross, doubled home a run and pinch hitter Jonathan Herrera squeezed home another.

"A heavyweight bout," Lester called it. "It was whoever made a mistake first. [Sale] did, and I gave it right back. But it was a fun night to pitch."

Not a bad game to catch, either, according to Ross.

"He was rolling tonight," said Ross, who has caught each of Lester's past three starts. "You could have had a 5-year-old catching today."

Lester smiled when Ross' words were relayed to him.

"I don't know how to take that," he said. "Rossie and I have had a pretty good rhythm the last couple of starts. He does a great job for me back there. He's been fun."

Lester has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his four starts so far this season while pitching at least into the seventh in all four. But this is hardly a new development.

In his past 19 starts going back to last Aug. 8 -- his last 10 regular-season starts of 2013, five postseason starts and first four starts of 2014 -- Lester has a 2.02 ERA (30 earned runs in 133⅔ innings). He has 110 strikeouts and 32 walks in that span, including a 29/4 K/BB ratio this season.

Whatever concerns the Red Sox had that pitching deep into October might lead to a drop in Lester's performance this season have evaporated.

Pitch like he has, and you can afford to politely decline an offer of four years, $70 million-plus from the Sox, which is exactly what Lester did at the end of this spring. That's serious coin, to be sure, but well below the going rate for someone with Lester's portfolio.

Here's all you need to know about how well Lester is pitching: "Tonight I felt like my location was pretty good," he said. "I was pounding the bottom of the zone. But as far as no-hit stuff, powerful stuff, I felt normal."

Funny thing is, Ross said the same thing.

"He pitched like he normally does," Ross said.

If this is Lester's normal, this should be pretty special for the rest of us. Just the way Peavy said it would be.

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 3, White Sox 1

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
CHICAGO -- Takeaways from the Cell, where truer words have seldom been spoken than the admonition from Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy to former White Sox teammate Chris Sale when Sale expressed regret that he wouldn't be facing Peavy Thursday night.

"I told Chris Sale, 'I know you wanted Old Man Peavy but you're going to get our left-hander Thursday night,'" Peavy had said back in New York. "'If you want to be the best left-hander in the league, you got to surpass this guy that we're throwing at you.'"

"Our left-hander," in this case, was Jon Lester, and set the stage for a superb pitchers' duel between the two lefties, each of whom took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and looked eminently capable of completing the task, even though neither did so.

The result: The Red Sox won the rubber game of this three-game set 3-1 before a crowd of 17,454 in U.S. Cellular Field.

The winning rally in the ninth: One-out singles by Mike Napoli and pinch hitter Mike Carp off White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario preceded a double grounded down the right-field line by Red Sox catcher David Ross that scored Napoli to make it 2-1. After an intentional walk to Daniel Nava, pinch hitter Jonathan Herrera pushed a bunt down the first-base line, scoring pinch runner Grady Sizemore.

The double no-nos: Sale broke first, giving up a 444-foot home run to Red Sox rookie Xander Bogaerts with two out in the sixth. Lester set down the first 16 White Sox batters in order, allowing only one ball out of the infield, until Tyler Flowers grounded a single off the glove of a diving Bogaerts in the shortstop hole with one out in the sixth. That was the first of three straight hits by the White Sox, as Leury Garcia, the tiny utility man who had pitched the 14th inning the night before, one-hopped a ball over the right-field wall for a ground-rule double, and Lester was a tick late to first base as Adam Eaton beat out an infield hit that tied the score.

Sale gave up one hit, a walk, and one hit batsman while striking out 10 in seven innings. He threw a career-high 127 pitches in seven innings, a hefty workload for this early in the season.

Lester pitched out of a jam in the seventh, when the leaden-legged Adam Dunn was thrown out at the plate on Alejandro De Aza's double into the right-field corner, Dustin Pedroia throwing a strike to David Ross after taking a throw from Daniel Nava.

Lester had runners on the corners after a couple of singles in the eighth as well, but struck out Dayan Viciedo to end the threat.

Lester threw 112 pitches. He struck out nine, did not walk a batter, and ended up allowing seven hits. He lowered his ERA to 2.17 in four starts, all of which have been quality starts. He has yet to allow more than two earned runs in a start, has not allowed more than seven hits or two walks, and his 9 K's Thursday were his most in four starts.

