After falling behind early on 3-1, the Red Sox seemed destined for yet another frustrating loss. But Buchholz stayed the course, tossing an eight inning gem and allowing just one hit after the fourth inning.
Meanwhile the foursome of Crawford, Pedroia, Gonzo and Ross contributed a combined for nine hits and four RBIs. It was like the hot heating the hotter as each batter seemed to spark something new and fresh from his compadres. Scott Podsednik, a solid 2-for-4 on the night, shouldn't be forgotten either.
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Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-3: Adrian Gonzalez leadoff double was watsed as none of the order could move him along the bases.
But none of that really matters as long as Alfredo gets the job done in the ninth.
Aceves, who has blown six saves already this season, will have the pressure to end this losing streak on his back. Buchholz set him up nicely, now it's Aceves job to knock down the final few pins and get the win.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-3: So, is Clay Buchholz officially the ace of the Sox staff yet? He certainly should be.
Nate McLouth's double in the eighth was just the first hit Buchholz allowed in 11 at-bats. That just shows how dominant Buchholz has been throughout this one.
A slow start was tough for Buch, but he made sure to get into a groove and really find the comfort zone that has seen him allow three earned runs or less in nine of 11 starts since June 1.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-3: The Sox already ran off some serious offense on Thursday night, but it looks like they may be out of gas.
Orioles reliever Steve Johnson — the team's fifth pitcher on the night — spun an easy 13-pitch inning and struck out both Ellsbury and Pedroia in the process.
The focus now moves back to Buchholz, who needs to hold off any explosions left in the O's offense.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-3: And another innning in the books.
Buchholz let up a walk to rookie Manny Machado, but aside from that he was near perfect yet again in the seventh. Maybe he wasn't nine pitches to strike out the side perfect, but he still looked damn good.
At 92 pitches, Buch has at least one more inning in that powerful right arm. He also has six strikeouts on the night with his season high of nine still in his sights.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Jarrod Saltalamacchia broke out of his recent slump, but it was a single. So, big deal?
Well, if this gets Salty back on his home run spree then I'd say it's a pretty big deal. But the catcher has been in a rut of late, striking out in nearly every at-bat.
If Salty can turn things around to his midseason form, to go along with Cody Ross' dominance at the dish lately, this could turn into a troublesome middle of the order.
Wishful thinking, I know.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Just molding up that Orioles lineup like Clay — get it!
Alright, enough of the corny jokes. Bu,t in all seriousness, Buchholz isn't joking around anymore.
Buch struck out the side in the sixth — and not an easy part of the lineup — as he got Jones, Wieters and Chris Davis 1-2-3. But to talk about dominance, think about the fact that he just struck out them in order on nine pitches — insane.
With just 76 pitches on the night, Buchholz could be looking at eight innings, especially if he continues mowing down the O's in the same fashion.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Scott Podsednik got the Sox offense going once again, showing off his ability at the dish.
Scotty Pods knocked his second double of the game, this time down the left field line ahead of an Ellsbury Walk. After a Crawford steal, Pedroia got himself a tough-hopping grounder that the rookie Machado couldn't handle. Podsednik scored on the play and what do you know the Sox got a lead.
Gonzalez followed that up with a shallow single to right field and a Cody Ross bloop to left gets Pedroia around from second.
A big inning for the Red Sox and suddenly a 6-3 lead, looks like Buchholz may have just the run support to work with.
9:22 p.m.: My favorite part about Podsednik lately, though? His ESPN profile picture, where he's still sporting a Diamondbacks hat.
It's too good because he never actually played a game for the Backs, yet he still dons one of their caps in the photo. Check it out below.
End 5th, 3-3: Buchholz hasn't displayed his best stuff through five on Thursday. Sure, it's difficult to throw two-hitters or allow one run each game night, but he hasn't been the razor-sharp pitcher Sox fans have seen over the past two months.
In the fifth, Buchholz walked another batter but it was the command of his fastball that seemed to be the biggest concern.
