CHICAGO | Cubs fans made their feelings clear and so did Alfonso Soriano.
He fired right back at them afterward.
Soriano wasn't thrilled after being booed relentlessly for failing to run out a line drive during Chicago's 4-3 loss to the struggling Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
"It's unfair," he said.
The Cubs were trailing 4-0 in the sixth inning when Soriano stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and two out. He hit a hard liner toward third and Will Middlebrooks dropped it.
One thing, though. Soriano never ran and got thrown out at first.
A crowd that had seen lapses from him before let him have it on the way to the dugout and when he trotted back out to left field. There were more loud boos when he struck out in the eighth.
But the way Soriano sees it, he didn't deserve that kind of treatment. He said the boos were unfair and there really wasn't much he could do on that play.
"I think that they don't understand the game," Soriano said. "It's a line drive, nothing you can do about it. If it's a ground ball and I don't run, they can do whatever they want. But a hard line drive right at the glove? I don't know what they want."
While the fans made their feelings clear, so did the Cubs. Put simply, they had Soriano's back.
"It's one of those things where 100 percent every player in the history of baseball would do the same thing," manager Dale Sveum said. "I did it a lot, a lot, of times."
He mentioned Sean Casey once getting thrown out at first when Casey was playing for Detroit against the White Sox. The ball ricocheted off leaping third baseman Joe Crede's glove and into left field. Casey, thinking it had been caught, started walking off and got thrown out by Pablo Ozuna.
And Sveum insisted he has no issue with Soriano's approach.
"Everybody in this clubhouse knows how hard Sori works and how hard he's played this year," Sveum said.
Fair or not, though, Soriano is a lightning rod for fans.
"Sori takes a lot of heat for a lot of things," pitcher Jeff Samardzija said. "Obviously, it is what it is. There's not one guy in that locker room that has anything bad to say about him."
Soriano's play stood out on a night when Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered to back a strong start by Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.
Saltalamacchia, Scott Podsednik and Mike Aviles had two hits apiece for the Red Sox, who had dropped eight of 11. Podsednik and Middlebrooks each drove in a run.
Lester (4-4) and the Red Sox were leading 4-0 when the Cubs rallied in the seventh.
Jeff Baker led off with a bloop double and Welington Castillo walked with one out. Then Luis Valbuena belted a three-run homer for his first hit with Chicago.
Lester struck out David DeJesus before Scott Atchison retired Reed Johnson on a grounder to end the inning. Vicente Padilla worked the eighth and Alfredo Aceves finished for his 16th save in 19 chances.
Pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger started the Cubs ninth with a single, but Aceves struck out Bryan LaHair and got Castillo to bounce into a game-ending double play.
Lester gave the Red Sox just what they needed on the same day Josh Beckett went on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, the latest in a long line of injuries for Boston.
The veteran allowed seven hits, struck out eight and walked one against a team that came in with a .222 average against lefties, third lowest in the National League.
Samardzija (5-5) struck out six in 5 1-3 innings for the Cubs after getting roughed up in a loss to Minnesota in his previous start. He was charged with three runs and four hits.
Samardzija was lifted after he issued consecutive walks to David Ortiz and Saltalamacchia. Randy Wells came in, and Middlebrooks drove in Ortiz with a single.
Samardzija's only other glitch was the two-run homer by Saltalamacchia on a 1-2 splitter in the fourth inning.
NOTES: With Beckett going on the DL, Boston recalled right-handed reliever Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket. Beckett was scheduled to start today. Instead, LHP Franklin Morales (0-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 22 relief appearances) will pitch in his place, with Paul Maholm starting for the Cubs. ... OF Carl Crawford (sprained ulnar collateral ligament in left elbow) "threw the ball really well" from 110 feet, manager Bobby Valentine said. He also took batting practice for the second consecutive day. ... Red Sox RHP Aaron Cook (left knee laceration) will make his first rehab start on Monday with Triple-A Pawtucket and is scheduled to throw 50-75 pitches. ... Valbuena was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. ... Actor Vince Vaughn threw out the first pitch and led the seventh-inning rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."