Red Sox-Rays Live: Clay Buchholz Absolutely Dominates As Sox Cruise to 5-0 Victory Over Rays

Stephen DrewFinal, Red Sox 5-0: Clay Buchholz didn’t get to finish this one, but his sensational effort paved the way for Boston’s 5-0 win.

Buchholz didn’t give up his first hit — a broken-bat single by Kelly Johnson — until the eighth inning. The right-hander tossed eight shutout frames and struck out a career-high 11 hitters to help the Red Sox secure their second win in a row against the Rays.

The Sox scored four of their five runs in the third inning. The big frame was highlighted by a two-run double from Mike Napoli with the bases loaded. Dustin Pedroia collected three hits in the win.

Buchholz improves to 3-0 with the victory. His ERA now sits at 0.41.

The Red Sox and Rays will be back in action on Monday morning as part of the annual Patriots’ Day matinee. Ryan Dempster will get the start. That game is scheduled to start up at 11:05 a.m. ET, so be sure to set your alarm.

Good night, everyone.

End 8th, Red Sox 5-0: The Red Sox added a run in the bottom of the eighth, and Andrew Miller will now have a five-run lead to work with in the ninth.

Dustin Pedroia doubled, and then advanced to third base on a slow roller to short by Mike Napoli. Jamey Wright intentionally walked Daniel Nava, and Pedroia scored on a fly ball off the bat of Will Middlebrooks.

Clay Buchholz exits after eight fantastic innings. The right-hander fell six outs shy of his second career no-hitter, but he was dominant. He gave up just two hits over eight shutout innings, and he recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts.

The Red Sox are three outs away from getting Buchholz his third win of the season.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-0: One pitch after his bid for a no-hitter was broken up, Clay Buchholz induced a 4-6-3 double play.

Desmond Jennings then doubled to left field with two outs, but Buchholz bounced back to get Ben Zobrist to fly out.

That’ll likely be the day for Buchholz, who is up to 109 pitches. The right-hander received a great ovation as he walked off the field.

It was a job well done for Buchholz. Let’s see if the Red Sox’ bullpen can hammer this down.

4:03 p.m.:  And there it is. Kelly Johnson hit a broken-bat single into right field on the second pitch he saw to break up Clay Buchholz’s no-hit bid.

Buchholz received a standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful, and it’s certainly well-deserved.

Buchholz even retrieved the end of Johnson’s broken bat and handed it to the bat boy. What a guy.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Alex Cobb actually came back out to begin the seventh inning, and he got through two batters before Joe Maddon handed things over to the bullpen.

Cobb struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. and retired Jacoby Ellsbury on a ground out. Shane Victorino then walked, which brought Jamey Wright into the game.

Wright picked off Victorino at first base to end the inning.

Clay Buchholz now takes the hill six outs away from a, well, you know.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Clay Buchholz is dominating.

Buchholz added two more strikeouts in the seventh inning, and he now has 11 total, which is a career high. More importantly, though, he hasn’t surrendered a hit.

Buchholz, who has walked four, is up to 99 pitches thus far. He’s six outs away from a you-know-what. This should be interesting.

In the seventh, Buchholz struck out Yunel Escobar and Jose Molina. Molina’s strikeout ended the inning, much to the delight of those in attendance.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: All things considered, Alex Cobb’s outing wasn’t all that bad — assuming it’s over.

Cobb gave up four runs in the third inning, but he kept Boston off the scoreboard in the other five. In the sixth inning, Cobb faced the minimum three batters.

Will Middlebrooks led off the inning with a single into center field. Stephen Drew struck out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out.

With Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, Middlebrooks took off for second. Cobb hadn’t thrown the pitch yet, though, so he turned and fired to second, enabling the Rays to tag out Middlebrooks in no man’s land.

On the bright side, it gets Clay Buchholz right back to work.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Clay Buchholz is through six innings, and do I dare say it?

OK, don’t shoot the messenger, but Buchholz hasn’t surrendered a hit thus far. He did, however, enjoy the benefits of a fluky play in the sixth.

