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Red Sox 7, White Sox 6: Poor control, bad break seals sweep

Andre Rienzo digs an early hole, and a costly (and undeserved) error puts the game out of reach

Winslow Townson

The Red Sox finished off their sweep of the White Sox the way they started it -- by wearing down the starting pitching, then sitting on the lead the rest of the game.

But there's solace to be taken in this sweep. The White Sox didn't roll over for a first-place team, and had Paul Nauert not blown a call at third base, this game could've turned out differently.

And also, the White Sox are done playing the Red Sox. This game lasted three hours and 39 minutes after a 19-minute delay to start the game. I honestly don't know how Boston fans have the time.

But back to that call...

In the fourth, Charlie Leesman walked Jacoby Ellsbury to start the inning. He stole second and moved to third on a 3-1 putout. That run is his own doing.

Up came Dustin Pedroia, who hit a bullet to Conor Gillaspie's right. Gillaspie made a diving, sno-cone catch, hit the ground, and then lunged to third to touch the bag before Ellsbury could retreat. During that last step, the ball came loose, and third base umpire Nauert said that was enough to nullify the first half of the play. GIllaspie picked up the ball, then rushed a throw to first and bounced it into right field. Ellsbury scored, Pedroia took second, and he also came around to score on a David Ortiz single.

Replays showed that had Gillaspie had control of the ball until making the effort to touch third. When second baseman drop a ball on a double-play turn, they get credit for the out, with the umpire deciding he lost the ball on the transfer. So did Gillaspie, except his transfer was from catching the out to tagging for another. Robin Ventura came out to argue the play and was ejected, although it wasn't as thrilling as the one from last weekend.

The argument was worth making, because those two runs gave the Red Sox a 7-4 lead, and they needed those two runs to win it.

At least the White Sox made it interesting after falling behind 5-0. They struck for four runs in the top of the fourth. After loading the bases after one out with two singles and a walk, Jeff Keppinger hit a sac fly to center to put the Sox on the board. Dayan Viciedo made it more interesting when he doubled in another run off the Green Monster. Gillaspie followed by slashing a hanging 1-2 curve to right-center for two more runs, and even Tyler Flowers kept the line moving with a single to center that put runners on the corners. Alas, the inning ended the way it started -- with a Leury Garcia strikeout.

They did add single runs in the fifth (Konerko RBI single) and the eighth (exceptionally violent Flowers homer over the Monster), but the Red Sox were able to give the ball to Koji Uehara in the ninth, and he befuddled the White Sox yet again for his 16th save.

In the process, Andre Rienzo took the loss, and he deserved it. he became the latest pitcher to be broken down by the Red Sox lineup. He got through the first inning on 18 pitches, but he buried himself in the second inning with control problems, with a couple accent notes by the defense.

The inning started with a single and a walk. Rienzo rebounded with a flyout that put runners on the corners, but kept the double play intact. At least until Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole second and nobody covered.

That turned out to be a big deal, because after Rienzo struck out Xander Bogaerts for the second out, Jacoby Ellsbury delivered a single to center that scored both. Ellsbury also took second on a rainbow throw from Alejandro De Aza that missed the cutoff man.

That one didn't matter so much, because Rienzo walked the next to batters to load the bases for David Ortiz. When somebody like Alexei Ramirez swings at the first pitch after two walks, it turns into a double play. When Ortiz does it to a cutter over the plate, he shoots it into right field for a two-run single.

Rienzo finished the third inning -- during which he allowed a solo shot to Stephen Drew -- but the Sox had seen enough after 75 pitches. He gave up five runs on five hits and four walks over three innings.

Leesman, who was added to the roster today, saved the Sox bullpen with 4⅓ effective enough innings. He did walk four batters without a strikeout, and three of them came in succession with two outs in the eighth. That loaded the bases for Drew, who tried to mimic Ortiz by swinging at the first pitch. He could only hit a routine grounder to second to end the inning.

Bullet points:

*That error was a blemish that Gillaspie didn't deserve. He had a tremendous defensive series, including a nice pick on an Ellsbury hot shot later in the game.

*Nate Jones made a nice pick on a Pedroia grounder to end the eighth, snagging a comebacker on his glove side. It didn't save a run if it got through, because Leury Garcia was in position, but a run might've scored if Jones merely deflected it.

*Leury Garcia showed his speed by stealing second on a pickoff. Avisail Garcia wasn't so lucky when he was picked off.

*Avisail Garcia and De Aza almost collided in center. De Aza's defensive series was the opposite of Gillaspie's.

Record: 56-79 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights