Closing Time: Red Sox pitching falters as Cubs sweep Red Sox at Fenway, 16-9

July 02, 2014 - 7:31 pm
Categories: 

Heading into Wednesday'€™s game, the Red Sox had built up an impressive record at Fenway Park: holding opponents to three runs or less in their last 14 home games -- the longest such streak in franchise history. However, in a move that only a sport as unpredictable as baseball could generate, the Cubs -- who were 28th in baseball in runs scored (307) heading into Wednesday'€™s game -- became the team to break Boston'€™s streak. By the end of the game, 16 Chicago baserunners crossed home plate, as the Cubs defeated Boston by a score of 16-9 to earn a series sweep at Fenway Park. It was the first time that the Cubs reached double-digit figures in runs since May 12 -- a stretch of 45 games. Red Sox starter Brandon Workman, who compiled an impressive 2.65 ERA in 17 innings at Fenway going into Wednesday'€™s action, struggled mightily, allowing six earned runs before being pulled after just four innings of work. While Boston's offense certainly wasn't lifeless -- scoring more than two runs at Fenway for the first time since June 13 -- the team had plenty of opportunities to eat away at Chicago'€™s lead, leaving 14 men on base. One of the few bright spots for the Red Sox offensively was rookie Mookie Betts, who took a 2-1 offering from Carlos Villanueva into the last row of the Green Monster seats for a two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was his first career hit at Fenway. Cubs pitcher Travis Wood, like Workman, was ineffective on the hill, allowing seven hits and three earned runs while walking four over 3 2/3 innings of work. With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 38-47 on the year. Here'€™s what went right (and wrong) for Boston. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX --  Xander Bogaerts'€™ struggles at the plate continue to snowball. The 21-year-old third baseman finished the game 0-for-4 and stranded six runners. Bogaerts, who is 0 for his last 23, did manage to reach base with a walk in the third inning, which was just his second walk since June 14. -- Workman turned in his worst start of the season, surrendering a season-high six earned runs over four innings of work. Workman'€™s performance snapped his streak of him throwing at least five innings in every start this season, a six-game stretch. Workman struggled from the get-go, allowing three earned runs in the first inning while throwing 30 pitches. Chicago roughed Workman up for another three runs in the fourth thanks to a two-run homer from Mike Olt and a sacrifice fly from Chris Coghlan. -- Felix Doubront, who came into the game in the fifth inning, did not fair much better, allowing three earned runs off of four hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Since returning from the disabled list on June 20, the southpaw has allowed six earned runs over eight innings of work. -- Despite his great day with the bat, it was another adventurous day out in the field for Betts, the infielder-turned-outfielder. In the top of the fourth, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney jumped on a first pitch cutter from Workman, knocking it out to left-center. Betts attempted to play the resulting ricochet, but was too close to the wall, as the ball bounced back over his head and rolled into center field, giving Barney the opportunity to leg out a triple. -- Edward Mujica, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa allowed a combined nine hits and seven earned runs in two innings of relief. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Betts couldn't have picked a better way to collect his first career hit at Fenway Park, hitting the first home run of his young major league career in the fifth inning. Betts, who finished the game (2-for-5), joined Bogaerts as the first pair of Red Sox players age 21 or younger to homer in the same season since Glenn Hoffman and Chico Walker in 1980. -- It took some time this season, but the customary Dustin Pedroia hot streak is finally upon us. Pedroia collected two more hits on Wednesday, and is now 12 for his last 20 (.600 average). It was his fourth, three-hit game in five contests. -- Wednesday marked another milestone in David Ortiz'€™s storied career. Ortiz lofted a 73 mph slider from Wood into right field that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double in the third inning. It was the 1,000th extra-base hit of Ortiz'€™s career --  the most among active left-handed hitters and third amongst active players (Alex Rodriguez at 1,203; Albert Pujols at 1,065). Ortiz is the 36th player in MLB history to collect 1,000 career extra-base hits. Ortiz finished the game 2-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI.

Comments ()