Derek Lowe's sinker was so effective Monday night the White Sox's lineup looked like it was hitting in super slow motion.
Lowe dominated the White Sox for eight innings in Boston's 9-0 victory at Fenway Park, taming the league's second-ranked offense.
A converted starter who pitched a no-hitter against Tampa Bay on April 27, Lowe (7-1) shut out the White Sox on two hits through eight, walking two and striking out seven. Along with Boston ace Pedro Martinez, Lowe gives the Red Sox the best 1-2 punch this side of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.
"He's filthy," Frank Thomas said. "I know why he threw a no-hitter with that type of movement. You can't do anything."
After giving up an infield hit to Kenny Lofton leading off the first, Lowe got Ray Durham to ground into a double play and didn't allow another hit until Jeff Liefer's two-out single in the eighth.
"Looked like a PlayStation sinker," said Carlos Lee, who watched Lowe's performance from the bench.
The White Sox are 9-14 since April 25, but are only one game behind Minnesota in the AL Central.
"We're just kind of struggling hittingwise and pitchwise," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Other than that we've got a heck of a team."
Starter Todd Ritchie suffered through his worst outing in a White Sox uniform, giving up five runs in the third inning and seven runs overall in 42/3 innings. His performance was eerily similar to a series-opening start in Boston last July by Kip Wells, who allowed seven first-inning runs in a 9-5 loss.
Wells was dealt for Ritchie last winter, along with Sean Lowe and Josh Fogg, in a trade that some believe depleted the Sox's pitching depth. Wells is 6-2 with the Pirates while Fogg is 5-1. Ritchie fell to 3-5 with a 4.09 earned-run average.
"They beat me up tonight," Ritchie said. "I'm not going to make excuses. It's one of those days. I'll take my lumps. I'm a grown man. I can take 'em."
The Red Sox had grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third when Ritchie faced Shea Hillenbrand with two on and two outs. Ritchie fell behind 2-0 before Hillenbrand deposited a pitch into the first seat to the fair side of the right-field foul pole, a distance measured at 303 feet. The ball hit an 8-year-old boy in the hip, about 6 inches in fair territory.
The spot where Hillenbrand hit it is the shortest possible home-run distance in the majors. Due to the asymmetrical configuration of Fenway, it's possible to hit a homer to right that's at least 65 feet shorter than the start of the warning track.
"It hurts, but I can't take it back," Ritchie said. "It's just one of those things. It doesn't matter if it goes 303 feet or 410 feet, it's still a home run. I just have to make better pitches, and I won't have to worry about it."
Handed a 5-0 lead, Lowe was able to cruise through the rest of the evening without breaking a sweat.
"What are you going to do?" Thomas said. "Nothing you can do."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun