Red Sox-Yankees Live: New York Threatens Late, But Pitching of Clay Buchholz Leads Sox to 7-4 Win

Clay BuchholzFinal, Red Sox 7-4: Shane Victorino settles under Ben Francisco’s fly ball and that will do it. The Red Sox pick up their second consecutive win on the heels of a very efficient pitching performance by Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz allowed one run on six hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out four to pick up his first win of the season and lead Boston to its first 2-0 start since 1999.

Misfortune struck the Yankees early in this one, as starter Hiroki Kuroda left the game in the second inning with a bruised middle finger after he lunged for a Shane Victorino line drive with his pitching hand. This forced New York to go to its bullpen far earlier than manager Joe Girardi would have preferred, and the Red Sox capitalized.

Six Boston hitters drove in runs and five recorded multiple hits in the contest as the Sox jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. The game had all the makings of a blowout in the early going, but Vernon Wells cut the Boston lead to 7-4 with a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. The Yankees put another runner on in the ninth, but closer Joel Hanrahan struck out Brett Gardner and induced Francisco’s fly out to shut the door.

Thanks for following along tonight. We’ll be back right here again tomorrow to take you through the third and final game of this season-opening series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with coverage beginning on NESN at 6 p.m.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 7-4: The Red Sox threatened against Shawn Kelly, putting runners on second and third with two outs, but the reliever got Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground out second, bringing us to the bottom of the ninth.

Shane Victorino showed some nice hustle in the frame, sprinting his way to second base when shortstop Eduardo Nunez couldn’t handle a hard-hit ground ball.

The Sox will send closer Joel Hanrahan to the mound to try to close this one out.

End 8th, Red Sox 7-4: Andrew Miller’s second outing of the year went about as smoothly as his first, as the reliever was lifted after just two batters.

Miller beaned pinch hitter Ben Francisco before getting Robinson Cano to fly out to center, after which Alfredo Aceves was called upon to make his first appearance of the season.

Miller was similarly wild in his relief appearance Monday, throwing 21 pitches and walking two in just 2/3 of an inning of work.

His replacement did not fare much better, as Aceves surrendered a single by Kevin Youkilis, a weak groundout by Travis Hafner and a three-run homer off the bat of Vernon Wells.

Wells, who is now 3-for-4 on the nigth, has been the lone offensive spark in the Yankees lineup. The top of the New York order has been dreadful, with Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Cano going a combined 0-for-10.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-1: Adam Warren has almost single-handedly kept this game from spiraling completely out of control.

Despite issuing his first walk of the night, Warren completed his fifth full inning of relief without a scratch. He’s scattered five hits and just one run since taking over with two outs in the third inning, throwing an impressive 83 pitches (53 for strikes) out of the ‘pen.

Daniel Nava was the recipient of that one base on balls, his third time reaching base in what has been an impressive season debut for the 30-year-old.

Clay Buchholz’s night is indeed over, as Andrew Miller strolls to the mound for the bottom of the eighth.

End 7th, Red Sox 7-1: That will likely put a lid on Clay Buchholz’s outing, as the Red Sox hurler fights his way through another jam.

After Vernon Wells grounded out to open the inning, Lyle Overbay singled and Eduardo Nunez drew a five-pitch walk, prompting a visit to the mound from Boston pitching coach Juan Nieves.

Buchholz seemed to lose his handle a bit in the early stages of the seventh, but he regained his composure after the conference. He struck out pinch hitter Brennan Boesch on four pitches — all on the inside part of the plate — and induced a deep fly ball by leadoff hitter Brett Gardner that Jacoby Ellsbury camped out to end the threat.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 7-1: The teams trade 1-2-3 innings as we head into the seventh inning stretch. The Yankees’ half was relatively uneventful, but we saw a few exciting moments when the Sox picked the bats up.

With Mike Napoli reaching on an infield single last inning, Will Middlebrooks is now the only Red Sox player without a hit this season. He came just short again in the seventh, as Brett Gardner hauled in Middlebrooks’ deep fly ball with his back against the center field fence. The Sox dugout gave the young third baseman some encouragement when he returned to the bench though, giving him a nice round of smiles and back pats.

The frame also featured the defensive play of the night, as Yankees catcher Chris Stewart stretched into the Boston dugout to haul in a Shane Victorino foul ball.

New York now has three innings left to make up a six-run deficit.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 7-1: The Red Sox may be facing a predicament if Stephen Drew is indeed ready to return to the team next week.

In Drew’s place, Jose Iglesias has hit in five of his eight plate appearances, with his latest coming in the form of a single down the left field line that was a carbon copy of the double he laced back in the third inning. Iglesias considered trying for second again, but decided against it.

The hit triggered another big inning for the Sox, as Jacoby Ellsbury beat out a double play and Daniel Nava followed with a double that hit halfway up the right field wall. Nava has put on a good showing in his season debut, going 2-for-3 with an RBI so far.

