BOSTON -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper made his disdain for walks quite clear earlier this weekend.
But before the team’s 10-game road tour of the American League East ends, Cooper may need to hammer home his “walks suck” mantra a few more times to the team’s younger pitchers.
Andre Rienzo issued four walks on Sunday afternoon in an abbreviated outing and the Boston Red Sox took advantage with five early runs off the rookie to send the White Sox to a 7-6 loss at Fenway Park. White Sox pitchers walked eight batters on Sunday and 19 over a three-game sweep by the Red Sox.
“We have some young guys who will have to learn while they’re here,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who was ejected in the fourth inning after a disputed play at third base. “Sometimes it doesn’t look pretty and you have to learn from it and keep going. That’s for us to keep preaching and making it get better.”
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Rienzo pitched around a first-inning walk of David Ortiz but wasn’t as lucky in the second.
After a leadoff single by Mike Carp, Rienzo put himself in a stressful spot with a walk of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Both men later scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-out single. Rienzo then walked Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia to set up Ortiz, who made it 4-0 with a two-run double to right.
Stephen Drew homered off Rienzo in third inning to put the Red Sox up 5-0.
“I put pressure on myself,” Rienzo said. “I make myself in bad position. The Red Sox enjoyed that … (The lesson is) big for me. I’m facing good guys and good teams, Boston, Detroit and Cleveland. All the teams I face, I hope I can get experience for my life.”
Fellow rookie Charlie Leesman quickly learned what trouble a leadoff walk to Ellsbury can cause.
After the Red Sox leadoff man drew a walk to start the fourth off Leesman,
who was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte earlier in the day, Ellsbury stole second base and advanced to third on a ground out.
Ellsbury then scored when third-base umpire Paul Nauert ruled that Conor Gillaspie didn’t catch Dustin Pedroia’s line drive. Gillaspie appeared to make the catch and lunged to double Ellsbury off third but lost possession. After Nauert ruled no catch, Gillaspie’s throw to first skipped away from Jeff Keppinger and Ellsbury scored to give the Red Sox a 6-4 lead.
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“I obviously think I caught it,” Gillaspie said. “I guess he said I didn’t control it. ... I was trying to double a guy off at third so when I went after I caught it and hit the ground, I kind of came up and it came out a little bit. Like I said, it’s obviously a tough play and a tough error for me. I can either do that or watch it go by me.”
The ejection, which preceded a David Ortiz RBI single to make it a three-run game, was Ventura’s third of the season and seventh of his career.
“He felt he didn’t control it all the way and I felt that he did and he was going for the second out,’’ Ventura said. “Obviously we didn’t agree.”
Leesman retired the next nine batters but then issued three straight walks with two outs, though he escaped unscathed.
“You put guys on against these guys you’re just asking for trouble,” Ventura said. “They can hit. They can work at bats. But when you’re putting them on base it becomes a long haul. They make you pay for it.”
The White Sox scored four times off Felix Doubront in the fourth inning
Keppinger drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Dayan Viciedo doubled in another run and Gillaspie singled in two more to cut Boston’s lead to 5-4.
The White Sox added a run in the fifth on a Paul Konerko RBI single to cut Boston’s lead to 7-5. But Tyler Flowers’ eighth-inning solo home run was as close as the White Sox would get.