The Red Sox and White Sox are underway in Chicago as Boston looks to maintain the momentum they gained from their sweep of the Minnesota Twins.
The Sox will have to deal with rather tougher pitching than they encountered in Minnesota, but if the offense can stay alive, then hopefully the weaknesses of the bullpen and early-year rotation can be overcome.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it happens at U.S. Cellular Field.
Red Sox 10, White Sox 3, Final -- Junichi Tazawa closes the game out in style, striking out both Adam Dunn and Brent Lillibridge with some deceptive off-speed pitches to end the game. A convincing outing from the young Japanese import, who could really bring some serious help to the pen.
Red Sox 10, White Sox 3, Mid 9th -- The Sox get back into double digits as Mike Aviles launches a double all the way to the wall in left-center. With Ryan Sweeney finding the hole between second and third with a ground ball, and the throw to the plate getting away from Pierzynski, Boston had its tenth run of the night.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, End 8th -- An error from Kevin Youkilis puts one man on from the beginning of the inning, and Tazawa hits Gordon Beckham in a bad place to put runners on first and second, but Tazawa still avoids damage, striking out Dayon Viciedo in the process. Three outs to go for a 4-game winning streak.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, Mid 8th -- Kevin Youkilis responds with an infield single of his own, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia fails to go deep for a third time on the night, instead grounding into a double play to stop any thoughts of a sustained attack in their tracks.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, End 7th -- Junichi Tazawa enters the game and, despite giving up a pair of hits, shows some good stuff that might interest the Red Sox in future moments that have been entrusted to the likes of, say, Justin Thomas.
Sitting in the low 90s with his fastball, with good movement on both his curve and change, Tazawa managed to strike out Alejandro De Aza with a curveball that dropped nicely into the zone for strike three. Alexei Ramirez got some decent contact, but hit it directly to Kevin Youkilis, who snagged the ball for the out. Adam Dunn broke up the streak with an infield single that a shifted Mike Aviles did a good job just to get to, and Paul Konerko jumped on the first pitch he saw for a single, but throwing almost exclusively changeups to A.J. Pierzynski, Tazawa was able to record the third out without any real damage.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, Mid 7th -- Another quiet inning for the Boston offense, which has made a habit of quieting down after some ridiculous early starts.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, End 6th -- Felix Doubront reaches 100 pitches and gives up a 1-out single to Dayan Viciedo, who earlier took him deep, but manages to get out of the inning without any more trouble. It seems like Felix has dodged the bullet tonight, and will end his day with another solid outing, still the most consistent starter on the team.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, Mid 6th -- Will Ohman enters the game for the beleaguered Phil Humber and immediately gives up a base hit to Marlon Byrd. A quick double play ball off the bat of Mike Aviles ends the threat, however, and Ohman faces just three batters in the inning.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, End 5th -- A much-needed short inning for Felix Doubront, who retires the side on just 8 pitches. He'll likely be back out for the sixth to try and keep the bullpen at bay for as long as possible.
Red Sox 9, White Sox 3, Mid 5th -- Saltasaurus strikes again! This time going to the opposite field, Jarrod Saltalamacchia brings two more runs in for the Sox by lifting a fly ball into the stands in left-center for bomb number two.
Red Sox 7, White Sox 3, End 4th -- A leadoff homer for Dayan Viciedo brings the White Sox closer in the fourth. You can just feel this game slipping away from Felix Doubront now. He's unable to bring the ball in against lefties, and while he's still got the swing-and-miss stuff, it's not consistent tonight.
Red Sox 7, White Sox 2, Mid 4th -- Some solid contact for Mike Aviles and Dustin Pedroia, but they both hit it right at someone, and Humber has an easy fourth.
Red Sox 7, White Sox 2, End 3rd -- More struggles for Doubront who, like Buchholz last night, seems to be hanging on by a thread. Again losing control, this time with one out, Doubront walked Alexei Ramirez and then hit Adam Dunn in the thigh to put men on first and second. A fly ball to Ryan Sweeney stayed in the park, leaving the White Sox with just one out to do some damage, but A.J. Pierzynski managed to single through the infield into left for the RBI before the inning ended.
Hopefully Doubront either has the lasting power to keep the White Sox from putting up some big numbers, or will run his pitch count high enough that he'll be out before they really get to him.
Red Sox 7, White Sox 1, Mid 3rd -- The bottom of the lineup was kind to Humber in the 2nd. The top was very, very cruel in the third. Ryan Sweeney started the attack with his tenth double of the year on a line drive to right that hopped up and into the seats. Humber would get lucky when Dustin Pedroia's line drive found Alexei Ramirez' glove at short, but then lost control, walking Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz to get to Kevin Youkilis.
It's been a tough season for Kevin Youkilis so far, to be sure, but ever since the 0-for-12 start things have been getting better, and tonight, they got a lot better. Trying to go away from Youkilis, Humber had a fastball tail back over the plate, belt-high. In other words, perfect. Youkilis got all of it, hitting it to the opposite field. As Hawk Harrelson might say, "you can put it on the board!"
The grand slam made it 6-1, and just three pitches later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia made it 7-1 on a hanging curveball. With seven runs in just three innings, Humber is about as far from perfect as a pitcher can possibly be today.
Red Sox 2, White Sox 1, End 2nd -- If there's one thing that Felix Doubront is not, it's efficient. Even with some fine defensive help from Mike Aviles, who made a running grab on a pop-up well into the outfield, and Ryan Sweeney, who went into a dive to come up with a sinking liner to right, the lefty's 1-2-3 inning cost him another 16 pitches.
Red Sox 2, White Sox 1, Mid 2nd -- Facing the weaker part of the Red Sox' lineup, Phil Humber settled down for a 1-2-3 inning that had a few balls cued into the outfield on a line, but resulted in no trouble at all.
Red Sox 2, White Sox 1, End 1st -- After a quick start saw Felix Doubront retire the first two batters he faced with seven pitches and two ground balls, some two-out wildness cost the starter a run and a lot of wear on his arm.
The trouble began with Adam Dunn. After swinging through two pitches to fall behind 1-2, the patient slugger took the next three pitches for the walk. Taking second on a wild pitch, Dunn would score when Paul Konerko lifted a long fly ball to center field that Marlon Byrd misplayed into a double. While the scoring would stop there, Doubront would surrender another walk and see his pitch count rise to nearly 30 before the inning ended.
If there's one thing the Sox don't want tonight, it's a game with lots of innings from the bullpen.
Red Sox 2, White Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Phil Humber has been far from perfect today. After walking Mike Aviles to start the game, Humber found himself the victim of an infield single from Dustin Pedroia that put runners at the corners with just one out. Adrian Gonzalez went to the opposite field, dropping a double down the left field line to score Aviles, and David Ortiz made it 2-0 with another liner to left.
It's amazing how differently things have gone in the first inning the last few days for the Red Sox. From being completely demolished in it, to now repaying the favor to opposing pitchers, it's a complete 180 which has resulted in three big wins for Boston.