CHICAGO -- It may have been the ultimate in ugly wins, but the Red Sox, happy to be back at .500, were in no position to refuse it.
The Sox beat back the Chicago Cubs in a comedy of errors Sunday, 7-4, overcoming a litany of fundamental missteps and errors to win their second in a row and fourth in their six-game interleague road trip.
The game featured Dustin Pedroia in two near-collisions with teammates, each resulting in runs for the Cubs. He failed to secure a pop-up in shallow right in the third as Darnell McDonald raced in from right field. Then, in the comic sixth, both he and shortstop Mike Aviles covered the second-base bag at once, spoiling what could have been a double play.
Still, the Sox erupted for three runs in the seventh, with some help from the Cubs and the aid of a nicely excecuted suicide squeeze from Daniel Nava.
Franklin Morales was brilliant in his first start in more than three years, allowing two earned runs in five innings while fanning nine and walking no one.
Alfredo Aceves made things interesting by loading the bases with no outs in the ninth, but the Cubs could only score one run from it on a David DeJesus sacrifice fly. Boston's bullpen allowed just one other unearned run over the previous three innings.
David Ortiz had two RBI, the second of which came on his 16th homer of the season. Ryan Kalish, back in the big leagues for the first time since 2010, contributed a run-scoring singles.
Naturally, the game was not without its share of bad news for the Red Sox as both Scott Podsednik (left groin strain) and Kevin Youkilis left the game with injuries.
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.