Dustin Pedroia brought the fleet-footed Ellsbury home with an RBI groundout and Mike Napoli finally recorded his first hit as a member of the Red Sox, beating out an infield single. Jarrod Saltalamacchia swung and missed for his second strikeout of the night to end the inning.

End 5th, Red Sox 6-1: Clay Buchholz didn’t mow through the fifth inning like he did in the first few, but he kept the Yankees off the scoreboard.

Eduardo Nunez singled up the middle and stole second two batters later, putting a runner in scoring position with two outs, but Ichiro Suzuki’s fly ball was easily tracked down by Jacoby Ellsbury to end the threat.

Buchholz found himself deeper in counts in this inning, needing eight and six pitches to retire Brett Gardner and Suzuki, respectively, after reaching just one three-ball count through the first four innings.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-1: Three up, three down and the Red Sox go down in order again.

Will Middlebrooks came close to picking up his first hit of the season to lead off the inning, but his fly ball didn’t have quite enough power and fell into Ichiro Suzuki’s glove at the warning track.

Shane Victorino then struck out after reaching base in his first two at-bats and Jackie Bradley Jr. lofted a lazy fly ball that was caught by left fielder Vernon Wells.

The lead remains at five as we pass the halfway point.

End 4th, Red Sox 6-1: Even this depleted Yankees lineup still has some pop, as Travis Hafner illustrated in the fourth.

The longtime Indian blasted his first homer in pinstripes, sending the first pitch he saw from Clay Buchholz over the center field fence. Vernon Wells also reached on a line-drive single down the third-base line, but Buchholz was otherwise solid, striking out Kevin Youkilis looking and getting Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay to ground out.

The Sox have to be pleased with the performance of their pitching staff so far, as Buchholz has followed up Jon Lester’s strong effort on Opening Day by largely shutting down New York for four innings tonight. The right-hander has thrown 43 pitches thus far (30 for strikes), allowed four hits and issued one free pass.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 6-0: The Yankees finally get a break, as the Sox send just three batters to the plate in the fourth.

Dustin Pedroia singled to open the inning, but Mike Napoli grounded into a double play and Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging to end the frame.

Napoli has yet to find his groove this season. As the Red Sox’ cleanup hitter, he has gone 0-for-8 in this series and has failed to reach base.

End 3rd, Red Sox 6-0: The 26-minute layoff did not seem to bother Clay Buchholz, as the Yankees go down in order again in the third.

Buchholz needed just 11 pitches to get through the frame, inducing a pair of fly outs and striking out Brett Gardner for his first K of the night.

A quick update on Hiroki Kuroda: his injury is being reported as a bruised middle finger, with x-rays and further examination to follow.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 6-0: Here’s another first for Jackie Bradley Jr.

After reaching on a hit-by-pitch and scoring in the second, Bradley picked up the first hit of his major league career an inning later, driving in Shane Victorino with a single up the middle off Cody Eppley.

Victorino drove in a run in the frame as well, singling home Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a line drive to left. Vernon Wells tried to make a bid to catch Salty, who does not run particularly well, at home, but the throw was cut off by Kevin Youkilis.

After Bradley’s single, Jose Iglesias proved that he can indeed hit the ball out of the infield, rifling a double just inside the third base bag. That hit chased Eppley from the game, and Jacoby Ellsbury proceeded to bring both Bradley and Iglesias home with a single up the middle off new reliever Adam Warren that broke the game wide open.

Warren then got Daniel Nava to ground out to end the inning, but the damage was done. The Sox lead 6-0 heading into the bottom of the third.

End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Vernon Wells opened the frame with his first hit of the season (a line drive to left), but that was all the Yankees would get.

Lyle Overbay, who spent spring training with the Red Sox, followed Wells by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Overbay’s grounder handcuffed Jose Iglesias a bit, but the shortstop was able to shuffle it to second base and Dustin Pedroia fired to first to complete the twin killing.

Eduardo Nunez ended the inning with a fly out to right.

Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks will come to the plate for Boston in the third.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Cody Eppley makes quick work of Dustin Pedroia to escape the jam, getting the second baseman to ground into a 6-3 double play.

The injury to Hiroki Kuroda has huge implications for the already short-staffed Yankees, though. It will obviously be a serious blow to the rotation if the team’s No. 2 starter is forced to miss any significant time, but regardless of the severity of the injury, it already forces New York to break out its bullpen far earlier than Joe Girardi would have preferred.

Top 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Shane Victorino’s single up the middle ricocheted off Kuroda’s bare right hand, and the righty is feeling the effects of it.

Kuroda beaned the next batter, Jackie Bradley Jr., in the back of the leg with a pitch that he clearly lost control of. The weather can’t be helping the situation, as the cold temperatures really hamper a pitcher’s ability to find the correct grip on the ball.

