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Red Sox pack no punch against Cubs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  June 15, 2012 08:53 PM

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CHICAGO — The Red Sox fell, 3-0, on Friday against the Cubs, the worst team in baseball. It was as bad as it sounds.

The Red Sox scored 10 runs in Miami on Wednesday night, had a day off then showed up at Wrigley Field and had five hits, two of them infield singles. With owner John Henry watching from the stands, the Sox lost for the eighth time in their last 11 games.

Manager Bobby Valentine left promising rookie Will Middlebrooks on the bench, giving Kevin Youkilis the start at third base. Youkilis was 0 for 4 and is now hitless in his last 18 at-bats.

Adrian Gonzalez started in right field for the 16th time. He was 0 for 4 and is hitting .208 in the last 12 games. He has averaged 51 at-bats between home runs this season.

Dustin Pedroia missed six games with a torn muscle in his right thumb and is 6 of 40 since with four RBIs. He made the final out of the fifth inning with a runner on second, the final out of the seventh with runners on first and third and the final out of the game with the bases loaded.

“I feel great; hitting balls good. Just no hits,” said Pedroia, who grounded to third after Cubs closer Carlos Marmol loaded the bases.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the team’s hottest hitter two weeks ago, is 5 of his last 38. Even David Ortiz, who has carried a heavy load all season, is slipping. He has 8 hits in his last 35 at-bats.

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (3-3) cruised. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2) wasn’t good enough to survive his early wildness.

Matsuzaka walked the bases loaded in the first inning, putting free-swinging Alfonso Soriano and Worcester native Bryan LaHair on with two outs. Steve Clevenger, the backup catcher, then dropped a bloop double down the line in left to score two runs.

“It was probably something small that needed adjustment,” Matsuzaka said via interpreter Jeff Cutler. “It just took a long time, it took longer than I wanted, to make that adjustment."

That Matsuzaka retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced couldn’t change the tenor of the game. The Sox never figured out a way to score.

Valentine even put runners in motion, the usually stationary Red Sox stealing a season-high four bases. That didn’t help.

“It’s frustrating. We’re not trying to be [expletive]. Everyone’s trying, man. We’re just not playing good,” Pedroia said. “Today we didn’t play good. We scored no runs. You can’t win games when you score zero runs. That’s it.”

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