Sometimes a big picture approach is best.
The White Sox had won seven straight against the Red Sox entering tonight. Phil Humber had already defeated Boston back in May by pitching well into the eighth, while Jon Lester came apart on Memorial Day against the White Sox.
So really, a pummeling at the hands of the best team in the American League was slightly overdue. It just would've been nice if it went a little differently, with half a day until the trade deadline.
In his first start since the Edwin Jackson trade, Humber couldn't make it through the fifth inning after throwing some nasty stuff through the first four. The Red Sox scored four runs in the fifth, as all three factors went against the White Sox:
*Bad pitches: Humber missed on his curve to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, whose RBI double put the offense in motion.
*Bad defense: Alexei Ramirez failing to stop an A.J. Pierzynski throw on Carl Crawford's stolen base, plus slow reaction by Phil Humber on a sac bunt-turned-single by Josh Reddick.
*Bad luck: Brent Morel couldn't come up with a relatively routine leaping grab on a soft liner, because the broken bat was heading in his direction, too.
That last play ended Humber's night after just 4 2/3 innings, and the rout was on. Alex Rios didn't help matters, either.
In the bottom of the seventh, Paul Konerko put the Sox on the board with a solo shot. His 25th homer of the year gave made it a 4-1 game. Rios gave the run back in the top of the eighth, allowing Reddick to score on Marco Scutaro's single to right center. He wasn't going full-speed to track down the line drive to the gap, but when he awkwardly gloved the ball and took his sweet time getting his body into throwing position, that's when third-base coach Tim Bogar gave Reddick the green light. Gordon Beckham dropped the relay throw, and Reddick scored uncontested.
Beckham hit another solo shot in the eighth, but Rios' painful defense defeated the purpose. Ozzie Guillen, too, raised the white flag in the ninth by trying to get two full innings out of Brian Bruney. The Red Sox were merciless to him, and Guillen finally pulled him with two outs, after Bruney gave up six runs on seven hits over 1 2/3 innings. That will ruin his ERA for a while.
The four-run fifth ruined what looked to be another tight pitchers' duel, thanks in large part to the defense of Morel in the second inning. First, he took away a single from Kevin Youkilis with some serious range and a full-extension dive to his left. He popped up and gunned a throw to first just in time to get Youkilis by a step. One batter later, he made a diving catch in medium left field on a David Ortiz pop-up.
Youkilis returned the favor in the bottom of the third by making a nice barehanded charge-and-throw on a decent bunt by Morel.
But after the Red Sox broke it open, the only true bright spot was the debut of Jason Frasor, who entered the game with runners on first and second, one out, and Youkilis at the plate. Frasor froze him with a great slider, and then got Ortiz to tap back to the mound to erase the threat.
Outside of the two solo shots, Lester threw eight easy innings. Even though he struck out eight hitters, he still found a way to limit his workload to only 98 pitches.