BOSTON -- Alfredo Aceves had gone 48 straight Major League appearances without knowing what it felt like to have the "L" next to his name in the box score. But that run ended decisively on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox's spot starter faltered early and suffered a 10-7 loss to the White Sox.
"Well, it was a bad day for me, obviously," said Aceves. "It's one of those games where you feel really good and things don't happen. You just have to swallow and prepare myself for the next start."
There's no telling at the moment when that next start will be. Not only do the Red Sox have two off-days coming up within the next week, but John Lackey -- the pitcher Aceves had been filling in for in the rotation -- will return on Sunday.
In his first two starts for the Red Sox, Aceves had gone 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA.
"I didn't think he executed like he has -- certainly -- the last couple of outings," said manager Terry Francona. "He wasn't quite as sharp as he's been."
And with that lack of sharpness, Aceves suffered his first loss since June 7, 2009, when he was with the Yankees. He had won his last 12 decisions.
After reeling off 15 wins in 17 games, Boston has lost three in a row and fell to second place in the American League East following the Yankees' 10-3 win vs. the A's.
"We faced good pitching the last game of the doubleheader in Detroit. You're not going to score 10 runs every game," said designated hitter David Ortiz. "Things happen. All we can do is regroup and come back tomorrow and try to score some runs for our pitchers."
Aceves went five-plus innings, allowing eight hits and eight runs, six of which were earned. He walked three and struck out one.
"It was a little bit of everything," said Aceves. "It was a little bit of sometimes mistakes, sometimes not luck. Sometimes they swing at good pitches and it was luck for them. There's nothing you can do."
A leadoff walk to Paul Konerko opened the floodgates in a four-run second inning. Shortstop Jed Lowrie also made a costly error in that frame.
"There were some balls that found holes," Francona said. "The two walks and us not finishing the ground ball to short certainly didn't help."
While Aceves had a hard time stopping the bleeding from the mound, Philip Humber smoothly held down the Boston bats.
A home run by Jason Varitek marked Boston's only damage over the first seven innings.
"They're really good, man -- especially in this ballpark," said Humber of the Red Sox. "Even though we scored 10 runs, no lead is safe against that lineup."
Down 10-1, the Red Sox didn't quit.
They scored four in the eighth -- the big blow a three-run blast over the Green Monster by Ortiz.
"The game's not over until it's over, so you've got to keep on playing," Ortiz said.
Back came the Sox again in the ninth, as Josh Reddick got a run home on a sacrifice fly and Drew Sutton cranked an RBI double to right.
Suddenly, the Red Sox had Adrian Gonzalez at the plate with Kevin Youkilis looming on deck. But Chris Sale came on and struck out Gonzalez on three pitches to end it.
"You obviously don't want to give them any more momentum," Sale said. "Our plan was to go out there and attack, throwing strikes, and hey, it worked out for the best this time."
The Red Sox will try to avoid a sweep on Wednesday afternoon.
"It's not going to help us in the standings, but we made them use a couple of pitchers," Francona said. "Maybe it will help us tomorrow."