BOSTON -- After the teams combined for five early runs, it looked as if a slugfest was brewing, but Boston starter Doug Fister found a groove and Chris Young backed the effort with two homers and five RBIs as the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep of the White Sox, 6-3, on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Red Sox pitching held the White Sox to just five hits over the final seven innings, helping the American League East leaders capture their sixth straight win and maintain a three-game lead over the Yankees. Striking out a season-high seven in 6 1/3 innings, Fister nailed down his second straight victory.
"Early on in the ballgame when he's trying to settle in, balls are going to be put in play," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The fact that they found some balls that found some holes, not real hard-hit balls, but once he was able to get through it, minimize the damage to a certain extent, he settled in and was in very good shape the rest of the way."
Chicago righty Mike Pelfrey got roughed up for six runs on eight hits, three of which were home runs, and was saddled with his fifth straight loss as the White Sox dropped their sixth straight game.
The Red Sox jumped to a 2-0 lead on a pair of first-inning home runs from Eduardo Nunez, his fourth since joining the Red Sox last week, and Young. But Chicago strung together four straight hits to start the second and tilted the lead in its favor, 3-2.
Young's double in the third drove in Andrew Benintendi to tie the game, and he followed that with a three-run blast in the fifth that put the game firmly in hand for Boston.
"They intentionally walk Benny to get to him and that ends up being the swing of the game, the three-run homer that just stayed fair," Farrell said.
"I had a lot of mistakes today, with the first inning, a couple of fastballs," Pelfrey said. "That's a good team over there. They put some good swings on it, obviously, and it ended up being a rough day."
After allowing a leadoff single in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel retired the final three White Sox to record his 27th save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Fister strikes down threat: With the game tied at 3 in the fifth, Chicago threatened with runners at first and third and two outs. Nicky Delmonico ran the count to 3-1 before swinging and missing at a breaking ball from Fister. The Red Sox starter then pushed an 89-mph fastball on the outside corner. Delmonico, thinking it was ball four, took a turn toward first base before home-plate umpire Dan Bellino rang up strike three to the delight of the Fenway crowd.
"He's a contact pitcher, even though today he recorded the number of strikeouts he did," Farrell said.
Young provides the pop: Having already homered and driven in a pair, Young stepped to the plate in the fifth with two outs and two on. On the second offering from Pelfrey, a 71-mph curveball, Young reached down and lifted one high down the left-field line, sneaking it on the right side of the foul pole for a three-run blast that gave Boston a 6-3 lead. Per Statcast™, the home run went 349 feet and left the bat with an exit velocity of 92.1 mph.
"You definitely feel better if you get the job done in that situation," Young said. "If you don't get the job done, you feel a little worse than you would. If somebody walks the guy ahead of you, you definitely want to get it done. The good thing about today is I was able to hit after Benny and hit in front of [Rafael Devers], who's swinging the bat well. So, in that situation, they kind of have to come at me, challenge me and allow me to be the guy to beat them. It was nice to be able to get it done."
"I knew Young had done a little damage against him in his previous two at-bats, but I still thought that matchup would give us the best chance," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He left the pitch not exactly where we wanted it, the attack for him was going to be a little different, but he ended up leaving something over the plate more than we wanted to. " More >
"I've been pulling a lot of balls foul lately. I feel like I'm squaring balls up and they're going foul. When I hit it, I thought it was going to hook foul like the rest of them." -- Young, on his first homer
"Always." -- Renteria, when asked if he was still smiling after the White Sox fell to 4-23 since July 4 and dropped to 3-19 since the All-Star break
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: After a Monday off-day, Derek Holland takes the mound Tuesday for a homestand opener against the Astros at 7:10 p.m. CT at Guaranteed Rate Field. Holland pitched in relief Saturday at Fenway Park, but threw only three pitches to one batter.
Red Sox: The Red Sox will enjoy an off-day Monday before beginning a two-game set against the Rays at Tropicana Field, where Chris Sale will be on the mound for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game. The southpaw has struck out 12 in each of his three starts against Tampa Bay this season.