BOSTON (AP) There's no other ballpark in the majors where Luis Robert Jr.'s 311-foot line drive would have been a home run.
Heck, it might not have even gotten high enough to clear Fenway Park's 37-foot Green Monster in left.
But the White Sox slugger's curving liner found the front row of the right field seats beyond Fenway's Pesky Pole in the ninth inning of a scoreless game on Saturday to give Chicago a 1-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
“It was hilarious because he’s got (38) home runs and all that, and then he hits one 311,” said Dylan Cease, who struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings to surpass 200 strikeouts for the third straight season. “Baseball is funny like that sometimes.”
Playing in a cold rain, with the wind blowing in at a steady 10 mph, Cease and Boston starter Nick Pivetta matched scoreless innings before both departed after seven. Aaron Bummer (5-5) pitched the eighth for Chicago, walking the first two batters before retiring the heart of the Boston order to escape.
Bryan Shaw got the last three outs for his third save, striking out Ceddanne Rafaela with runners on first and second to end it.
Josh Winckowski (4-3) struck out three in two innings after relieving Pivetta, allowing two hits, including the curling line drive that found the first row of seats - just beyond the foul pole that is 302 feet from home plate. Robert called the foul pole “the best,” saying it made up for a couple of much longer drives in Baltimore last month that stayed in play.
“It’s gotten us a few times, but today it helped us,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “This is a really nice place to play, and it’s got so many different things going on in the ballpark that it’s really cool. And that’s one of them today. Today, it helped us.”
Masataka Yoshida had three hits for Boston but grounded out to end the eighth with runners on first and second. Boston stranded 10 runners - going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
The last-place Red Sox are playing for a chance to finish above .500 and to catch the rival Yankees and avoid finishing last in the AL East for the third time in four seasons. Chicago, which is all-but locked into fourth place in the AL Central, snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the fourth time in 12 games.
Pivetta held the White Sox hitless until Andrew Benintendi singled to lead off the fourth inning. In all, the Red Sox right-hander allowed three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Cease also pitched seven scoreless, allowing six hits for his 17th career double-digit strikeout game, and his fourth this season.
The 11 strikeouts left the Chicago righty with 207 for the season. He is the third White Sox pitcher to top 200 for three straight seasons, joining Chris Sale, who did it four times from 2013-16, and Hall of Famer Ed Walsh (1910-12).
Red Sox: Reinstated closer Kenley Jansen from the COVID-19 injured list and optioned RHP Zack Weiss to Triple-A Worcester.
Finale of the three-game series. RHP Mike Clevinger (8-8) will face Boston RHP Kutter Crawford (6-7).
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