BOSTON -- Even if Pedro Hernandez threw a perfect game or struck out 21 Red Sox hitters during his Major League debut Wednesday night at Fenway Park, the southpaw was returning to Triple-A Charlotte after the game.
Hernandez did pick up two strikeouts, retrieving the baseball after the first one, but otherwise he was far from perfect in a 10-1 Red Sox victory before 37,367.
The Red Sox (47-45) knocked out 12 hits and scored eight runs in four-plus innings against Hernandez (0-1), who took the rotation spot for Gavin Floyd, who has right elbow tendinitis. But it was Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez who combined for seven of those hits, while Ross and Gonzalez drove in all eight.
Ross launched a three-run homer down the left-field line and over the Green Monster to break a 1-1 tie in the fourth. He added another three-run blast over the Monster in left-center during a four-run fourth.
"I got to give him credit for being a good batter," said Hernandez, through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "It's one of those, 'I felt like I threw him a good pitch,' and that's what he did. Just one of those where he got it out of the park."
"Cody Ross had a big night there," said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, whose 2,000th career game for the franchise was less than memorable. "He got a couple pitches to hit and didn't miss them and two three-run homers is big. It went sideways quick, but their guy threw well."
Felix Doubront (10-4) gave up just one run on four hits over six innings. Following a 14-minute rain delay, the White Sox (50-41) knocked out three hits in the first inning but scored only once, on Konerko's single to right.
"Even if they only might have scored three, four or five, he was pretty tough," continued Konerko on Doubront. "It wasn't a heartbreaker. It's just crumple it up, throw it out and see if we can get tomorrow's for the split."
With his first pitch to Ellsbury, Hernandez became the 10th White Sox starting pitcher of the 2012 season. He also happened to be the 10th rookie hurler on the White Sox roster this year, the 12th rookie overall to appear on the 25-man and the seventh to do so with no previous Major League experience.
All of those facts didn't add up in favor of the White Sox, who slipped to 3-3 on this 10-game road trip to start the season's second half and watched their American League Central lead return to 2 1/2 games over the Tigers and three over the Indians.
Gonzalez added a run-scoring single in the first and an opposite-field homer after Ross in the fourth. But Ross did most of the damage.
"It's just one of those nights where you feel like every time you come up there was runners in scoring position that had an opportunity to score," said Ross, who made his first start of the season in the three-hole and produced his 10th career multi-homer game.
"He made them pay, and did a great job," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "With two left-handers in front of him and two behind him, he's kind of sitting in a rocking chair and it didn't seem like pitches were working as well against him as they were against left-handers. It was kind of interesting."
This setback marked the first time a White Sox game was decided by more than four runs since July 3, when the South Siders pummeled the Rangers in a 19-2 victory. Boston produced a sufficient enough lead by the bottom of the sixth inning that Jordan Danks, Eduardo Escobar and Tyler Flowers were moved off the bench and into the game.
Left-handed reliever Donnie Veal gets the call from Triple-A Charlotte prior to Thursday's series finale in Boston, giving the White Sox seven in the bullpen and Dylan Axelrod as the swing man. The Hernandez experiment didn't work as well as Jose Quintana, who will start Thursday, or even Axelrod, but the White Sox will put this game behind them and continue to play the hand they were dealt as they work through injuries.
"You are expecting a lot to keep calling a lot of guys up and have them only give up one," manager Robin Ventura said. "So, it's one of those days. He's got good stuff, though. That's one of the things you see pieces of it in there. He'll grow from it and learn."
"That's a bittersweet experience," said Hernandez, who was acquired by the White Sox as part of a New Year's Eve trade with the Padres for Carlos Quentin. "It's one of those where you come up here and really get to see the talent of the players. I was happy to be here, but by the same token, I'm sad I didn't help the team. So it's something you learn from and keep going from there."