BOSTON — After a road trip loaded with offense, the Chicago White Sox came up empty against a knuckleballer.
"They gave us a little bit of our own medicine tonight," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We've had a good run here for three days and they came out and basically did to us what we did to them."
Chicago had 28 runs and 46 hits in the first three games of the series. But Steven Wright pitched seven effective innings in Boston's third win in 15 games, and Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz each had three hits.
The first five batters reached in Boston's four-run sixth before Chris Sale (9-6) was lifted. He allowed seven runs and 12 hits in his worst start since April.
"We've been playing great and we've got 24 guys in here that didn't deserve tonight," Sale said. "I should have been better for them. At least we know the reason why we lost this game."
"It was nice. Our guys did an unbelievable job because I didn't realize how hard (Sale) threw," said Wright, who had lost his previous two starts since being called up from the minors . "Our guys put together some good at-bats."
All signs pointed to the White Sox completing their first unbeaten road trip of eight or more games since 1951 and reaching .500 for the first time since early May.
Sale had a sparkling 0.89 ERA in seven appearances against AL-worst Boston. Wright had struggled, and the Red Sox were uncompetitive in losing the first three games of the set.
But Sale struggled with his location, while Wright (4-4) struck out a career-high eight after a suspect start.
The White Sox, who had four-, five- and two-run first innings in the first three games of the series, added two more when Abreu sent a 1-1 pitch into the Red Sox bullpen for his 17th homer. It also extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
But unlike much of the past week, the Red Sox rallied in a game delayed 51 minutes at the start due to rain.
Ortiz, who entered hitting .162 against left-handers, pulled a 98 mph fastball to right for an RBI double in the first. Hanley Ramirez and Ortiz added two-out RBI singles in the fifth to put Boston ahead 3-2.
Holt chased Sale with his hit in the sixth.
"This one's going to be forgotten before I even walk out of that door tonight," Sale said. "It's so bad that you just kind of throw it in the garbage, really. Just move on and I'll be ready next time."
White Sox: Sale stayed in the game after Bogaerts lined a 95 mph fastball off his leg for a single in the first inning.
Red Sox: OF Mookie Betts (concussion) was "slightly improved" but still experiencing headaches Thursday, Farrell said. Betts was hurt tumbling over the wall in Tuesday's game. . RHP Clay Buchholz (shoulder) is still two weeks from picking up a ball.
WHITE SOX MOVES
Ventura thinks his players can block out the distractions surrounding Friday's non-waiver trade deadline.
"Even though they can watch the news and see everything else, their focus is on playing Boston," Ventura said.
The White Sox did make a minor deal, acquiring INF Justin Sellers from Pittsburgh for a player to be named or cash and assigned him to Triple-A Charlotte.
White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon (4-3, 4.09 ERA) starts Friday's series opener against the New York Yankees.