BOSTON -- The good news for the Red Sox? Their offense finally got going in their Wednesday night series finale with the Cubs.
The bad news? So did Chicago's.
After getting two nights of excellent pitching but failing to muster the offensive support in order to win back-to-back low-scoring affairs, Red Sox arms unraveled early and continuously through their 16-9 series-finale loss to the Cubs.
Just eight pitches into his start, Brandon Workman allowed a two-run homer to Justin Ruggiano that ricocheted off the AAA sign over the Wall. A walk and a steal by Anthony Rizzo was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Starlin Castro to put the recently-failing Red Sox bats in a daunting 3-0 hole after one inning.
Two clean innings seemed to show that Workman had resolved his early-game issues, but in the fourth he came apart again. He walked leadoff man Welington Castillo and allowed another two-run bomb to third baseman Mike Olt. Darwin Barney scored to make it 6-1 after tripling off the Wall -- with an assist from a misplay by rookie Sox center fielder Mookie Betts -- and coming home on Chris Coghlan's sacrifice fly.
Felix Doubront relieved Workman to start the fifth inning, but he didn't fare much better. Three batters into his night the Cubs got their third two-run shot of the game off the bat of Castillo, a deep blast to straightaway center.
The Cubs onslaught wasn't near finished. In the sixth inning Burke Badenhop inherited runners on first and third and allowed a run when Ruggiano singled. Chicago fans in attendance at a sold-out Fenway Park were then treated to their fourth Cubs homer of the game when Nate Schierholtz welcomed Edward Mujica with a first-pitch homer to the stands in the right field corner.
The march of low-leverage relievers continued in the ninth when Craig Breslow entered and allowed two runs on four hits.
Not even Junichi Tazawa was spared. In his team-high 39th appearance of the season, he needed only one out to finish the ninth inning, but he allowed three hits and four runs (of which two were his responsibility) before he ended the six-run frame.
Boston's offense put up its share of challenges, amassing 13 hits. Yet even in scoring six runs -- they hadn't scored more than two in their last seven home games -- Sox hitters left myriad opportunities on the base paths.
They stranded 14 men in all, and in the sixth inning they had runners on second and third with no outs but were retired without a run.
Betts sent Fenway into a brief frenzy, smashing his first MLB homer into the last row of the Monster seats, a two-run job in the fifth inning, to cut Chicago's lead to 8-5.
The Sox put together a short-lived ninth-inning rally when Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI double to score Betts, who led off the inning with a single. Daniel Nava, hitting for David Ortiz, then hit a two-run single, giving Boston the last of its runs.
Jonny Gomes, playing in his first game of the series as the Red Sox try to find time for their multiple outfielders, had an RBI single in the fourth inning and a sac fly to score the team's first run in the third.
Ortiz posted two ground-rule doubles, scored a run, and drove one in on a sac fly.
Brock Holt (three), Pedroia (three), Mike Napoli (two) and Betts (two) all had multiple hits. Napoli (two walks) and Pedroia (one walk) both reached base a team-high four times.
Xander Bogaerts' struggles continued Wednesday as he went 0-for-4 with a walk. He is now hitless in his last 21 at-bats and his season average has dipped to .241.