The White Sox and Red Sox used the exact same strategy in the 10th inning. It only worked for the latter, though, and so Boston's second straight walk-off turned the start of a promising road trip into a frustrating split.
Ronald Belisario started the 10th with a leadoff walk. Mookie Betts followed with a sac bunt, and Belisario walked Stephen Drew to put the double play in order. That never happened, because while Belisario induced a grounder from pinch hitter Mike Carp, it wasn't what he wanted. He missed Tyler Flowers' mitt by a whole plate on the sinker, giving Carp the opportunity to extend his arms and beat the shift the other way to drive in the game-winning run.
So the sac bunt worked for the Red Sox, but Robin Ventura didn't get to enjoy the same exciting results -- and he didn't really deserve to.
Adam Eaton led off the ninth with a single off Andrew Miller, and Gordon Beckham bunted him to second. It might've been a smart call when looking only at Beckham, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on the day. However, taking a productive out from a struggling hitter ended up taking the bat out of the hands of the Sox' most productive hitter, as Miller walked Jose Abreu to face two more Cubans. Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez could only hit nubbers, and Miller handled both of them for a quiet end to a promising inning.
This game posed a lot of individual choices for Ventura, especially in the ninth inning, which the White Sox entered trailing 3-1. After Ramirez reached on an infield to start the ninth (he beat Koju Uehara to the bag on a ball Mike Napoli should have let the second baseman field) and the bottom of the order coming up, Ventura had a few options for upgrades over the next few batters.
Bad idea: He let Paul Konerko hit for himself instead of using Adam Dunn, and Konerko struck out looking on three straight strikes after starting the at-bat with three straight balls, although strike one looked high.
Good idea: He pinch-hit Conor Gillaspie for Moises Sierra, and Gillaspie wrapped a 1-0 Uehara splitter around the Pesky Pole to tie the game. After missing the opener with a sore knee, Gillaspie homered in each of the last three games at Fenway.
Bad idea: With two outs and nobody on, Ventura let Leury Garcia hit for himself, even though using Gillaspie forced Garcia to the outfield anyway. Garcia struck out.
At the very least, Gillaspie's heroics gave Jose Quintana the good kind of no-decision. Quintana retired the first 15 men he faced, then started the sixth with two close-call walks. Jackie Bradley Jr. then singled one run in to spoil the no-hit bid and tie the game. Quintana came back with a couple groundouts, bringing David Ortiz to the plate.
With third base open, Quintana had the option of walking Ortiz and facing Mike Napoli, who had struck out in each of his two at-bats. Loading the bases on purpose didn't look like a great call, though, since Quintana walked two in the inning. Quintana looked like he was going to try to nibble Ortiz to death, as he started with four curveballs and fell behind 3-1. Then he threw a fifth breaking ball, but he hung it, and Ortiz pounded it to the left-center gap to score two more runs and extend the Red Sox' lead to 3-1.
Maybe walking Ortiz would've led to better results, but Eric Surkamp pitched Ortiz into an easy out in the ninth with good breaking balls. Quintana just made a very bad pitch and paid for it.
Quintana didn't have the luxury of a cushion, because the White Sox couldn't figure out Jon Lester. The jabbed him for a quick run in the first, as Abreu doubled home Eaton with a liner over Jonny Gomes' head, but Lester didn't allow another run over the rest of his seven inning. You wouldn't expect much when Konerko, Sierra, Flowers and Garcia round out the batting order, but Lester made it look unusually easy, striking out 12 White Sox on the day.
The White Sox threatened Lester in the sixth inning. Abreu led off with a single, and Alexei Ramirez singled two batters later. Abreu took third on a heads-up play, bolting for third when Boston catcher David Ross tried to pick of Ramirez at first. Abreu's first career stolen base put a key add-on run just 90 feet away, but Konerko struck out and Sierra popped out in foul territory to keep the White Sox' lead at the slimmest of margins.
*Quintana's final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
*The White Sox went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
*Quintana probably should've lost his no-hit bid earlier int he game, but Adam Eaton ran to the triangle in center field to haul in Ortiz's deep dive. As he hit the ground, Sierra jumped over him to avoid a collision.
*Besides Beckham, Viciedo and Konerko also sported silver sombreros.
*Daniel Webb was a bright spot, retiring all four batters he faced from the start of the eighth through the first ouf o the ninth.