After Sam Fuld walked, Desmond Jennings hit a sharp ground ball up the middle to the shortstop side of second base. It got on Stephen Drew very quickly, and it ate him up. The ball ricocheted off Drew’s chest, but Dustin Pedroia was able to scoop it and fire to first base to record an out. Had Jennings reached, the play likely would have been ruled a hit due to its difficult nature.

Remember that play.

Buchholz issued a one-out walk to Ben Zobrist, and Fuld would advance to third base when Evan Longoria flew out to right field. The inning ended with Matt Joyce grounding out to first.

The Fenway Faithful also enjoyed a brief moment of sunshine on this overcast day, which drew a loud response.

End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Alex Cobb got touched up in the third inning, but he hasn’t been too bad otherwise.

Cobb retired the Red Sox in order again in the fifth. He got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to begin the inning. Cobb then struck out Mike Napoli, and got Daniel Nava to fly out to left field to end the inning.

Cobb is at 81 pitches through five innings, and there isn’t any action in the Tampa bullpen yet.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Clay Buchholz only tallied one strikeout in the fifth inning. I’m sure he’ll take it.

Buchholz enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. He got James Loney to fly out to left, and then got Jose Molina to bounce out to short before striking out Kelly Johnson to end the inning.

Buchholz now has nine K’s in total, and he’s looked very sharp in this game.

End 4th, Red Sox 4-0: After surrendering four runs (three earned) in the third inning, Alex Cobb did a nice job of bouncing back in the fourth.

Cobb retired Jackie Bradley Jr., Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino in order. Bradley and Ellsbury each struck out swinging, and Victorino hit a slow roller to first that James Loney flipped to Cobb for the third out.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-0: It’s a two-an-inning kind of day.

Clay Buchholz picked up two more strikeouts in the fourth, bringing his total to eight on the afternoon. (Buchholz has struck out two batters in each of the first four innings.)

Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce were the strikeout victims in the fourth. They’ve each K’d twice in this game.

Buchholz, who also issued a walk in the scoreless inning, is up to 58 pitches (35 strikes) thus far.

End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: The action certainly picked up in the third inning, much to the Red Sox’ delight.

Jacoby Ellsbury singled into center field to begin the frame, and Shane Victorino followed up with a bunt. Victorino’s bunt rolled along the third-base line before catcher Jose Molina eventually made contact with it, allowing Victorino to reach at first and Ellsbury to move up to second.

Things only got more interesting from there, as Dustin Pedroia singled to load the bases for Mike Napoli. John Farrell said before the game that Napoli has been showing more consistency in his at-bats, particularly on balls on the outside part of the plate. Well, it didn’t matter in this AB, as Napoli got a meatball over the heart of the dish that he drove about 418 feet. Unfortunately for Napoli, he hit it to the deepest part of the ballpark in center, so he had to settle for a two-run double as opposed to a grand salami.

Nevertheless, Napoli’s double got the offense going, and it wouldn’t let up. Alex Cobb plunked Daniel Nava — which drew some boos from the crowd — to reload the bases. Will Middlebrooks then grounded back to the mound. Cobb fumbled the ball, but he eventually delivered a throw to the plate just in time to nab Pedroia, who was hustling home from third base. It was a close play, but home plate umpire John Tumpane didn’t feel as though Pedey got his foot in ahead of the throw, and Tampa had its first out of the inning as a result.

The Rays should have gotten out of the inning when Stephen Drew grounded to first base. James Loney fired to second in an effort to start an inning-ending double play, but Yunel Escobar’s throw on the back end sailed toward the Red Sox dugout, bringing home two more runs for Boston.

In the end, the Red Sox put up four runs, which seems like a lot given the way Buchholz is throwing the ball.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz has been very sharp early on.

Buchholz racked up two more strikeouts in the third inning, bringing his total to six.

Buchholz got Kelly Johnson swinging at a 91-mph fastball to begin the inning, and he then got Sam Fuld on an 88-mph cutter for the second out.

Desmond Jennings, a strikeout victim in his first at-bat, hit a ball sharply to center, but Jacoby Ellsbury was there to haul it in.

Buchholz has yet to surrender a hit.

End 2nd, 0-0: Jackie Bradley Jr. brought the Fenway Faithful out of their seats, and he threatened to break up his hitless streak, but the end result was just a loud out.