The defense: White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton took a home run away from David Ortiz with a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the first inning. White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko made an acrobatic grab of Dustin Pedroia's smash and turned it into a double play in the eighth. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez made a diving grab of Jackie Bradley Jr.'s liner and turned it into a DP to end the Boston ninth. Ross made a nice grab of Konerko's pop fly at the Boston dugout railing in the fifth, and Pedroia was money on his relay.

National High-Five Day: A fitting occasion for Koji Uehara to make his return after a week's absence to pitch the ninth and record the save.

The trip: The Red Sox return home for four games with the Orioles and three with the Yankees with a 3-4 record on this trip, taking two of three from the White Sox after losing three of four in New York.

Quick hits: Koji back, Bogie off Twitter

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
CHICAGO -- A few quick hits from the Cell, where the best thing that can be said in advance of Thursday night's game between the Red Sox and White Sox is that there is no way it can be worse than Wednesday night's 5 hour-and-17 minute abomination:

• Closer Koji Uehara, who has not pitched since last Wednesday against the Rangers because of stiffness in the back of his right shoulder, is available to close Thursday, manager John Farrell said.

• Outfielder Shane Victorino will work out with the Red Sox upon the team's return to Boston on Friday, Farrell said, and the plan is for him to head out on a three-game rehab assignment, most likely in Pawtucket. The plan is for Victorino to play Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, and at that point the team will decide whether to activate him. There is a chance Victorino will be back before the end of the Yankees' series. Pawtucket does not play this Sunday because of Easter; the PawSox will have a doubleheader Saturday.

• Infielder Will Middlebrooks, who is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday but has yet to go out on rehab assignment, was sent back to Boston Thursday with a 102 degree temperature and other flu-like symptoms, Farrell said.

• Farrell said he had spoken with Xander Bogaerts regarding his Twitter account, which the 21-year-old rookie shut down after Wednesday night tweeting a picture of a young woman taking a selfie while posing provocatively in front of what appeared to be a hotel bathroom mirror.

"We're confident it was one-time mistake," said Farrell, who termed the incident "unfortunate" but said Bogaerts had acknowledged it and "learned from it."

• Left-handed reliever Chris Capuano, the West Springfield native who earned his first win with the Red Sox with 2 2/3 innings relief Wednesday night, is not available to pitch Thursday night after appearing in each of the first two games here. It was the first time in Capuano's career that he had pitched on back-to-back days.

Capuano, signed after veteran Ryan Dempster announced he would not pitch in 2014, has been unscored upon in his first seven appearances out of the Sox pen. In six of those appearances, the score was either tied or the Sox were either a run ahead or behind. In nine innings, he has allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out eight.

"We had every intention of getting him out after the second inning, but he was adamant -- he wanted to stay in," Farrell said of the 36-year-old left-hander. "He's given us such dependability in a short time down there, with his strike-throwing, and he's able to get right-handed hitters and left-handers out with equal success. He's added to the overall depth of the bullpen. He's been very good.

"The biggest thing is his ability to throw multiple pitches, he and [Craig Breslow] are similar in that they take a starter's approach and use a number of different type of pitches. They've been dependable."

Mike Napoli returns to lineup

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17

CHICAGO -- After sitting out one game with a dislocated ring finger on his left hand, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is back in the starting lineup, batting cleanup against White Sox ace Chris Sale.

The Red Sox can use Napoli's bat. They're hitting a collective .173 (36 for 208) while losing four of the first six games on this trip and have scored just 18 runs. Six of those runs came Wednesday night, when White Sox pitchers walked 15 batters but stranded 16 runners on base before Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run double off a position player, utilityman Leury Garcia, in the 14th to give the Red Sox a 6-4 win.

This will be the first time the Red Sox will be facing Sale, a two-time All-Star as a starter. The last time he pitched against them was in relief in 2011, and the Red Sox collectively have just three hits in 25 at-bats against him. No Red Sox player has more than one hit off him, and Jonny Gomes has the only home run. Napoli is 1-for-6 against him in his career. Sale has never faced Bradley, Dustin Pedroia, David Ross or Xander Bogaerts.

(Read full post)

Red Sox lineup: Napoli at first

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
Mike Napoli is back hitting cleanup for the Red Sox, after dislocating his left ring finger on Tuesday night and missing Wednesday's game.

