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White Sox 4, Red Sox 3

No oomph in Red Sox’ game as they fall to White Sox in opener of three-game series

The Red Sox' Bobby Dalbec circles the bases after hitting a home run against the White Sox during the fifth inning.David Banks/Associated Press

CHICAGO — In a game that was heavily lopsided in the White Sox’ favor, it suddenly turned into a contest following the seventh inning. With the Sox trailing by a run in the ninth, Christian Vázquez reached base on an infield single to begin the inning. Yet White Sox closer Liam Hendriksshut the door, recording the following three outs, resulting in a 4-3 Red Sox loss at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday night.

Friday marked the beginning of an important road trip for the Sox but with the important reminder that COVID-19 is still their foe, too. Xander Bogaerts made his way back from the COVID-related injured list Friday, but Chris Sale was then placed on it, marking the 10th Red Sox player to test positive since Aug. 27.


Perspective amid the outbreak is what manager Alex Cora tries to hold on to.

“We got the first wild-card spot. So that’s pretty cool,” Cora said before the series opener Friday.

That remained true — for Friday evening, at least — despite the team’s loss. The Red Sox remain in sole control of the first wild-card spot in the American League by a game following the Yankees’ loss to the Mets.

“We kept battling,’’ Cora said. “That’s a good baseball game right there. Overall, it was a good fought game against a good team and we had a chance throughout the night.”

The Red Sox came out with little oomph and chilled bats in this one against Carlos Ródon. The Sox managed just three hits off Ródon in his five innings of work. Ródon carved his way to seven strikeouts in that span. In the third, the Red Sox couldn’t manufacture their first run of the game following a Vázquez single. Vázquez advanced to second on a Ródon wild pitch, then took third after the attempt to nab him at second sailed into the outfield. With no outs in the frame, Vázquez was stranded at third with Ródon recording three straight strikeouts, fanning Kiké Hernandez to end the inning.


Red Sox starter Tanner Houck navigated his way through the first two innings without allowing a baserunner. It wasn’t until the third that Houck began to sputter. He allowed a walk to César Hernandez before Yoán Moncada tacked on the first White Sox hit. That brought José Abreu to the plate, whose screaming liner cleared the left field wall, giving the White Sox a 3-0 lead.

“Obviously not my best,’’ Houck said. “But the world is still revolving. I’m more upset that I didn’t pitch to my strengths. It’s part of the game. We’re all human. Come back tomorrow, learn from it and do it again.”

About what he wanted to do on the pitch to Abreu, Houck said, “Bury it. Slider down and away. He just put good wood on it.”

Luis Robert’s single through the right side in the fourth stretched the Sox’ deficit, 4-0, and ultimately ended Houck’s night after3 ⅔ innings.

Bobby Dalbec gave the Sox some life, however, in the fifth after he belted his 21st homer of the season. Dalbec assisted the Red Sox in the seventh, too, when what looked like a bloop single to right field snuck under the glove of White Sox right fielder Brian Goodwin for a triple. Dalbec would score on Vázquez’s ground out to second. Later on that inning, Alex Verdugo, who came into the game to pinch hit, struck an RBI single to left, making it a 4-3 game.


Dalbec has posted a 1.195 OPS since the start of August.

“I’m not chasing guys around the zone,” Dalbec said on his transformation at the plate since the start of August. “I’m not hitting the pitches the want me to swing at. I’m comfortable taking strikes in the zone knowing that’s not the pitch I want.”

Dalbec had a chance to make something happen again in the eighth, facing reliever Craig Kimbrel as the go-ahead run. Dalbec worked the count to 2-2 before striking out on a knuckle-curve.

“I’m just looking for something out over the plate,” Dalbec said. “I was kind of anticipating that curveball a little bit and it just kind of backed up a little bit.”

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Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.