Daniel Nava flew out and Will Middlebrooks grounded out to begin the home half of the second inning. That’s when Alex Cobb ran into some trouble.

Stephen Drew, who continues to show nice patience at the plate, worked a two-out walk, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia smoked a single into right field to set up first and second for Bradley.

Bradley, who was 0 for his last 14, got a good piece of one to right field. It sent Sam Fuld back, but the right fielder was able to make the play.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz added two more strikeouts in the second inning, although he had to work for them.

Buchholz struck out Matt Joyce looking after a six-pitch battle. The righty tried to pound Joyce inside, and he ended up getting Joyce looking.

After Yunel Escobar grounded out, Buchholz issued a seven-pitch walk to James Loney, who then stole second base.

Buchholz finished the inning by striking out Jose Molina. He went to the cutter to get the Rays catcher.

End 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia caused some havoc in the first inning, but Alex Cobb managed to work around the disruption.

The Rays started the inning off with some fantastic defense. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a hot shot down to first base that James Loney gloved, and Shane Victorino was robbed of a base hit on a diving play by second baseman Ben Zobrist.

Pedroia then came up and did what he does best. He singled into center field, and then picked up his first stolen base of the season to move into scoring position.

Cobb bounced back to retire Mike Napoli on a pop out to end the inning, though.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Very impressive first inning for Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz started the game by mowing down Desmond Jennings on three pitches.

Ben Zobrist then grounded out to short, before Buchholz came back and recorded his second K of the inning against the always dangerous Evan Longoria.

1:38 p.m.: Clay Buchholz’s first pitch is in there for a strike, and we’re under way.

1:33 p.m.: Cool moment before the game. The Achilles Freedom Team, which consists of wounded veterans, was honored on the Fenway Park field.

Those types of things never get old, and they hardly seem like enough to honor those who bravely serve overseas.

1:25 p.m.: We’re about 10 minutes away from game time, and the lights are on at Fenway, as we’re dealing with some overcast skies to begin this one.

11:45 a.m.: The big news coming out Sunday morning is in regards to closer Joel Hanrahan.

Hanrahan, who has struggled in his last three outings, is dealing with right hamstring soreness. He apparently tweaked his hamstring on a pitch during his second appearance of the year in New York.

Farrell described Hanrahan as “day to day,” and the club will look to let the issue settle down before Hanrahan resumes game activity. Farrell said Andrew Bailey will serve as the closer on Sunday if the opportunity presents itself.

Click here to read more about Hanrahan’s injury >>

11:15 a.m.: Jackie Bradley Jr. will make his return to the starting lineup on Sunday after being held out of Saturday’s game. Bradley enters the contest having not played in two of the last four games, as manager John Farrell has instead gone with other options in his place.

Bradley, who has struggled mightily at the plate of late, will bat ninth and man left field. Daniel Nava will serve as the DH with the right-hander in Cobb on the mound. Nava will bat fifth.

Nava will hit between Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks. Farrell said before the game that he wanted to split up the righties, but having a contact guy in between two hitters who have a tendency of striking out also makes sense. Stephen Drew will bat in between Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — which puts a lefty in between a right-hander and a switch-hitter.

The complete lineups are below.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, DH
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF

Clay Buchholz, RHP

Rays
Desmond Jennings, CF
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Matt Joyce, DH
Yunel Escobar, SS
James Loney, 1B
Jose Molina, C
Kelly Johnson, LF
Sam Fuld, RF

Alex Cobb, RHP

8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox needed that extra-inning win on Saturday.

After two losses in a row, including a devastating loss following a blown save on Wednesday night, the Sox needed to regain the momentum they established out of the gate this season, and perhaps a walk-off victory can do that. The Red Sox will now try to make it two in a row against the Rays on Sunday.

Clay Buchholz will try for his third win of the season. Jon Lester failed in his attempt for win No. 3 on Saturday, although the left-hander pitched very well in his seven innings of work. Buchholz will go up against Alex Cobb, who is making his first start since April 6.

Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in to NESN for Red Sox coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, and stay right here throughout the afternoon for all types of craziness.

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