Those control problems continued as the inning progressed. After Jose Iglesias grounded into a fielder’s choice — with the ball not leaving the dirt in front of home plate — Kuroda walked Ellsbury and hit Nava with a pitch around the ankles, bringing Bradley home for the Sox’ second run of the night.

That will do it for Kuroda’s outing, as Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild sends him to the dugout. Sidearm right-hander Cody Eppley will come on in relief with one out and the bases loaded.

End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: The Yankees threatened in their half of the first, but Buchholz managed to remain unscathed.

Brett Gardner opened the inning with a bunt — something both Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Nava attempted in the last half-inning — but Will Middlebrooks made a nice read on the ball down the third-base line and threw to first in time to retire the speedy Gardner.

Ichiro then worked a six-pitch walk, and the next three New York batters send balls into the outfield. Jackie Bradley Jr. tracked down Robinson Cano’s fly ball to left, making a sharp relay throw to keep Suzuki at first base.

He proceeded to advance to second on an 0-2 single by Kevin Youkilis, but the Yankees stranded two when DH Travis Hafner flew out to deep right field.

Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Kuroda has traditionally pitched well against Boston, but the Sox got to the right-hander in the top of the first.

After Jacoby Ellsbury popped out to open the game, Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia singled to put runners on first and second. Neither ball was hit particularly hard, with Nava’s dribbling between third base and shortstop and Pedroia’s soaring just over the head of second baseman Robinson Cano.

That’s when the bats began to warm up a bit. Mike Napoli flew out to deep center field, allowing Nava to advance to third, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia brought Nava home with a sharp ground ball up the middle for the catcher’s first RBI of the season.

Pedroia advanced to third on play, but was stranded there when Will Middlebrooks struck out to end the frame.

Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Cano are due up for the Yanks against Clay Buchholz.

7:10 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes the first pitch from Hiroki Kuroda for strike one and we are under way on a chilly night in the Bronx.

6:10 p.m.: With first pitch just under an hour away, we have an update on two Red Sox players that won’t be taking the field tonight.

Injured shortstop Stephen Drew, who has missed almost a month since being hit in the head with a pitch on March 7, may return to the lineup as soon as next week. Drew made four plate appearances in an extended spring training game today and is expected to continue his rehab at Double-A Portland, with Monday’s home opener being eyed as a possible return date.

David Ortiz is also continuing on his road to recovery. He will reportedly take 25-30 at-bats at the Triple-A level in Pawtucket, with manager John Farrell projecting a mid-April return to the majors for the designated hitter.

5 p.m.: The lineups for tonight have been released, and both sides are shaking things up a bit.

Daniel Nava will see his first action of the season as Boston’s designated hitter after Jonny Gomes went 2-for-4 with a walk out of that spot on Monday. He’ll bat second for the Sox, with right fielder Shane Victorino sliding down to the No. 7 slot.

Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay will both be in the Yankees’ lineup after entering as pinch hitters on Monday. They’ll start at DH and first base, respectively. Chris Stewart also makes his first start of the year behind the plate for the Bombers.

Here are your full starting lineups:

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

Clay Buchholz, P

Yankees
Brett Gardner, CF
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Travis Hafner, DH
Vernon Wells, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Chris Stewart, C

Hiroki Kuroda, P

3:50 p.m. ET: The Red Sox knew they wanted to get off on the right foot this season, but on Monday, they got more than even that with a strong 8-2 Opening Day victory over the Yankees. Jon Lester was clicking, Jackie Bradley Jr. was fulfilling expectations, and Boston put a W behind its talk of a fresh start in the first opportunity of the season.

Clay Buchholz will be on the mound as the Red Sox and Yankees go at it again Wednesday night. Like Lester, Buchholz had his ups and downs last year. He wants to show that he’s the pitcher who was almost unhittable for much of the summer, not the one who started the season with 33 earned runs allowed in six games. It will be an uphill climb for the righty, who is 2-5 with a 7.19 ERA in nine starts against the Yankees (0-2, 15.26 ERA last year).

Buchholz brings an 11-8 record and 4.56 ERA in 2012 against the pitcher who may have been the Yankees’ best last year: Hiroki Kuroda. The right-hander went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA, and he was one of New York’s most consistent performers as CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes dealt with injuries and inconsistency. Kuroda struck out 167 batters in 219 2/3 innings pitched last year, both career highs.

The Red Sox can not only get themselves off to a 2-0 start this season with a win — and stick another one to the fumbling, aging Yanks — but they can also even up their record at Yankee Stadium. Boston is 18-19 at the new place in the Bronx.

It’s all due to start at 6 p.m., with first pitch coming at 7:05. Flip over to NESN to see the Sox get ready for action, and follow along here for updates and analysis throughout the game.

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