The Red Sox won their fourth straight series Sunday, taking the rubber match from the Chicago Cubs 5-1 behind a strong start from Tim Wakefield.
With Alfredo Aceves throwing five innings of one-run ball Saturday, Tim Wakefield had a difficult act to follow, but didn't flinch at the challenge. Not only was the knuckleball dancing for the 44-year-old veteran, but it was dancing through the zone, allowing Wakefield to keep his pitch count low as the Cubs ground out over and over again. By the end of the fifth, the only reason Wakefield was over the minimum was because a knuckleball in the fifth managed to fool Jarrod Saltalamacchia as badly as it did Jeff Baker, allowing the Cubs to reach first base for only the second time.
While the Red Sox were not in the same form they were when they scored 15 runs on Friday, they did have Wakefield's back. After loading the bases with no outs in the fourth, the Sox put on an unusual display of situational hitting, bringing in both Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis home on sacrifice flies. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia leading off the sixth with his third homer of the year, the score was 3-0.
Wakefield finally ran into some trouble in the seventh inning, allowing a leadoff double to Starlin Castro, and then an RBI double with two outs to break up the shutout. That was all they would get though, as Wakefield was pulled for Daniel Bard, who struck out Alfonso Soriano to end the threat.
The Red Sox would add to their lead in the bottom of the frame thanks to a quick two-out rally that started on an infield single from Dustin Pedroia. Having lucked out on their first hit, the Red Sox took advantage. Adrian Gonzalez added a base hit of his own--his fourth of the night--setting up the RBI opportunity for Kevin Youkilis, who brought both baserunners in with a triple into the triangle in center field.
As it turned out, though, the extra runs would be entirely unnecessary. Daniel Bard erased some memories of an eight-run eighth on Saturday by turning in a 1-2-3 performance, and Jonathan Papelbon stranded Aramis Ramirez at second, striking out Carlos Pena to end the game.