CHICAGO -- Rusney Castillo had three hits and five RBIs and Joe Kelly won his fifth straight start, allowing just two runs over 7 1/3 innings, as the Red Sox claimed a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field in the opener of a three-game set. The White Sox won three of four at Fenway Park during the last week of July.
Kelly struck out four and walked one, giving up runs on Jose Abreu's first-inning homer and Melky Cabrera's sixth-inning groundout. Castillo did all of Boston's damage on offense, driving in a career-high five against White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija with a three-run homer in the second and a two-run double in the sixth.
"I thought Kelly was much better than when we saw him last time. He had a great curve," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the Red Sox starter, who allowed four runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings in a White Sox victory on July 27 at Fenway Park. "He was going off of that and still has 96. He pitched a good game."
Samardzija didn't make it through the sixth inning, yielding five earned runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two, with the Red Sox scoring three in the second over the course of six two-out pitches to take control. Samardzija has lost all five of his August starts.
"Castillo put some good at-bats out there with runners on," Samardzija said. "Again, it goes back to putting runners on base. Solo shots, your team is a little closer in it, one run puts you right there in a tie ballgame. He got me today."
The White Sox added two in the ninth off of Jean Machi, but left the tying run on first when Carlos Sanchez fouled out to left to end the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rusney's on a roll: Though Castillo's performance on Monday was the best of his career, he had been building toward it in recent weeks. Since Aug. 7, Castillo is hitting .388 (19-for-49) with 14 runs, two triples, three homers and 14 RBIs. Castillo is fighting for playing time in a rotation that also includes Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
"Yeah, I mean, I feel a lot more comfortable with more and more reps," Castillo said. "I feel like I'm finally getting into a rhythm. Thankfully, I've finally gotten a chance to play, so it's definitely helped." More >
Abreu dials long distance: Abreu's 24th home run of the season gave him 60 for his career. Abreu has homered in two straight games and has an extra-base hit in five straight.
Kelly demonstrating worth: While there had been panic from Red Sox Nation that the trade that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals for Kelly and Allen Craig was a complete loss, it looks like that no longer be the case. While Craig remains stuck at Triple-A Pawtucket, Kelly has finally gotten in a groove. The 7 1/3 innings tied a career high. Kelly has given up two earned runs or fewer in his last four starts.
"He's learning to pitch," said Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis. "I think sometimes for a guy, when you look at the velocity that he's generated, you kind of get deemed as power or electric stuff. Still, you have to pitch. You have to change speeds. He's learning to do that very well." More >
Spearing the Shark: The White Sox right-hander has one more August start and then he will gladly say goodbye to a forgettable month. Monday's rough start brought Samardzija's numbers to 28 innings, 39 hits, 28 earned runs, seven homers, 10 walks and 23 strikeouts over five trips to the mound this month. He was 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in July.
"We turned it around there for a couple of months, put that tough start behind us and got to where we needed to be," Samardzija said. "That's the way the sport goes. It's not a forgiving game and it really tests your will and how mentally strong you are. You need to do your work every time out and turn the page. You learn in this game to have thick skin and trust your work ethic and trust your routine." More >
SANDOVAL'S TARP RIDE
In the bottom of the second, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval landed on the tarp to snag a foul ball off the bat of Adam LaRoche. As a matter of fact, Sandoval's momentum pushed him to the other side of the tarp and he did a 180 into the front row of the seats while hanging on. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW Alexei Ramirez was ruled out trying to stretch a single into a double to open the fifth inning, but Ventura challenged the call made by second-base umpire Bill Miller. Video replay showed Ramirez's slide eluded the tag from second baseman Brock Holt and the call was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Lefty Wade Miley (10-9, 4.41 ERA) will try to build off his recent momentum. Miley won his last two starts while giving up three runs over 14 1/3 innings. Miley has a 3.55 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.
White Sox:Jose Quintana takes the mound Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT after winning his last start against the Angels with less than his best stuff but also with a rare showing of offensive support. He has never allowed a home run to any of the current Red Sox hitters..