Through the five innings, Clay's still only thrown 67 pitches so look for him to be out there for likely another two more innings. But if he doesn't hone in the control, there could be another brutal loss awaiting the Boston faithful.
Mid 5th, 3-3: As Tillman's pitch count continued to climb in the fifth — hovering around 90 at inning's start — the Boston bats began to take advantage.
Carl Crawford started things off with a single up the middle — his second hit of the night. And Pedroia got his with a double to right-center.
Crawford ultimately came around on a wild pitch from Tillman, cutting into the deficit. And then a Gonzo sacrifice had Pedroia running hard from third and barely beating Jones throw from center to tie things up for Boston.
That does it for Tillman's night, too — after 110 pitches — as Kevin Gregg comes on to close the fifth out.
Even among all of this swirling controversy, which he's found himself included, Pedroia has been playing as hard as nearly anyone in all of MLB. Got to respect the effort even in the face of adversity.
End 4th, Orioles 3-1: Mark Reynolds may continue to get the best of Red Sox pitching, after singling in the fourth, but Clay Buchholz seems to have the number of the Orioles lineup.
Buchholz is inducing groundballs at a high rate once again, and after getting Chris Davis to groundout to start the inning he also forced rookie woner Manny Machado into a 6-4-3 double play to end things
Buchholz has been very efficient through four even for allowing the three runs. He's only thrown 51 pitches and seems to be right back on pace for another long and successful outing — although the result is solely on the shoulders of the offense at this point.
Mid 4th, Orioles 3-1: Cody Ross has been on a monstrous tear over the past month or so, and that streak continued in Baltimore on Thursday.
But after Pedro Ciriaco worked a walk — wait, what? You mean his first since the All-Star break? — Scott Podsednik was unable to drive in the runs and it all went for naugh.
As for the positives of the frame. Ross now has 14 hits over the past 10 games, that included seven extra-base hits and seven RBIs. His hot streak comes just as Gonzalez seems to be cooling off and would be an even bigger impact if the team could find more consistency from the top of its order.
End 3rd, Orioles 3-1:A hit batter is not what Clay Buchholz needed right there, but maybe it was a bit of retaliation for the quick pitch from Wednesday night.
Ultimately it worked out for Buch, though, as he got the next batter Wieters to ground into a 4-6-3 double play — even if the throw from Ciriaco was subpar.
Buchholz has already allowed three runs through three innings, his most since allowing four to the Rays on July 14 and the first time he's allowed more than two in the past seven starts. Talk about consistency.
Mid 3rd, Orioles 3-1: After a troublesome second frame, Tillman settled in against the top of the Sox lineup, getting them to go down in order.
The 24-year-old Tillman hasn't appeared to have his best stuff on Thursday, but he's induced a number of shallow flyballs and is beginning to settle into his comfort zone.
Buchholz hasn't been quite as solid, but he could use a few pages from Tillman's book to really settle in.
End 2nd, Orioles 3-1: Mark Reynolds might as well be nicknamed: Mark Reynolds, Red Sox killer.
But Buchholz was able to find his way out of trouble after Reynolds big home run.
A failed bunt attempt by Markakis made for an unusual circumstance as Salty threw to third and got the old 2-5-3 double play.
And to cap it all off, Omar Quintinilla was sent home on a shallow flyball and Sox right field Cody Ross heaved one towards the plate. Salty tagged the huffing and puffing infielder out well before reacing the plate.
Danger averted, well aside for the big blast that gave Baltimore a 3-1 lead. Yeah, that still happened.
Mid 2nd, Orioles 2-1: The Red Sox have struggled to bring runners in scoring position around to score against the Orioles this week. But Scott Podsednik is trying to change that mentality.
Following some nifty base running from Nick Punto and an infield single by Ciriaco, Podsednik tapped a two-out single into shallow center and drove in the Sox first run of the night.
Ellsbury's drive nearly found its way out of the park, but to no avail.
As for Podsednik, he's been on a hot streak even in his return to the Sox — after being dealt to the Diamondbacks at the deadline. If Ells continues his struggles at the dish, maybe it's time for Podsednik and Crawford to man things up at the top. Just a thought?
