CHICAGO -- A grim Mike Greenwell, staring at the floor, threw his soiled, tattered red socks into a pile on the concrete floor. A clubhouse attendant picked up the socks and dumped them into a large laundry basket.
This scene was symbolic of the nightmarish series at Comiskey Park for the Boston Red Sox, who are being pursued closely by the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East.
The Chicago White Sox's 4-2 victory yesterday completed a four-game sweep -- their first at home over the Red Sox since 1962. And, after the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5, last night, Boston's lead was down to one game.
"I wish I could say I was wrong, but this was the one series I feared in the last month," Red Sox manager Joe Morgan said. "We don't play well here, and we never get any breaks. I'll be glad to get out of here.... If we were playing seven more games here, we'd probably lose them all the way we've been playing."
In the series, the Red Sox averaged three runs and hit .221. The White Sox's averages were six runs and .331 at the plate.
"Yeah, they got some bloop hits in there," said Red Sox starter Dana Kiecker. "But I don't care how they got them, four runs is four runs."
Kiecker (6-9) did a creditable job -- seven hits and four runs in five innings.
But with the Red Sox struggling to score, he lost. It was the team's 10th loss in 14 games.
The White Sox showed early why they have the second-best record in the majors.
With two outs in the second, Lance Johnson swatted down a possible Mike Marshall homer. Johnson raced to the center-field wall and jumped against the wall. The ball hit off the heel of his glove, which was extended above the 7-foot wall.
Marshall had a triple off Eric King (10-4). Tony Pena grounded to short. No RBI, no homer, no run.
The White Sox then scored two runs in their next at-bats. Dan Pasqua hit a double inside the left-field line. After moving to third on Robin Ventura's grounder to second, Pasqua scored on Ron Karkovice's soft single to center. Sammy Sosa sliced a ball to shallow right. Karkovice never stopped running and scored, as Sosa sped into second.
"That's their style of hitting," Kiecker said of the Walt Hriniak-taught White Sox. "They did it today. They did it the whole series, go with the pitch, make contact."
The Red Sox had a scoring opportunity in the third. Randy Kutcher, Dwight Evans and Wade Boggs singled for one run. When Ventura booted Ellis Burks' grounder to fill the bases, it looked as if the Red Sox finally could have a big inning.
It didn't happen, as Greenwell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.