Red Sox Live Blog: Clay Buchholz Struggles in Boston’s 4-1 Loss to Orioles

Red Sox Live Blog: Clay Buchholz Struggles in Boston's 4-1 Loss to OriolesFinal, Orioles 4-1: The Sox went down in order in the ninth, and the Orioles finished off a pitching masterpiece in the first game of the series in Baltimore. Clay Buchholz was up against it all night, and the Sox squandered a couple chances to score early in the game. They were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base in the game. And the Sox lost their chance to .500 for the first time this season.

End 8th, Orioles 4-1: Matt Albers pitched a scoreless eighth against his old team to keep the Sox within three runs, and O's closer Kevin Gregg will take the hill in the ninth. Gregg has two saves (in three opportunities, with a blown save against the Yankees) and a 3.86 ERA in seven innings this season.

Mid 8th, Orioles 4-1: Jim Johnson worked his second shutout inning, and the Sox wasted Adrian Gonzalez's leadoff double. Kevin Youkilis popped out, and David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie failed to put the ball in play. Johnson was lights out in those two innings with four strikeouts, and the Sox have been anemic at the plate.

End 7th, Orioles 4-1: Hideki Okajima did his job and erased Matt Wieters on a little roller in front of the box. Clay Buchholz gave up four runs on 12 hits and two walks while striking out five over 6 2/3 innings. He struggled all game, and his ERA this season is 5.33. Buchholz will fall to 1-3 if the Sox don't erase the lead.

Bottom 7th, Orioles 4-1: Mark Reynolds recorded the O's fourth sac fly of the game to increase the lead and chase Clay Buchholz, who has been replaced by Hideki Okajima.

Mid 7th, Orioles 3-1: Jim Johnson picked up where Zach Britton left off and worked a perfect seventh, striking out Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia in the process.

Top 7th, Orioles 3-1: Jim Johnson replaced Zach Britton, who allowed one run on five hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out two and is in line to pick up his fourth win of the season.

End 6th, Orioles 3-1: That was the closest thing to an easy inning as Clay Buchholz has had all game. He surrendered a two-out single to Brian Roberts but nothing else. Buchholz hasn't worked a 1-2-3 inning yet, but he has faced four batters three times.

Mid 6th, Orioles 3-1: The Sox have stranded five runners in the last two innings — three in scoring position — as Carl Crawford flew out to center with runners on first and second. Crawford finally broke out a little bit against the Angels, and he had a chance to keep it going with that opportunity in the fifth, but he came up short. Crawford entered the game 4-for-25 with runners in scoring position, including a 2-for-10 mark with two outs.

End 5th, Orioles 3-1: Clay Buchholz allowed two quick singles and another Adam Jones RBI sac fly, and the Orioles padded their lead. The Sox had a chance to turn two on a Luke Scott grounder, but Buchholz couldn't keep his foot on the bag. As a result, Jones' flyout would have ended the inning. Buchholz has definitely had a tough night, and the Sox are lucky to be trailing by two runs.

Mid 5th, Orioles 2-1: Zach Britton has joined Clay Buchholz in the labor war, as he was relieved to escape a fifth-inning jam. Britton got two quick outs, but Jason Varitek's single (his first hit off a lefty all season), Jacoby Ellsbury's double and Dustin Pedroia's walk loaded the bases. But Adrian Gonzalez grounded out weakly to second, and the Sox missed a huge opportunity.

End 4th, Orioles 2-1: Far be it for me to call Dustin Pedroia an early-season MVP candidate, but with his clutch hitting and defensive prowess, he has clearly left his injury-shortened 2010 season in the rearview. Pedroia dove to his left to snag a grounder and threw out Nick Markakis to end the inning. The Orioles wasted Matt Wieters' leadoff single.

Mid 4th, Orioles 2-1: The Sox cracked through Zach Britton on their second rotation through the lineup, and Kevin Youkilis' sacrifice fly scored Dustin Pedroia to cut Baltimore's lead in half.

End 3rd, Orioles 2-0: Clay Buchholz got away with another poor start to an inning and only gave up one run — an Adam Jones sacrifice fly — after loading the bases with one out. Mark Reynolds, who grounded out to end the inning with runners at the corners, missed an 0-1 hanger that he could have deployed back to Boston.

Mid 3rd, Orioles 1-0: Jacoby Ellsbury scorched a ball to third, but Mark Reynolds was right in the line of fire and snagged the liner to end the third. It was the first sign of any life from Boston's bats, as Zach Britton has a no-hitter through three.

End 2nd, Orioles 1-0: Clay Buchholz struck out the side, but he was missing on his location early in the inning and got burned as a result. Three of the first four Orioles reached in the second, and the one who didn't, Adam Jones, struck out after 11 pitches. So, obviously, it was a laborious inning for Buchholz. Matt Wieters drove in the Orioles' run by nubbing a grounder that kicked off the first-base bag before Adrian Gonzalez could scoop it up.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Zach Britton got two more groundouts and worked around David Ortiz's one-out walk to retire the side in the second. Britton has induced five groundoutes through two innings and hasn't given up a hit.

End 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz wasn't as sharp as his counterpart, surrendering three well-hit balls, but the bottom line is all the same. Nick Markakis was the only O to manage a hit, and he was stranded on first. Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie are due up in the second.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Orioles lefty Zach Britton had his breaking pitches working, as he got Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia to ground out on a pair of sliders. Adrian Gonzalez also grounded out on a low fastball. Britton benefited from throwing three first-pitch strikes, and the Sox' first three batters failed to make solid contact.

7:02 p.m.: The first pitch is moments away in Baltimore, where the Red Sox will try to even up their record at 11-11.

6:08 p.m.: By now, you probably know the Bruins are taking on the Canadiens on Tuesday night in Game 6 of a wild first-round series, and that game will air on NESN. The Sox-Orioles game will be on NESNplus, and you can click here for the NESNplus channel listings. If you have any issues with NESNplus, please send an email to sports@nesn.com and list your location, cable provider and issue.

8:43 a.m.: The Red Sox are rolling, and the Baltimore Orioles are standing in their way of a sixth straight win.

The O's, who welcome the Sox to town for the first time this season, have lost 11 of their last 13 games, including three in a row. Zach Britton (3-1, 3.16 ERA) takes the bump against Clay Buchholz, who hopes to keep the Sox' impressive starting pitching streak intact.

Boston's starting pitchers have lasted at least five innings while allowing two runs or fewer in each of the last nine games, tying the longest such streak in franchise history, set in 1946. The Red Sox were 2-10 prior to this stretch, during which their rotation has a 0.88 ERA.

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