If you wondered what Monday night's game would have looked like with the White Sox starting a better pitcher, it was your lucky night.
Once again, the White Sox rushed out to a huge first-inning lead. This time, Jeff Samardzija kept the Red Sox from ever truly threatening, and the White Sox's sixth consecutive victory was far easier than slobberknocker in the opening game at Fenway Park.
It started inauspiciously for the Sox, as Adam Eaton was rung up on a classic lefty (non-)strike, and flirted with an ejection by pointing at Doug Eddings' missed call more than once.
Then came the parade: A Tyler Saladino walk. A Jose Abreu single. A Melky Cabrera RBI double. An Avisail Garcia RBI single. A Geovany Soto two-run double. Outside of Garcia's hit -- a chopper over Pablo Sandoval's head -- they were all well-struck. Even Emilio Bonifacio got in on the actin, following Alexei Ramirez's unproductive tapper with a line-drive double to left for a 5-0 White Sox lead.
That outburst allowed Samardzija to spend the entire evening in economy mode. Sandoval did get the Red Sox back in the game early with an opposite-field two-run shot over the Green Monster in the second inning, but Samardzija raised his game and kept the Boston bats quiet. He retired the next 13 batters until Alejandro De Aza drew a walk in the sixth inning, and then Samardzija set down the next seven after that. Rusney Castillo's two-out single in the eighth was the first Boston hit since the Panda blast.
While the Red Sox slept, the White Sox found ways to tack on. Wade Miley shook off the first-inning assault to pitch into the sixth, but Abreu chased him from the game after Mookie Betts chased down a double and gave Abreu a homer instead.
Confused? So were a lot of people.
With two outs in the sixth and Adam Eaton on first, Abreu hit a deep drive to right center. Betts flagged it down with a full-speed catch, then tried to lessen the impact of the low wall with a little jump and turn. Problem was, Betts jumped too high, with his butt clearing the top of the wall and carrying the rest of him into the bullpen backward.
His back and head hit the ground at the same time, and as the rest of his body folded over himself, the ball trickled out. He collected it with his glove before getting up, but the White Sox challenged the call -- if there even was one -- that Betts made the catch (or at least that Abreu didn't homer). After a somewhat lengthy review, New York ruled it a homer, and the White Sox led 7-2.
Soto made it an 8-2 game with Justin Masterson's first pitch of the seventh inning, with the ball clearing the Monster and breaking a windshield before the Red Sox broadcast returned from its commercial break. Abreu then added one more for good measure, driving in Eaton again with a double to the left-field corner.
The only question was whether Samardzija could go the distance, and the Red Sox at least thwarted that. Xander Bogaerts led off with an inside-out single, David Ortiz blasted his own base-hit through the shift, and Hanley Ramirez hit an infield single to make it a 9-3 game. That's when Ventura pulled Samardzija, and Dan Jennings allowed one of the inherited runners to score and spoil the quality start. Samardzija's eighth victory of the season was never in question, though.
*Bonifacio left the game after injuring a rib on a groundout. He pulled up about 30 feet down the line and had to take a knee before he could return to the dugout.
*Carlos Sanchez replaced him and went 1-for-3. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and moreover, he's also raised his batting average at the end of all 11 games.
*Cabrera raised his own average to .281 with a 4-for-5 night, including two doubles and a triple.
*Soto was perfect: 2-for-2 with three walks.
*Tyler Saladino went hitless with three strikeouts, but started the first-inning surge with the walk. Gordon Beckham couldn't even claim that (0-for-5).