Game Story: Wakefield's quest denied in 3-1 loss

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Game Story: Wakefield's quest denied in 3-1 loss

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- There's something about going for personal milestones at U.S. Cellular Field which doesn't bode well for Red Sox pitchers.

The last time the Red Sox were here, in September, Jon Lester was shelled in his attempt to win his 20th game of 2010. Friday night, Tim Wakefield was tripped up on his way to try for career win No. 200.

Wakefield allowed just one hit through the first five innings, but was nicked for a run in the sixth then yielded a two-run homer to A.J. Pierzynski in the seventh, resulting in a 3-1 setback to the Chicago White Sox.

The veteran knuckleballer got little offensive support from his teammates who managed just three hits off start Gavin Floyd and two Chicago relievers.

The lone Red Sox run came on a solo homer from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit his ninth home run -- and third in his last seven starts.

The only other hits for the Red Sox were a single from Drew Sutton in the second and an infield single by Marco Scutaro in the sixth.

Dustin Pedroia was hitless in four at-bats and saw his 25-game hitting streak snapped.

The loss was the third in the last five games for the Sox. In those three games, they have scored a total of five runs.

STAR OF THE GAME: A.J. Pierzynski
Pierzynski hammered a knuckleball for a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, snapping a 1-1 tie and providing the winning margin for the White Sox in a 3-1 victory.

That was the fifth homer allowed by Tim Wakefield in his last three starts.

HONORABLE MENTION: Gavin Floyd
Floyd went seven innings and allowed just a run on three hits. The victory improved Floyd to 6-0 lifetime against the Sox, the best start to a career for a pitcher against the Sox since Gustavo Chacin did it from 2005-2007.

In five of his seven innings, Floyd retired the Red Sox in order.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Tim Wakefield
Wakefield pitched well, and ordinarily, allowing three runs in seven innings means a victory for a Red Sox pitcher. But it was Wakefield's misfortune to make a mistake to Pierzynski on a night in which his teammates couldn't get anything done offensively.

TURNING POINT:
The Sox were leading 1-0 in the top of the sixth when they loaded the bases on an infield single, a fielder's choice and a walk.

But Kevin Youkilis left all three teammates stranded when he took a called third strike and the Sox didn't get another baserunner the rest of the way.
BY THE NUMBERS:
The White Sox are 11-1 in their last 12 meetings with the Red Sox.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"We're done. The Red Sox are done.'' Jarrod Saltalamacchia, after being told that the Sox had just lost back-to-back games for the first time in July.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.