David Ortiz hit a go-ahead two-run homer, and right-hander Clay Buchholz kept the White Sox lineup in check after Jose Abreu’s first-inning long ball in the Boston Red Sox’ 5-2 victory Wednesday before 14,383 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
Buchholz, who entered with a 6.51 ERA, allowed three hits and two runs while walking two and striking out six over seven innings. He did not allow a hit after the second inning.
“If it looked like we were getting steam, he snuffed it out,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team had a three-game winning streak halted.
Ortiz hit the first homer by a lefty ever allowed by Carlos Rodon, who made a quality start with three runs given up over six innings but fell to 1-4.
“That’s a Hall of Famer right there,” Rodon said. “I served up a cookie to him, and he hit it pretty deep. You have to tip your cap to him. He’s done it 509 times now, after watching it on TV.”
Ortiz homered after Rodon walked Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the fifth. Bogaerts drove in the Red Sox’ first run with a single in the third inning. Asked if he learned anything from his outing, the 23-year-old Rodon said, “Don’t throw a fastball down the middle to Big Papi.”
The Red Sox (16-11) added a run in the seventh and eighth innings against the White Sox bullpen.
“From Buchholz keeping the ball down and pitching well and getting good defense behind him, in combination with timely hitting, they had our number tonight,” right fielder Adam Eaton said.
The Sox, who lead the American League Central, fell to 19-9.
Abreu pulled a fastball on the inside corner for a 402-foot homer, his fourth, to left field with a man on base in the first. The homer extended Abreu’s hitting streak to eight games, and gave him 10 RBI during that span.
“It sounds better. His hands work better,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of the slugger’s resurgence after he batted .229 in April. “He was working on it, probably gave up a couple of at-bats [in Baltimore] trying to find it, knowing it might not look right. We could tell what he was trying to do.’’
John Danks, speaking for the first time since the Sox let him go Tuesday, said he understood the organization’s decision. He returned to his home in Nashville and hopes he can still catch on with another organization. He leaves with fond menories.
“I grew up there,” he said. “Showed up as a baby, I was 21 years old when I made my first start and left as a 31-year-old man. I got to play with a lot of awesome teammates that have become lifelong friends now.
“I certainly had a lot of good times, some tough times, some struggles but all in all I got to live a dream. Got to play a game, and yeah, I’m a very blessed man, no doubt.”
Rodon wrote Danks’ old jersey No. 50 in the dirt on the back of the pitcher’s mound.
“Johnny’s my boy, and I figured he’s watching maybe,’’ Rodon said. “I think Q [Jose Quintana] did it yesterday too, so a tribute to Johnny.’’
In center field the last two seasons, Adam Eaton had to cover ground for Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia in the corners. In right, he’s able do his thing in his neck of the woods, and he’s flourishing, leading all of baseball with 13 defensive runs saved.
Eaton likes to move around in right depending on the hitter and situation, so communicating with center fielder Austin Jackson is big, he said Wednesday.
“Sometimes I have a hunch and move five or six maybe to counter how the hitter may be hitting,’’ Eaton said. “I move more than what Avisail or Melky may move. And the same thing with AJ. He moves a lot like I do, we’re always playing counts in situations.
“If AJ moves, I’ll move as well. We communicate, ‘you have my back, I can be more aggressive in front’ or ‘I have your back in the gap’ and you can be more aggressive to your right or left.’’
Constant communication has made this outfield better, Eaton said.
“At some points last year it was tough with the whole outfield dynamic, and this year we’ve gelled together.’’
Garcia still out
Avisail Garcia, who had hoped to play Wednesday, missed his fourth straight game with a tender right hamstring. “There’s still something in there,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.