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White Sox-Red Sox Preview

The Associated Press

The defending World Series champions are tired of discussing what's been going wrong instead of performing up to expectations.

After yet another one-run loss, the Boston Red Sox hand the ball to Clay Buchholz on Monday night when he seeks a third straight solid outing in the opener of a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.

Boston's title defense hasn't gone as planned, dropping a season-worst 10 games under .500 after Sunday's 7-6, 12-inning loss to Baltimore. The Red Sox (39-49) came back to tie the game with a five-run seventh after Jake Peavy gave up one earned run in six innings.

''I'm as sick of it as you guys are sitting here talking about losing," Peavy said.

Boston dropped to 15-19 in one-run games. David Ortiz went 4 for 5, but he was thrown out trying to stretch a single in the bottom of the final inning.

''We haven't won the close games,'' said Dustin Pedroia, who had three hits. ''One hit or one play being made in each of those games and it's a different story right now.''

The Red Sox have dropped five of six - all at home - and they'll look to snap out of their funk behind Buchholz (3-4, 6.22), who has been solid since returning from injury.

Buchholz went 2-4 with a 7.02 ERA over his first 10 starts before landing on the disabled list with a hyperextended left knee May 28. The right-hander came off the DL on June 25 and allowed four runs in a season-high 7 1-3 innings of a 5-4 win over Seattle before giving up one run in 6 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

"This is the second straight start since being activated he's pitched very well," manager John Farrell said. "Probably one of the better fastballs he's had for the entire season.

Buchholz is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in his last five starts against the White Sox after giving up three runs in six innings of Boston's 6-4, 14-inning win April 16.

Chicago will be looking to have a better effort against Buchholz this time around, but it has struggled offensively lately.

The White Sox (42-47) had four hits in Saturday's 3-2, 14-inning loss to Seattle and only two in Sunday's series finale, scoring on a wild pitch in the first inning for a 1-0 victory.

Rookie Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez - both named AL All-Star reserves - went a combined 1 for 7 for Chicago, which hasn't reached double digits in hits in 10 straight.

Connor Gillaspie scored the lone run and walked in the third, but he left with a bruised right knee after being hit by a pitch in the fifth. His status for this contest is unclear.

The White Sox dropped two of three to Boston from April 15-17, and they'll send Scott Carroll to the mound.

Carroll (2-5, 5.05) has lost both starts since re-entering the rotation June 26, including the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader when he allowed a season-worst seven runs in six innings of a 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

The rookie right-hander is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts, walking 14 and striking out 15 in 37 1-3 innings.

''Every time I go out there, I want to compete,'' Carroll said. ''Obviously, I didn't compete (Tuesday), but I definitely want to take control of that (fifth rotation) spot and show them that I have the talent to do so.''

Carroll will get his first look at the Red Sox, who have won the last five meetings at Fenway.

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