CHICAGO -- Xander Bogaerts slumped to the ground with disappointment, knowing that a misfire from shortstop has just cost his struggling Red Sox a 2-1 loss to the White Sox on a frigid Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
His face covered by a ski mask, Bogaerts walked off the field as Chicago celebrated a walk-off victory.
With runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Marcus Semien hit a grounder to short that Bogaerts ranged slightly toward the middle to get. It is a play he will likely finish successfully hundreds of times in what figures to be a prosperous career.
But this time, Bogaerts uncorked a sinker to first that took a bad hop on Mike Carp as he unsuccessfully tried to scoop it.
Alexei Ramirez roared around from second and the Red Sox saw their record slip to 5-9.
"Yeah, I mean, cold weather, but that's no excuse for that play," said Bogaerts. "That's a ball I should've thrown right in the chest to him, or more in the zone. I knew it was going to bounce, definitely. It took a weird hop also, but as I said, I should've thrown that ball right in the chest to Carp and gone into extra innings."
It looked as if lefty Chris Capuano came close to a strikeout on the pitch before the grounder to Bogaerts, but Semien was credited with checking his swing.
"The check swing from the open side clearly looked to us it was [a swing], given some other check swings that were called here tonight," said manager John Farrell. "That was probably a little bit more extensive than some other ones, but we don't get the call."
"No, I didn't think I swung," said Semien. "I looked back and saw how A.J. [Pierzynski] caught it, and he made it look like a pretty good pitch. I think they were mad about it not being a strike. But I just made it to the next pitch, and after that we won the game."
That's the way it is going at the moment for the Red Sox. Calls that go the other way. Balls that don't fall in. Throws that hit rough patches of dirt. And injuries.
Mike Napoli moved to second with a headfirst dive to advance on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth, only to completely bend back his left ring finger. Fortunately, it was just a dislocation and the slugger is day to day.
And Napoli felt for Carp, who was thrust into a tough spot with the game on the line.
"It's tough," said Napoli. "It's 35 degrees, sitting on the bench all game, he has to come into the game like that. It's tough to pick a ball like that. Yeah, I feel for him."
Very little has gone right for the Red Sox of late, but they know it's still early.
"We've played 14 games. We've got 148 left," said right-hander Jake Peavy, "so you're looking at a lot of baseball. We certainly wish we've gotten off to a better start. We understand we haven't played our best. What we've had is plenty enough to win. We just haven't gotten that big hit or made that pitch. But there ain't nobody in here doubting that that's coming, I promise you that. It's going to take a lot more -- a lot, lot more of this for anybody here to press or panic."
Pitching at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since the White Sox traded him last July, Peavy held his own, giving up three hits and a run over six innings. He walked four and struck out eight, throwing 114 pitches.
The righty has given up two earned runs or less in all three of his starts this season.
"We battled through six, gave us a chance to win," said Peavy. "That's what I'm trying to do on my fifth day."
Erik Johnson turned in a similar outing for Chicago, giving up three hits and a run over 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out nine.
Adam Dunn put the White Sox in front when he took his close friend Peavy over the wall in right for a solo shot to make it 1-0 in the bottom of the second.
Johnson kept it right there until the fourth, when Daniel Nava tied it with a solo homer, his second of the season.
With the bats on both sides as cold as the weather, the game stayed just like that until the seemingly harmless grounder to Bogaerts ended it all.
"You can use it two ways: I can be down and keep going down from there, or I can use it as a turning point, something to move on from and turn the season around from that play," said Bogaerts.