CHICAGO — It took facing an infielder on the mound in the 14th inning to do it, but the beleaguered Red Sox finally found a way to beat the Chicago White Sox in a game that ended early Thursday.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had a two-run double off Leury Garcia to lift the Red Sox to a 6-4 victory in an excruciating affair that ended with only a few hundred fans left at US Cellular Field. It lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes.
The Red Sox had lost three straight and four of their last five.
“I don’t care how we did it, we did it,” David Ortiz said. “We needed to win a game.”
Garcia, a 23-year-old who had never pitched in a professional game, was in the game after White Sox manager Robin Ventura ran through seven relief pitchers. He walked Daniel Nava and Jonathan Herrera with two outs in the 14th before Bradley lined a two-strike pitch down the line in right field.
Garcia hit 88 mph with his fastball and was better than the Red Sox expected.
“He was actually kind of funky. He was kind of throwing a rise ball,” Bradley said. “It was one of those things where I wanted to make him throw strikes. Stay back, see it late and get a good swing on it.”
Nine Chicago pitchers combined to walk 15 and hit two, the wildness allowing the Red Sox to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the late innings of a cold night. They rallied again after Edward Mujica blew a save in the 11th inning.
Chris Capuano (1-0) pitched 2⅔ innings for the win. Burke Badenhop got the final out for his first save.
After Clay Buchholz allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings, the Red Sox bullpen gave up one run over eight innings.
“Our pitchers did a heck of a job,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The bullpen came in with not a lot of margin for error and continued to put up zeroes.”
The Red Sox managed only six hits and were 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position. They left 16 runners on base. The Red Sox started the game with three consecutive hits and didn’t have another until the ninth inning.
But Chicago pitchers allowed the Red Sox to stay in the game.
“We’re still grinding away, we didn’t come out of our approach. We took bases on balls when they issued, which were a lot,” Farrell said. “Thankfully we walk away from here with a win.”
The Red Sox are 2-4 on a road trip that ends Thursday night with Jon Lester facing Chris Sale.
With the Red Sox down 3-1, Ortiz walked and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Pierzynski in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox tied the game in the ninth inning. Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk against Maikel Cleto before Xander Bogaerts walked. Chicago closer Matt Lindstrom allowed an infield single by Jonny Gomes before Grady Sizemore delivered a sacrifice fly to left field.
Daniel Webb allowed the go-ahead run in the 11th inning. Pedroia, who scored three runs, walked before Bogaerts was hit for the second time.
Ortiz grounded into a force out at second and the White Sox were too slow to turn a double play as Bogaerts slid in hard.
Gomes followed with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Mujica, the closer with Koji Uehara unavailable, walked Jordan Danks to start the bottom of the 11th inning. Danks stole second before Mujica got two outs.
Tyler Flowers, a backup catcher who entered the game in the 10th inning, singled to tie the game again.
The game dragged into the 14th inning before it was decided.
The Red Sox came into the game as the only major league team not to score a run or have an extra-base hit in the first inning. Bogaerts, meanwhile, had the most at-bats in majors this season, 50, without driving in a run.
Those three streaks ended in a span of two at-bats.
Pedroia, out of the lineup for two games with a sore left wrist, led off with a double to left field against John Danks. Bogaerts followed with a single up the middle that drove in Pedroia.
When Ortiz went the other way with a single to left field, the Red Sox were set up for a big inning. But Gomes was out on a fly ball to right field, as was Sizemore. Pierzynski then grounded to third base and the inning was over.
Poor defense by the Red Sox in the bottom of the inning allowed the White Sox to tie the game as Buchholz threw 31 pitches.
Leadoff hitter Adam Eaton was hit by a pitch then took second when first baseman Nava, starting in place of an injured Mike Napoli (dislocated left ring finger), couldn’t handle a pickoff throw and was charged with an error.
Buchholz got two outs before Jose Abreu grounded to third. Ryan Roberts had plenty of time to make a play, but threw a one-hopper to first base that skipped past Nava, and a run scored.
Buchholz walked Adam Dunn before Dayan Viciedo singled to right field to load the bases. The inning finally ended when Alejandro De Aza popped to first base.
John Danks went six innings, throwing 111 pitches. He did not give up another hit after the first inning, but walked four and hit one.
After the eventful first inning, Buchholz needed a mere 54 pitches to navigate through the next four innings, and he didn’t give up a run.
That changed in the sixth inning. Buchholz walked Dunn before getting two outs. He fell behind Alexei Ramirez 2-and-1 before leaving a fastball up that was driven over the wall in left field.
For Ramirez, it was his fourth home run and extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest to begin the season for the White Sox since Hall of Famer Frank Thomas started the 1996 season with hits in 15 consecutive games.
The 15 walks for the Red Sox were the most since they drew 15 against the White Sox in a nine-inning game on May 7, 1992.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.