By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — To say the Red Sox offense is struggling to score runs is an understatement.

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Boston was shut out of the third time in their last seven games on Thursday night, falling 3-0 to the New York Yankees despite another stellar start from lefty Chris Sale. The Red Sox are just 2-5 over this quiet stretch from their bats, scoring a whopping 12 runs in that span.

They had just three hits off of Masahiro Tanaka on Thursday, all singles. The final 14 batters that Boston sent to the plate all sat down in order.

The team that led the majors in runs scored last season has just 78 in their first 21 games. There’s a massive power outage in the lineup with only 11 of their hits leaving the ball yard — last in all of baseball.

Something is missing. Something big.

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“What’s the difference? I mean, David [Ortiz] is not here,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said after Thursday’s loss. “He was definitely a huge part of our team for the years I was here. We definitely miss him.”

But David Ortiz is not walking through that door, and if he does, it won’t be to hit in the heart of the Boston lineup. His former teammates know this, and they know it’s time to start plating runs.

“We’ve got to do it without him. We’re trying. We’re trying to put up good at-bats and get guys on base. Having that 34 in the lineup was something opposing pitchers were definitely afraid of,” said Bogearts. “We miss him but we’re going to get runs. We’re going to score. We’re not going to get shut out, or get one run every game. Our offense probably needs one game — 12 runs, 15 runs –like the Washington Nationals. Hopefully we can do the same as that. We’ll break loose.”

The Red Sox entered Thursday night leading the AL in batting average and on-base percentage, so the runs should start to come. To make their scoring outage even more frustrating is the fact Boston’s pitching has been doing their part, allowing no more than four runs in any of the team’s last seven games. It’s given the Red Sox a chance to win each night, if only they could score some runs, of course.

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Ortiz’s retirement obviously left a giant hole in their lineup, but talking about it won’t do the Red Sox any good.