Uehara, Sox fall to Cubs in the ninth, 2-1

Uehara, Sox fall to Cubs in the ninth, 2-1
July 1, 2014, 10:45 pm
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BOSTON -- Et tu, Koji?

Even the Red Sox's most reliable of stars got caught up in whatever it is that has weighed down the bulk of the team through two games since returning from a 10-game road trip.
 
With the score tied 1-1, Koji Uehara allowed back-to-back hits to start the ninth inning. A sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Luis Valbuena scored Anthony Rizzo from third to give the Cubs the game-winning run. 
 
Brock Holt did his best to start a two-out rally in the ninth but righty Hector Rondon retired Dustin Pedroia on a groundout to third to give Chicago their second consecutive win at Fenway Park, 2-1.
 
The Red Sox finished the game with eight hits and left 10 men on base. Opportunities were there, but they failed to convert on a couple of prime chances in the second and fifth innings. 
 
In the second, following a leadoff walk by Mike Napoli, AJ Pierzynski tried to stretch a wall-ball single into a double and was thrown out easily. Even after running into the first out, the Sox had a good chance to get on the board with Napoli on third and just one out. But Xander Bogaerts struck out, and Stephen Drew was picked off of first immediately after walking to end the inning.
 
In the fifth, after plating one run with two outs, Napoli left the bases loaded with a fielder's choice groundout to the shortstop.
 
Though the offense -- which nearly got no-hit by Jake Arrieta on Monday -- was shut down again by the Cubs pitching staff, Clay Buchholz was a bright spot, working through 6.1 strong innings for the Sox. 
 
Riding the momentum built in his last start against the Mariners, Buchholz allowed five hits, hit two batters, struck out two and allowed just one earned run in the sixth inning. 
 
After five dominant frames in which he faced just one batter over the minimum, the sixth is when the Cubs started to find their timing at the plate. Eight hitter Justin Ruggiano led off with a double to the base of the scoreboard in left, and Darwin Barney followed that up with a single on an 0-2 curve.
 
The next hitter, Chris Coghlan, hit a hot-shot ground ball that deflected off the glove of Dustin Pedroia and into Drew's for a fielder's choice putout, but Ruggiano scored from third to tie the game at one. 
 
Buchholz only escaped the inning when a line drive off the bat of Rizzo was hit right at Napoli, who turned it into an easy unassisted double play by simply stepping on the first base bag. 
 
Buchholz came out for the seventh inning with 85 pitches under his belt -- nine more than it took him to get through 7.1 innings in Seattle -- and allowed two base runners of the first three hitters he faced. His 100th and final pitch of the night hit Welington Castillo to put runners on first and third with one out. 
 
Andrew Miller entered and promptly struck out the only two hitters he saw to keep the game tied. 
 
Though the Red Sox were not in danger of getting no-hit as they were on the previous night -- Pierzynski's hit the first of his two singles in the second inning -- they did not get on the board until the fifth. 
 
With two outs, Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled to the Wall in left and came around to score after consecutive singles by Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia. 
 
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson matched Buchholz just about pitch for pitch. He finished his six-inning outing with six hits, four walks (one intentional to Pierzynski in the fourth) and three strikeouts.