BOSTON -- The Red Sox haven't been right since a seven-game road trip ended with an early-morning arrival in Boston on Monday. Some of that could be because of the drain of travel and a doubleheader on Sunday, and some of that could be a bit of reality setting in.
The American League's hottest team in May was bound to find a funk some time, and that holds true on an individual level, too -- like for Alfredo Aceves on Tuesday and Matt Albers on Wednesday.
Albers allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh and the White Sox recovered after falling behind early in a 7-4 Red Sox loss Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park. Boston lost four consecutive games, and six in a row against the White Sox dating back to last season.
"I think a day off tomorrow is well needed for us," said Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, who went six innings and allowed four runs in a no-decision. "I think playing a doubleheader on Sunday and getting home at 4 in the morning really tired us out. I'm not going to make excuses for how we played these last few games, but it could be a factor in it."
Boston has two scheduled off-days in the next five days: Thursday and Monday. Wakefield wasn't the only one to point to the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Tigers on Sunday, the first loss in this stretch of four, as precipitating what's followed.
"I don't think it's strange, this is a lot of games in a row," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, referring to a stretch where Boston was to play 20 games in as many days, but did not because of two rainouts. "I think Detroit kind of killed us for real as far as that's concerned. We got an off-day tomorrow and we're going to come back strong."
Saltalamacchia's two-run single off Gavin Floyd snapped his 0-for-11 stretch and built Boston's lead to 3-0 in the second inning. Boston had five hits in the inning, and it drove Floyd's pitch count to 39. Floyd recovered, though, and he needed just a combined 15 pitches the next two innings. He allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings.
"The pitchers continue to throw the ball pretty good," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Gavin turned it around and pitched a [heck] of a ballgame. ... Like I always say, to win this thing against these people here, you have to put everything together and play good. You can't make mistakes against them."
It was a mistake by second-base umpire Marty Foster, in the Red Sox's eyes, that helped the White Sox tie the game at 3 in the fifth inning.
With runners on the corners and one out, Boston guessed right and pitched out on Juan Pierre, who was running from first. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia ran Pierre back to the bag and threw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who quickly returned the throw to Pedroia as Pierre tried to run by him. Pedroia, standing on the inside of Pierre and the baseline, spun his arm to the left and believed he caught Pierre on the back.
Pedroia was livid when Foster called Pierre safe, and the Red Sox didn't feel that was all that was wrong. They were unhappy no appeal was made, too.
"Those guys have to be held responsible for that, because I tagged Juan right in the back," Pedroia said. "So if he doesn't want to ask for help, that's unfortunate, because they got two runs out of it, [and] it was a big part of the game.
"I asked [Foster] to ask everybody, and he said, 'That's enough or I'm going to throw you out of the game.' So I said, 'OK.'"
Manager Terry Francona said his understanding was that "on angle calls, you're allowed to get help." Wakefield, who said he had a good view of the play and believed Pierre was out, felt the play might have been the difference in the final outcome.
"It's huge," said Wakefield. "It cost us two runs and pretty much probably cost us the game."
After six innings, the game was tied at 4. Floyd and Wakefield each allowed a run in the sixth, Boston's coming on David Ortiz's opposite-field homer. He has 13 on the season, two in as many days and a .400 average in his last 14 games.
Wakefield was done after six innings and a season-high 98 pitches, and Chicago quickly took the lead against the first reliever it saw. Albers in the seventh allowed three straight one-out singles, the last of which was Paul Konerko's RBI single through the left side.
So effective for the first two months of the season, Albers isn't going to be perfect every time out. The same can be said of Aceves, the spot starter who took Tuesday's loss.
"The balls found the hole," Albers said. "I felt good out there, made pitches."
The game slipped away in the ninth on a two-run homer from Konerko off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who hadn't pitched since the first game Sunday in Detroit, the last time Boston won.