X hail! Sox walk off thanks to #ASGWorthy Bogaerts
By Aaron Leibowitz and Deesha Thosar
BOSTON -- Needing one more hero in a game where they'd already called on several, the Red Sox had just the man they wanted at the plate with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning.
And as he has done repeatedly this season, Xander Bogaerts delivered. The Boston shortstop, who leads American League shortstops in the most recent round of All-Star balloting, hit a walk-off single to score Mookie Betts as the Red Sox won a back-and-forth affair, 8-7. They avoided a four-game sweep against the White Sox at Fenway Park on Thursday.
With men on first and second and one out, Bogaerts lined a 1-2 pitch into right-center field off Matt Purke to ignite a celebration.
"I was definitely taking a first strike," Bogaerts said. "He wasn't commanding his pitches very well. I just wanted to be patient."
The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 10th, but Boston closer Craig Kimbrel wriggled out of it with a popout and two strikeouts in his second inning of work.
"I think after losing the first three games to these guys, we knew coming into today that we needed to win, especially going into this [six-game] road trip," Kimbrel said. "We're definitely gonna have a happy flight."
Jose Abreu smashed a go-ahead three-run homer off Junichi Tazawa to give the White Sox a 7-5 edge in the seventh, but the Red Sox responded with a run apiece in the seventh and eighth frames to tie the game.
Boston, which closed out a 4-6 homestand, also trailed 4-1 and took a 5-4 lead with four runs in the sixth.
Chicago fell to 8-12 in June and has dropped 27 of its last 40 games after a hot start.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED X-cellent: Bogaerts burnished his already impressive All-Star résumé with two hits, including the game-winner. He had an infield single during the Red Sox's seventh-inning rally before connecting with Purke's 1-2 fastball to end the game. His American League-leading batting average actually dropped to a "mere" .351, and the RBI was his 50th in 71 games. Bogaerts holds a healthy lead over Kansas City's Alcides Escobar in the race to be the American League's starting shortstop in San Diego next month and has received the fourth-most total votes of any AL player. He is on pace to become the first American League shorststop with 100 RBIs since Carlos Guillen had 102 in 2007.
The Sandy man can: With Boston trailing 4-3 and runners on the corners in the sixth, catcher Sandy Leon pinch-hit for Christian Vazquez and lined a single up the middle off right-hander Matt Albers to tie the game. It was the third of four Red Sox runs in the inning as they grabbed a short-lived 5-4 lead.
Leon, a career .216 hitter entering the day, is now 11-for-21 (.524) on the year.
"The guy that was on the mound, left-handers have handled him fairly well, better than right-handers," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We've scuffled offensively as a team over the last [several] days. Felt like that was an opportunity."
Kimbrel escapes: Kimbrel gave up two walks and a single in the 10th as the White Sox loaded the bases with no outs. But the right-hander, who has struggled in his career in non-save situations, got J.B. Shuck to pop out before he struck out Tim Anderson and Adam Eaton to end the inning.
"Our bullpen, we've been pitching a lot, and I felt like after only throwing eight pitches [in the ninth] I needed to go back out and do a little bit more work," Kimbrel said. "I'm sure a lot of people were second guessing that after the bases loaded with nobody out, but it was good to be able to get through it and help the team win."
Young hamstrung: Red Sox left fielder Chris Young is headed to the disabled list after he was carried off the field in the second inning with a strained right hamstring. Young hit a laser off the Green Monster and was running hard around first when he grabbed his leg and crawled back to the bag. He was replaced by Ryan LaMarre, who was later replaced by Travis Shaw. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Had Chicago won, it would have been the first time the White Sox swept the Red Sox in a four-game series in Boston since 1927.
Thursday was just the fourth time that Kimbrel has pitched two complete innings, including once in the postseason. The last time he did it was April 21, 2011.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Carlos Rodon (2-6, 4.16 ERA) starts the first game of a six-game homestand as the White Sox take on the Blue Jays at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday. Chicago has lost eight of Rodon's last nine starts, but the southpaw pitched well against the Indians his last time out, striking out a season-high eight batters over 6 1/3 innings.
Red Sox: The Red Sox kick off a six-game road trip Friday with ace David Price on the mound against the American League-best Rangers. Price will look to build on his sharpest performance of the year, an eight-inning, one-run effort against the Mariners. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. ET.