BOSTON (AP) — Luis Robert hit a two-run homer against the Green Monster and Vince Velasquez snapped a rough stretch of road by throwing five solid innings to lead the Chicago White Sox past the struggling Boston Red Sox 4- 2 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Tim Anderson had three singles, and Reese McGuire and Jose Abreu each contributed a sacrificial fly for defending champions AL Central (12-13), who moved closer to .500 after an eight-game losing streak the month latest.
“We were playing. I didn’t blame the effort – the execution just wasn’t great at times,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said of his team’s turnaround. “Now we’re down to one. We’ve got a lot of wins to go.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. had an RBI double for Boston (10-17), which lost 12 of 16.
“We have to stick together and start having a lot of good bats collectively,” Bradley said. “It has been certain places, certain times. … Our confidence is unshakeable. It’s early and definitely not the time to panic or anything like that.
After going 0-7 with a 13.50 ERA in his last seven road starts, the 29-year-old Velasquez (2-2) limited Boston’s sleepy offense to three hits and one. point.
“If you stay humble in the game, things will change for you,” Velasquez said, speaking softly to his locker. “You’re in a big crowd, the fans are going to get erratic. I think that slows the tempo down a bit and breathes through that.
Liam Hendricks struck out three batters in the ninth for his eighth save.
Robert’s shot on Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) cleared the seats and completely left Fenway Park in the third inning, giving the White Sox a 3-0 lead after Abreu’s sacrificial volley.
“Give the guy credit,” La Russa said of Velasquez. “He knows what he is up against. Eovaldi throws the ball as well as anyone in baseball.
Boston second baseman Trevor Story went 1 for 4 with a groundout after striking out in all four plate appearances when the Red Sox were shut out on six hits by the Angels 8-0 on Thursday.
Eovaldi allowed three runs and six hits in five innings, striking out four on three walks. He had allowed just two runs in his previous two starts, compiling 14 strikeouts.
White Sox: Placed OF Andrew Vaughn on the injured reserve Thursday with a bruised right wrist. INF Danny Mendick has been recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.
Red Sox: Put CF Kiké Hernández and left-handed starter Rich Hill on the COVID-19 injured list ahead of the game. CF Jarren Duran promoted and RHP selected John Schreiber of Triple-A Worcester to fill the roster spots.
Bradley kicked out AJ Pollock at home plate in the ninth when he tried to score on a fly ball to medium-deep right field.
FROM START TO CLEANUP
Duran, 25, kicked off after hitting .397 with Worcester. He went 1 for 4 with a triple and scored a run. In his second inning on defense, the speedy outfielder ran across the grass to pick up two large pieces of trash, then ran to the Red Sox bullpen to throw them away.
LACK OF OFFENSE
The Red Sox entered the majors 24th in points.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Cease (3-1, 2.48 ERA) is set to start Saturday after a stellar outing Monday when he struck out 11 while allowing just one hit in seven innings against the Angels.
Red Sox: Struggling right-hander Nick Pivetta (0-4, 7.84) hasn’t made it past the fifth inning of his last four starts, giving up 14 combined runs.
Sign up for Red Sox updates⚾
Get the latest news and analysis delivered to your inbox during baseball season.