BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox and their Fenway faithful waited 86 years to hoist the World Series trophy.

They held it for only one.

There will be no repeat in New England. The Red Sox are out, the first team eliminated from the playoffs this October.

When Edgar Renteria grounded out to end Friday’s 5-3 sweep by the Chicago White Sox, Boston’s championship banner was still flying stiffly from the center-field flagpole at Fenway Park.

But no celebration. Not like last year, when Renteria grounded out for the St. Louis Cardinals, finishing off Boston’s sweep at Busch Stadium.

The Red Sox went quietly, chased in three games. There was no Curt Schilling with the bloody sock and the stitched-up ankle to bail them out – in fact, Schilling didn’t even throw a pitch this postseason, as he was scheduled to start Game 4.

Instead, there was Tim Wakefield pitching a decent but insufficient 5 1-3 innings in the deciding game, and Tony Graffanino – who replaced 2004 postseason star Mark Bellhorn at second base – hitting an infield popup with the bases loaded and the score 4-3 in the sixth inning.

So there’ll be no trophy tour of all of Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns.

No grandsons putting their arms around grandfathers who hadn’t been born the last time the Red Sox won the World Series in 1918 before 2004.

Boston became the sixth World Series champion to be swept out of the postseason the following year, and the first since Arizona lost in the opening round to St. Louis in 2002.

Blame it on a pitching staff that lost big-game starters Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe to free agency and closer Keith Foulke to arthroscopic surgery on both knees that made him ineffective all season.

Blame it on a pitching staff that had the 11th-best ERA in the AL.

All-Star starter Matt Clement struggled in the second half and allowed eight runs in 3 1-3 innings in the first-game loss. Schilling, struggled all season after undergoing postseason surgery on the ankle that was surgically repaired during last year’s postseason that allowed him to beat the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the AL championship series and St. Louis in Game 2 of the World Series.

The wind was blowing out to left field when Paul Konerko gave Chicago a 4-2 lead in the sixth with a two-run homer off Wakefield. The knuckleballer got the next batter to ground out, then was replaced by Chad Bradford after giving up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.

But the Red Sox, who were 8-1 the last two seasons in playoff games in which they faced elimination, had led the majors in batting average and threatened in the sixth.

Leadoff hitter Manny Ramirez hit his second homer of the game, cutting the lead to 4-3 and knocking starter Freddy Garcia out. Damaso Marte came in and quickly had his excitable manager, Ozzie Guillen, grimacing and shouting in the dugout.

Marte loaded the bases with no outs on a single to Trot Nixon and walks to Bill Mueller and John Olerud.

Orlando Hernandez replaced Marte and got Jason Varitek to foul out to first baseman Konerko. Graffanino came up with a chance to atone for his key Game 2 error and had a tense, 10-pitch at-bat before popping up.

Hernandez went to 3-2 again on Johnny Damon – the catalyst last year – then got him to take a half swing and miss a 78 mph slider.

Not even David Ortiz, who hit 19 homers that tied games or put Boston ahead, could come through. He did homer for the Red Sox first run of the game in the fourth.

But he flied to deep center in the sixth. Then, in his last at bat of his strong season, ended a disappointing one for the Red Sox by striking out.

Then he was in the on-deck circle – standing helplessly with bat in hand – when Renteria grounded out for the final out.

Renteria’s comebacker to Foulke last year started the Boston celebration, along with the kooky dispute over whether the Red Sox or first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz owned that final ball.

But that was another season.

AP-ES-10-07-05 2013EDT


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