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Red Sox snap skid with win in 14-inning, 5+ hour marathon
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Burke Badenhop (35) reacts after the Red Sox topped the White Sox, 6-4, in 14 innings on Wednesday night (Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)
Aided by 15 walks, a blown save, two hit batters and three sacrifice flies, Boston snapped a three-game losing streak by outlasting the Chicago 6-4 at U.S. Cellular Field.
A two-run double to right field by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the top of the 14th off White Sox utility infielder Leury Garcia provided the winning runs in a marathon game that lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes.
Garcia (0-1) was pitching because Chicago manager Robin Ventura burned through his entire bullpen, including a three-inning, 59-pitch outing by right-hander Daniel Webb that concluded in the 13th.
Left-hander Chris Capuano (1-0) got the win by throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and right-hander Burke Badenhop got a one-out save.
Three innings earlier, Boston right-hander Edward Mujica blew a save opportunity when Chicago catcher Tyler Flowers rolled a two-out RBI single to center field, scoring Jordan Danks.
The White Sox's bullpen was equally ineffective. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez's two-run homer in the sixth broke a 1-1 pitcher's duel, but Chicago coughed up a 3-2 lead in the ninth. Five White Sox relievers combined to allow the Red Sox solo runs in the eighth and ninth on six walks, one hit and two sacrifice flies, forcing extra innings.
Chicago right-hander Matt Lindstrom was assessed a blown save, his third in four opportunities this season, but he entered in a tough spot in the ninth. The White Sox still led 3-2, but there were no outs and two runners on base after right-hander Maikel Cleto gave up back-to-back walks to start the inning.
An infield hit with one out by Jonny Gomes loaded the bases, and Grady Sizemore tied it 3-3 by plating Dustin Pedroia with a sacrifice fly.
Pedroia, the All-Star second baseman who didn't start the previous two games due to left wrist inflammation, went 1-for-4 and played the role of catalyst perfectly for the Red Sox (6-9). He doubled and scored to start the game and scored twice more after drawing leadoff walks in the ninth and 11th.
Boston nearly tied it in the eighth. Chicago (8-7) used four relievers and each walked a batter. Designated hitter David Ortiz eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2 before Cleto finally wiggled off the hook that inning by getting Bradley to pop out with the bases loaded.
It was just another example of Boston struggling to plate runners in scoring position. The Red Sox came into the game hitting .194 with runners in scoring position, which was tied for 13th in the American League.
The trend continued when they stranded 16 on the night. Boston left the bases loaded twice and squandered golden opportunities in the eighth, ninth and 11th against Chicago's scuffling bullpen.
Ramirez's fourth home run of the season, his second in the past three games, extended his hitting streak to 15 games and tied him with legendary White Sox slugger Frank Thomas for the longest streak to start a season in franchise history. Thomas accomplished the feat to start the 1996 season.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz and Chicago starter John Danks each pitched well and took no-decisions.
NOTES: White Sox reliever Nate Jones, on the 15-day disabled list since April 4 with a strained left hip muscle, has not resumed throwing. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura said prior to the game that backup C Adrian Nieto would continue catching most of LHP John Danks' starts. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli didn't play. He is day-to-day after dislocating his left ring finger in Monday's game. ... Red Sox RHP Koji Uehara, who hasn't pitched since April 9 because of shoulder stiffness, threw a pregame bullpen session. He is expected to be available Thursday. ... Boston RF Shane Victorino had his rehab assignment pushed back by at least a day because of a rainout at Double-A Portland. He likely will be assigned next to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he could play Friday or Saturday.