Here's the Sox lineup:

1. Dustin Pedroia 2B
2. Xander Bogaerts SS
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Jonny Gomes, LF
6. David Ross, C
7. Daniel Nava, RF
8. Ryan Roberts 3B
9. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Jon Lester, LHP

Sox plan special marathon tribute

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
The Red Sox plan to mark the anniversary of last year's marathon bombings in two ways. First, they will hold a pregame ceremony on Sunday night, when they host the Baltimore Orioles. And then for Monday's game, they will wear special jerseys that will become an annual tradition.

The Sunday ceremony, scheduled to begin about 6:30 p.m. ET, will include a remembrance of victims Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi and officer Sean Collier.

The club will acknowledge the support that has come to Boston from across the country and will honor civic and business leaders who started the One Fund Boston.

Also, the University of Massachusetts Marching Band and the Boston Pipers Society will participate, as will members of the Boston Police Department, Watertown (Mass.) Police Department and Massachusetts State Police.

A series of canvases bearing messages from all 50 states, all MLB teams and members of Congress will line the outfield warning track at Fenway.

ESPN is scheduled to televise the game.

On Monday, Patriots Day, the 2014 Boston Marathon will take place, and the Sox will launch their new jersey tradition for their annual 11:05 a.m. ET game. Their home jersey will have "Boston" on the front -- as it did for the first time during last year’s marathon tribute at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013.

The four-game series against Baltimore begins Friday.

Bombing became part of Red Sox fabric

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
BOSTON -- The Red Sox, having walked off the Fenway Park diamond as winners less than an hour before, were in the process of making final preparations for their trip to Cleveland when the bombs went off. They heard the myriad sirens screaming as their buses took them to Logan Airport, followed the reports on their cellphones and iPads, exchanged text messages with anxious family members, some of whom lived only a short distance from the Marathon finish line.

When they landed in Cleveland, they went out to dinner as a team, the horror of the day enfolding their conversations. And the next day, they began to craft their response.

[+] EnlargeDustin Pedroia
David Richard/USA TODAY SportsThe "Boston Strong 617" jersey that hung in the Red Sox dugout was the brainchild of Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Hours before that night’s game, clubhouse manager Tom McLaughlin was approached by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes.

“Salty and Jonny came up to me with an idea to get a jersey to hang in the dugout,” McLaughlin said. “I said, ‘What do you guys want to put on it?’”

Gomes plays with the 707 area code of his northern California home, Petaluma, etched on his glove and cleats. “I know I get lot of positive feedback back home for doing that,’’ he said, “so I kind of went coattails on that idea. I said, ‘The first thing we need is ‘617’ as the number.”

By then, the “B Strong” logo was everywhere. Someone sent a “B Strong” poster to the clubhouse for all the players to sign. McLaughlin was told the team would be wearing a “B strong” patch on their uniforms when they returned home that weekend. The three men decided that they would frame the “617” on the back of the jersey with the word “Boston” on top, “Strong” on the bottom.

That night, they hung the jersey in their dugout, and did so for every game that followed in 2013. McLaughlin instructed equipment manager Edward “Pookie” Jackson to make a similar home white jersey for the dugout at Fenway.

The team arrived back home from Cleveland in the early hours of Friday morning, plans already hatched for the players to split up into groups of five and visit victims in area hospitals without fanfare. When they turned on their phones upon landing, they learned that a police officer on the MIT campus had just been shot.

“By the time we got to Fenway,” Gomes said, “we found out that shooting was attached to the bombers, and Boston was on lockdown.”

The Sox had commissioned special home jerseys with “Boston” stitched across the front to wear for their first game back. Andy Davis, who coordinates Sox equipment issues for MLB, drove through the night from Easton, Pa., to make sure they had arrived by Friday morning. But there would be no game that night, as the manhunt for the bombers continued and the city was on lockdown.

The next day, the Red Sox and Kansas City Royals played. This was the first public gathering in Boston since the apprehension of one of the alleged bombers and the death of the other Friday night.

“I just remember everybody in the clubhouse was anxious to play,” McLaughlin said. “It was like, ‘Let’s go out and do this.’”

David Ortiz doesn’t remember who asked him to address the crowd before the game, someone in the front office, but a year later, the passion he felt that day remains fresh. “This is our f------ city,” he had said, and the crowd roared at the defiance.

“I was mad,” he said. “I was upset. Devastated. I wanted to say more.”

On Tuesday in Chicago, he glanced at a TV set that was showing the anniversary ceremonies of commemoration taking place on Boylston Street. “Even when I watch it now,” he said, “I’m on fire.”

