CHICAGO -- For the Red Sox, this was the road trip which had everything but a successful ending.
After reeling off six straight wins to dramatically shake out of an early-season swoon, the Boston bats went quiet on getaway Sunday, taking a 4-1 loss to the White Sox.
For most of the day, right-hander Gavin Floyd was the unsolvable problem for the Red Sox. He was perfect for 4 2/3 innings and fired 6 1/3 no-hit innings. Once Floyd left, Chicago's bullpen kept Boston in check.
After seeing his team get handcuffed for just three hits over nine innings, manager Bobby Valentine was more interested in the big picture that was a 6-1 road trip.
The team that left Fenway Park with a 4-10 mark returns home at 10-11 and feeling good about itself. The Red Sox open a three-game series against the Athletics on Monday, and play three more against the Orioles at home.
"It's great to go home. It's always great to go home," Valentine said. "Guys are playing their butts off. This was a tough seven days. We battled the travel, battled the weather. They're a tough group."
On this one day, Floyd was just a little too much.
"He stayed out of the middle of the plate," said Dustin Pedroia, who snapped Floyd's no-hit bid with one out in the seventh. "I mean, he threw the ball well. His fastball command was great, and I mean, obviously, he's got a great curveball. He did a great job, man. Sometimes you just tip your hat and get 'em tomorrow."
The White Sox had an eerie feeling in the early to middle innings of this one. It was just eight days ago that righty Phil Humber pitched them a perfect game.
Yes, it was on everyone's mind -- particularly Floyd's.
"Absolutely," Floyd said. "Especially since Phil did it recently, so it was natural. But, obviously, you've got to put it behind you. Your object is to get in there as late as you can and if it happens, it happens. You've just got to keep your focus and keep attacking."
Meanwhile, on the other side, Josh Beckett turned in his fourth consecutive solid start. Over 6 2/3 innings, he scattered six hits and three runs, walking three and striking out eight. He also equaled a career high with 126 pitches while taking the tough-luck loss.
"He was good with all his pitches," said Valentine. "Maybe a mistake or two in the first inning. Stuff might have been a little flat that inning. The rest of the game, right up until the last pitch he threw, it looked like he had good movement, location, his curveball was good. It was one of those days we didn't score for him."
All in all, the Red Sox will take a 6-1 road trip whenever they can get it. If they had been able to close the trip with a win, it would have been their first undefeated road trip of seven games or more since the 1977 team had a 9-0 journey.
"I'm really happy for the guys and just the way we've played this whole road trip after a tough homestand," said outfielder Cody Ross. "We played our hearts out. It would have been nice to sweep the whole road trip, but realistically, that's tough to do. It gives us a lot of confidence going back home, and we're all excited to go back home."
Though Beckett contained the White Sox for most of the day, they got to him in the bottom of the first. Alejandro De Aza led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Alex Rios belted an RBI single and the White Sox had a quick lead.
Beckett could have lived with that. What stung him was the mistake he made to Adam Dunn. Chicago's slugger unloaded for a mammoth two-run homer into the right-field seats which made it 3-0.
"It was a pretty tough hole to put your team in, especially with a guy who has pitched well against us in the past," Beckett said.
It was clear from the outset that Floyd had everything going. The righty retired the first 14 batters he faced until Ross drew a two-out walk in the fifth.
"For me, it started after the third inning," Ross said. "I looked up and he'd gone through the lineup once around and we didn't get a hit or a walk. I was thinking to myself, 'He's got the stuff today to make something happen.' Fortunately, we weren't on the receiving end of that. It was a tough one for us today, that's for sure."
The Red Sox finally got to him in the seventh. With one out, Pedroia broke up the no-hitter with a single up the middle.
"He wasn't giving us much to hit," Pedroia said. "The three at-bats I had off him, I got one pitch to hit and actually got a hit on that one."
David Ortiz came through with a two-out double into the corner in right. Ross kept the momentum going with an RBI single to left, knocking Floyd out of the game.
But White Sox righty Addison Reed got Nick Punto on a groundout to end the jam.
Chicago tacked on another run in the eighth on Dayan Viciedo's two-out single.
Now the Red Sox will try to play the same way on the coming homestand that they did over the past week on the road.
"We feel good," Pedroia said. "We had a great road trip. Guys pitched great, we swung the bats real well. We're pretty excited to get back home and play good ball."