Koji Uehara slammed the door again on another hapless opponent and the Red Sox bounced back from their loss on Thursday night to the Orioles to win 4-3 against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, who got the win, served his sentenced for drilling Alex Rodriguez by sitting down for a start and took the bump against the lowly Chicago White Sox Friday night at Fenway Park.
On paper this should have been a slam dunk. The White Sox are dead last, 21 games out of first place in the AL Central Anyone who has seriously followed baseball, however, for more than a micro-second can tell you that on any given night a team far out of contention can give a division leader a scare. Friday’s game was that kind of fright.
The Red Sox scored once in the third and three times in the fourth to go up 4-0 on the ChiSox on a balmy 80 degree night. Shane Victorino stayed red hot - .364 over the last seven days with 10 RBI and 8 runs scored – by bagging another RBI. David Ortiz broke a miserable 0 for 23 slump with a sharp two-run single to center field in the fourth to put Boston up 4-0 over the Chicago and starter Hector Santiago, who only went 3.2 innings.
Although it wasn’t pretty – Dempster had already thrown 86 pitches after six innings – the White Sox couldn’t muster a hit until the fifth when they finally put together three in the inning and got to Dempster for a run.
As happened against Baltimore on Thursday night, the Red Sox maddeningly piled up stranded runners on base. In either a bizarre or simply dumb move the White Sox deliberately walked Dustin Pedroia and then got jammed up when lefty reliever David Purcey quite unintentionally walked lefty Ortiz to load the bases only to end up pitching to right-handed hitter Johnny Gomes. This is what bad teams do. Purcey got away with it, striking out Gomes to end the inning.
After a White Sox homer by Avisail Garcia and a wall ball single to Dayan Viciedo in the seventh Dempster was lifted with a 4-2 lead. Junichi Tazawa gave up a triple to Alejandro De Aza that scored Viceido to make t 4-3 Red Sox. What was I saying earlier about slam dunks, wins on paper and division leaders getting scares? To be fair, although the White Sox have been awful this year, they came into Boston winning 10 of their last 12 games. So after a one out appearance by Franklin Morales, it was once again left to Sox Superman Uehara to get the last four outs and slam the door.
Uehara got Paul Konerko to fly out to end the eighth to end the inning. He struck out Garcia and Jeff Keppinger to get the first two outs in the ninth and induced Viciedo to ground out to Stephen Drew to end the game. 17 pitches, 13 strikes, 4 outs. How’s that for efficiency? With the save Uehara extended his mind-blowing no runs surrendered streak to two months. The last time he gave up a run was June 30.
With the win Boston increased their lead to 3.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays who lost to Oakland 4-3 while extending their lead over the Orioles to 7.5 games after Baltimore lost earlier to the Yankees 8-5. The Yankees are 8 games in back of Boston. 26 games remain in the regular season.
Jake Peavey (2-1. 3.31 ERA) goes against John Danks (4-10, 4.15 ERA) at 7:10 in game two of the series on Saturday.