BOSTON Getting three outs in an inning is difficult enough. When a team is forced to get six outs, its almost a guarantee the opponent is going to put runs on the scoreboard.
Such was the case in the top of the fifth inning in the Red Sox 7-4 loss Wednesday afternoon, completing the White Sox three-game sweep at Fenway Park.
The White Sox entered their half of the inning trailing the Red Sox, 3-1. By the time the inning was over, six batters had gone to the plate and Bostons two-run advantage was wiped out.
Ramon Castro, the White Sox No. 8 hitter, led off with a walk and advanced to second when Dustin Pedroia couldnt handle Gordon Beckhams pop-up into shallow right field, racing toward the foul line.
Hes on a dead run, said manager Terry Francona. Thats a tough play, a lot tougher play than you think. In that corner, that triangle. If he makes that play, thats a lot more difficult than it looks.
Beckham was erased on Juan Pierres fielders choice, as shortstop Jed Lowrie and Pedroia were unable to turn a double play. With Alexi Ramirez batting, Pierre broke for second. Caught in a rundown, it appeared Pedroia slapped a tag on Pierres back. Second base umpire Marty Foster, though, signaled safe, drawing the ire of Pedroia, Francona, and Wakefield, all to no avail.
Go ask the umpire, man, Pedroia said. Im not going to talk for him. Those guys got to be held responsible for that because I tagged Juan right in the back. So if he doesnt want to ask for help, thats unfortunate because they got two runs out of it and it was a big part of the game.
I asked him to ask everybody and he said, Thats enough or Im going to throw you out of the game. I said OK. And then Tito talked to him. So I dont know.
I didn't ask Foster anything, Francona said. I just wanted to get it right. It was my opinion that you're allowed to do that. I know thats right. He wouldnt do it. Said it was his call. If thats the case, I wish hed have got it right.
For Wakefield, that play could have been the difference in the game.
Its huge, Wakefield said. It cost us two runs. Pretty much probably cost us the game.
Ramirez grounded out to Lowrie, scoring Castro with Chicagos first run of the inning. Carlos Quentins shot down the left field line scored Pierre, tying the game, before Paul Konerko flied out to right.
Wakefield threw 24 pitches in the inning, more than any of the previous innings 14 in the first, 10 in the second, 11 in the third, and 21 in the fourth. When a call doesnt go his teams way, he know knows he has to compose himself, return to the mound, and get his team out of the inning.
Tito calls a pitch-out there and we get the Pierre caught up in a rundown, Wakefield said. Thats a huge out for us. Unfortunately, the call didnt go our way there and now its second and third no outs. Try to minimize the damage as much as possible and I thought I was able to do that until two outs and they scored another run.
It happens once in a while. You try to compose yourself and get out of the inning as best you can. I had two outs there and given up one run. Unfortunately, Quentin hit a good pitch, double down the line and tied the game.
Each team scored single runs in the sixth, but Chicago put up a run in the seventh and two more in the ninth to complete the three-game sweep, handing the Red Sox their fourth straight loss.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen