CHICAGO – The Boston Red Sox are headed home after a successful road trip, and manager Bobby Valentine feels the team is headed in the right direction after rocky start.
Josh Beckett pitched into the seventh inning after a rough start, but the Red Sox lost 4-1 to Gavin Floyd and the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Boston still managed to put together a 6-1 trip, averaging more than six runs despite scoring twice in the final two games in Chicago. It was a welcome result for a team was 4-10 a week ago and had just given up 15 unanswered runs during an embarrassing 15-9 loss to the New York Yankees.
The Red Sox open a three-game series against Oakland on Monday night at Fenway Park.
"This week it seemed like things were coming together nicely, mainly because of starting pitching," Valentine said. "The bullpen fell in nicely."
"We're all getting to know each other, feeling comfortable with things. Still a work in progress."
Floyd (2-3) struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings, yielding one run and three hits. He improved to 7-0 with a 3.21 ERA in nine career appearances against Boston, helping the White Sox stop a five-game losing streak.
Dustin Pedroia singled with one out in the seventh for Boston's first hit of the game. Cody Ross had an RBI single for the Red Sox, who had won six straight.
"(Floyd) wasn't giving us much to hit," Pedroia said. "I had three at-bats off him and only got one pitch to hit. I actually got a hit on that one. He kept the ball out of the middle of the zone."
Dunn helped the White Sox get off to a fast start, belting a two-run shot to right in the first for his first homer at U.S. Cellular Field since Aug. 4 against the Yankees. Dunn's fifth homer of the season drove in Alex Rios, who put Chicago in front with an RBI single.
Beckett (2-3) settled down after the rough opening inning, shutting down Chicago until he left with two out in the seventh. He struck out eight and allowed six hits while matching a career high with 126 pitches.
"The two-run homer was the difference between that and the rest of the game," Beckett said. "That's a pretty tough hole to put your team in, especially against a guy who has pitched well against us in the past."
The three runs were more than enough for Floyd, who retired his first 14 hitters just eight days after teammate Philip Humber pitched the 21st perfect game in major league history against Seattle. Ross walked in the fifth for Boston's first baserunner, but Floyd struck out Nick Punto to end the inning.
"(Floyd) had a good curveball, but the thing he did best today was use his fastball more than he has in a long time," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He threw it in big situations."
Boston finally got on the board in the seventh. Pedroia's liner got past second baseman Eduardo Escobar's diving attempt. He moved up on David Ortiz's two-out double and scored on Ross' hit.
Addison Reed then came in and got Punto to ground out, stranding Ortiz at third. Reed also got the first two outs of the eighth before Matt Thornton finished for his first save of the season.
Beckett's outing ended after he walked Brent Lillibridge to load the bases after a 12-pitch at-bat. Scott Atchison then got Rios to pop out to end the inning.
Dayan Viciedo added an RBI single in the eighth for Chicago.
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Rich Hill made his first appearance of the season, allowing one run and one hit with two walks in two-thirds of an inning. "He looked OK, just a little nervous. Couldn't quite get that breaking ball over like he'd like to," Valentine said. ... Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis was a late scratch due to tightness in his lower left back. ... The only time the Red Sox swept a road trip of seven or more games came in 1977 when they went 9-0 from July 29-Aug. 8, 1977. ... Floyd had a near no-hitter against Minnesota on May 6, 2008. Joe Mauer broke up the bid with one out in the ninth. ... Beckett last threw 126 pitches for the Marlins against the Houston Astros on May 20, 2004.