[+] EnlargeDaniel Nava, Jonny Gomes
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesDaniel Nava's three-run homer in the eighth brought a lot of smiles in the Sox's return to Fenway.
The Red Sox were losing by a run in the eighth inning. Gomes, who had doubled, was on third base. Ortiz had just hit into a double play. Mike Napoli had drawn a four-pitch walk. Up to the plate came Daniel Nava. His pregnant wife, Rachel, was in the stands. Rachel’s brother, a Marine, was awaiting deployment overseas. Neil Diamond, who had flown in unannounced, had just sung “Sweet Caroline.”

Nava swung and drove a ball toward the Red Sox bullpen. Rachel, watching, prayed. Prayed for the city, prayed that in some small way, a home run -- and victory -- would ease some pain, even for a moment. The ball landed in the pen. The Sox had a 4-2 lead, but the game was not yet over.

Lorenzo Cain of the Royals homered to lead off the ninth against Sox closer Andrew Bailey. Jeff Francouer singled. Salvador Perez, the Kansas City catcher, crushed a ball down the right-field line.

“What stands out in my mind,” Gomes said, “is that some weird stuff went our way that game. Their catcher hit one right down the line, just torched it. That ball’s gone. Then that thing took a right-hand turn and woof, foul.”

Perez struck out, and Bailey induced a ground ball to short from Alex Gordon to end it. The Red Sox had won. So had a city.

“I think it's critical that we never forget the victims that have fallen,” Farrell said Tuesday, on the anniversary of the bombings. "I think we're all proud to be part of the healing process, how small it might have been, and (it) makes us further proud to be part of an incredible city, a very strong community that I think became even stronger when we unified in response to it.”

Jonny Gomes looked a visitor in the eye. “The things that happened in that game,” he said, “I’m not trying to get all spiritual on you, but if you’re not a believer, that game made you a believer.”

Bradley caps long Sox walk in Chicago

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
CHICAGO -- You will likely wait a long time to see another game like this one, a 6-4, 14-inning Red Sox win over the White Sox in which Chicago pitchers issued 15 walks but Boston didn't win until Jackie Bradley Jr. cashed in the last two of those walks with a double off utility infielder Leury Garcia. Be glad of it.


• The Red Sox became the first team since at least 1920 to reach base safely at least 23 times in a game in which they had six or fewer hits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Fifteen walks, two hit batsmen, six hits.

• The last time the Sox had at least 15 walks in a game and six or fewer hits also came against the White Sox: May 7, 1992, when the Sons of Butch Hobson blew a 6-0 lead and lost, 7-6, at Comiskey Park. The Sox only had one other such game in their history, and that one took place on July 7, 1949, an 8-4 win over the Washington Senators. That game was played over two days: suspended in the seventh inning on July 7, completed Aug. 20.

[+] EnlargeJackie Bradley Jr.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJackie Bradley Jr. connects on his game-winning double in the 14th inning.
• The last team to walk at least 15 batters in a game while striking out five or fewer batters was the Toronto Blue Jays, on May 19, 2002, against Seattle.

• This was the eighth time in club history the Red Sox have received 15 or more walks in a game. The club record is 18, in a 14-13, 12-inning loss to the Tigers on Sept. 17, 1920.

• This was the sixth time in White Sox history that they have walked 15 or more in a game. The club record is 16, set on May 2, 1952, against the Philadelphia Athletics.

• The 275 pitches thrown by eight White Sox pitchers, including utility infielder Leury Garcia, are the most ever thrown by a White Sox team in a game of 14 innings or fewer. They've had games of 310 pitches (18 2/3 IP), 299 (19 IP) and 289 (16 IP).

Of those 275 pitches thrown by the White Sox, only 144 were strikes, or 52 percent.

John Farrell's reaction?

"We had multiple, multiple opportunities with men on base, and we're still grinding away, and we didn't come out of our approach. We took base on balls when they were issued, which was a lot. Thankfully, we walked away with a win.

"When they're putting up the probable pitchers for tomorrow on the board, we know we're deep into the night but we came out with a win. We started out with three straight hits and thought maybe it was a night we would break out.

"Bottom line is, we came away with a win."

• Facing a position player was hardly a guarantee that the Red Sox would emerge with a win. On May 6, 2012, Chris Davis pitched a scoreless 16th and 17th against the Red Sox, and the Orioles scored three runs off Darnell McDonald to win it.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox's issues with injuries, Jon Lester's contract situation and the four-game set this weekend against Baltimore.

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 6, White Sox 4

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17

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.