End 1st, Orioles 2-0: Clay Buchholz has had some trouble in the first innings in his past few starts, and Thursday night was no different.
After a pair of leadoff singles from both Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy, center fielder Adam Jones blasted a double down the right field line and set the O's up with an early 2-0 lead.
The Red Sox starter appeared to settle down the end the inning, getting a slow-rolling grounder and a strikeout to close out the inning withou any further damage.
For Buchholz that makes it four of the past seven runs he's allowed coming in the first frame. It seems that he's got something of Josh Beckett's issues in the early going, just maybe not as severe
Mid 1st Inning, 0-0: Carl Crawford is getting awful scary at the plate, getting his sixth hit and fourth double in his past 11 at bats.
The Red Sox offense may be stuck in their recent mode of stranding runners in scoring position. But on the bright side Crawford appears to be rediscovering his All-Star form, which is a good sign whether he needs Tommy John surgery or not.
Now at .290 on the season, Crawford is getting dangerously hot at the plate. And if Ellsbury can't find his way to health or consistency at the dish, then the Sox may need to use Crawford out of the leadoff spot soon enough.
6:43 p.m.: Daisuke Matsuzaka didn't perform exactly as he had hoped on Wednesday, but he still took a major step away from his most recent start.
In 5 2/3 innings against Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Matsuzaka tossed 97 pitches and surrendered five runs (four earned), five hits, two walks to go along with five strikeouts.
All of the runs came in the fifth inning, which was a good sign as Dice-K was dominant the rest of his time on the mound.
After consulting Pawtucket's staff, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came away learning that Matsuzaka tossed his best stuff and threw with his best command since getting shelved. The skipper insinuated there were no more limitations with Matsuzaka.
6:15 p.m.: On Thursday, the Red Sox announced they had received right-handed pitcher Pedro Beato as the player to be named later from Tuesday's trade that sent Kelly Shoppach to the Mets.
The 25-year-old hurler has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to start his career with the Sox.
Beato appeared in seven games for the Mets this year, allowing five hits and five runs through 4 1/3 innings. He struck out five batters and posted a 10.38 ERA before being optioned to Triple-A.
In 27 minor league games this season, which include appearances in High-A — a three-game rehab stint — and Triple-A for the Mets organization, Beato racked up a 4-4 record with a 3.73 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 12 walks. Last season, Beato appeared in 60 game for the Mets with a 2-1 record and a 4.30 ERA.
Learn more about Beato and his potential impact on the Sox.
5:20 p.m.: The Red Sox are struggling to do just about anything right now, and that uncharacteristically extends to the offense right now.
Chris Tillman goes for the Orioles in the finale. He's 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz gets the ball for the Red Sox.
Here is the lineup the Red Sox will use to try and solve those problems, for one night at least.
Jacoby Ellsbury, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Nick Punto, 3B
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Scott Podsednik, CF
Nick Markakis, RF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nate McLouth, LF
Adam Jones, F
Matt Wieters, C
Chris Davis, DH
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Manny Machado, 3B
Omar Quintanilla, 2B
Chris Tillman, P
8 a.m. ET: Aaron Cook was almost perfect on Wednesday night, but as the old adage goes "almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."
After an impressive start, including 5 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball, the Orioles finally got to Cook and the result was a 5-3 loss dropping the Red Sox to a lowly four-games below .500.
But just as the Sox struggle to find ways to win, the ace of their staff takes the hill on Thursday night with all intentions of getting Boston back on track. Buchholz has been phenomenal since June 1, with an ERA under 2.00 and ensuring the Sox a legitimate shot at a "W" everytime he's on the mound.
Right-hander Chris Tillman, who has been stellar in seven starts for the O's this season, will be on the bump for Baltimore and looking to lock down a series sweep for the home side.
Tune into NESN starting at 6 p.m. to catch the Red Sox pregame show, and be sure to stay tuned for all the Red Sox-Orioles action with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.