The White Sox entered the season hoping their starters would eat innings and save their bullpen. Unfortunately for them, that hasn’t happened.
And thanks to a nightmarish and historic third inning Saturday, left-hander Manny Banuelos definitely didn’t in a 15-2 loss to the Red Sox.
After retiring the first eight Red Sox hitters, Banuelos ran into trouble with two outs in the third. Big trouble.
The Red Sox scored nine times and had 10 consecutive hits in the inning. Xander Bogaerts and Michael Chavis hit back-to-back home runs, and Eduardo Nunez added a two-run shot. The Red Sox sent 14 hitters to the plate, and
everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit and scored at least once during the inning.
‘‘The first two innings were great,’’ said Banuelos, who thought he might have been tipping his pitches. ‘‘All my pitches, I was commanding the ball very well. And the third inning, the first two outs were great. I didn’t get the chance to get the third out. It was just one of those days when things turn over quick.’’
Banuelos, who didn’t finish the third, became the first Sox pitcher to allow nine runs in an inning since Arnie Munoz on June 19, 2004, at Montreal. He also became the first Sox pitcher to give up 10 hits in an inning since at least 1974. The Red Sox, meanwhile, joined the 2010 Rockies and 1992 Blue Jays as the only teams to pick up 10 or more consecutive hits since at least 1974.
The Sox kept hoping Banuelos would get the third out so he could stay in the game and eat a couple of more innings. That didn’t happen.
‘‘You’ve heard me say, I talk to these guys about outs, not innings,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘He just ran out of outs, and that’s why we had to go and get him.’’
After beginning the season as a reliever, Banuelos had been a pleasant surprise in his first two starts, allowing two runs in 9 2/3 innings. For the first eight batters, it looked as though Banuelos could contribute some needed innings and another strong start.
Then he couldn’t escape the big inning.
‘‘Things happen,’’ Banuelos said. ‘‘That’s the first time it happened like that in my whole career. Just keep working hard. I’m just getting ready for my next outing. Can’t wait. Just work on things where I have to work. Tomorrow is going to be another day.’’
While what happened Saturday was extreme, it was another example of the Sox’ struggles to get length from their rotation. It also put more strain on their bullpen, which likely will see more new faces after right-handers Carson Fulmer and Jose Ruiz were optioned to Class AAA Charlotte following the game.
Entering the game, Sox starters were 8-12 with a 6.40 ERA and had thrown only 149 innings in 30 games. Injuries to left-hander Carlos Rodon and right-hander Lucas Giolito have been an issue, and the experiment with journeyman right-hander Ervin Santana failed. And right-hander Ivan Nova has an 8.33 ERA after being brought in to stabilize a staff that needed a reliable arm.
Right now, it’s clear the Sox need some kind of boost.
‘‘In terms of confidence, these guys have enough stuff to do it,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘We’ve seen them do it. It’s just a matter of trying to get them to consistently be able to effectively get through a ballgame.’’
Jose Abreu’s eighth-inning homer was the 153rd of his career, moving him past Carlos Lee for ninth place in Sox history.