Final, Red Sox 10-1: The Red Sox had it all clicking on Wednesday. Clayton Mortensen finished off the Blue Jays in the ninth inning, and Boston once again bounced back from a loss in impressive fashion.
The Red Sox, who fell to Toronto 9-7 in the series opener, started off the month of May on a positive note by downing the Jays 10-1. The Sox’ offense banged out five home runs, including two from Mike Napoli, while controlling the game throughout. Stephen Drew, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp also went deep.
Clay Buchholz tossed seven scoreless innings to pick up the victory, and he becomes baseball’s first six-game winner. Buchholz gave up just two hits, walked three and struck out eight. His record improves to 6-0, and his ERA sits at 1.01.
All in all, it’s hard to complain with anything the Red Sox did on Wednesday night. In fact, with the Bruins and Celtics also winning their playoff games, it was an impressive night for Boston sports all around.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will do it one more time at Rogers Centre on Thursday night. Ryan Dempster and J.A. Happ will square off in the series finale, with the game’s first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 10-1: The Red Sox’ home run barrage continues.
Mike Carp — pinch-hitting for David Ortiz — yanked a one-out dinger over the left-field wall to extend Boston’s lead to 9-1. It’s the Red Sox’ fifth home run of the game. (Mike Napoli has two home runs. Stephen Drew, Daniel Nava and Carp each have one.)
Napoli wasn’t satisfied with just his two home runs, though. After Carp went deep, Napoli smacked a ground-rule double to left. He scored when Daniel Nava singled into center.
Stephen Drew also added his third hit in the ninth inning.
End 8th, Red Sox 8-1: Edwin Encarnacion worked a full count against Clayton Mortensen after Mortensen took over, but the at-bat ended with Encarnacion grounding out to short.
Stephen Drew charged in and delivered a strong throw on the run to retire Encarnacion and keep the Blue Jays from putting up any more runs in the eighth.
9:35 p.m., Red Sox 8-1: The Blue Jays were certainly glad to see Clay Buchholz exit the ballgame.
After being held down for seven innings, the Jays got on the scoreboard against Alex Wilson.
Maicer Izturis led off with a single, and he scored when Brett Lawrie connected on a one-out triple.
The run allowed by Wilson is the first he has surrendered. Entering Wednesday, the 26-year-old pitched in six games, during which he tossed six scoreless innings.
Jose Bautista walked with two outs to set up runners at the corners, and that’ll do it for Wilson. Clayton Mortensen is taking over.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 8-0: The Red Sox nearly added to their commanding lead in the eighth inning, but Justin Germano settled down to escape a jam.
Stephen Drew hit a one-out single into right field. David Ross then lined a ball into left field that kicked up over the fence for a ground-rule double. Since it bounced over the wall, Drew could only advance as far as third base.
That’s when Germano settled down to get Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes on a pair of ground outs to keep the deficit at eight.
Alex Wilson is coming on to pitch the eighth inning for Boston.
End 7th, Red Sox 8-0: Clay Buchholz is getting some congratulatory hugs in the Red Sox’ dugout, so his night could be over. If so, it was another fantastic outing.
Adam Lind worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, and Melky Cabrera followed up by smacking a ball that one-hopped the right-field wall. It looked as if the Blue Jays were en route to generating some offense, but Cabrera made the horrendous decision to try and stretch his hit into a double. He was out by a mile — maybe two miles.
That left Lind on third with two outs, and Buchholz struck out J.P. Arencibia looking to end the inning and likely his night.
Buchholz gave up just two hits, walked three and fanned eight in his seven scoreless innings. He threw 101 pitches (66 strikes).
Mid 7th, Red Sox 8-0: The Red Sox are really flexing their muscles.
The Sox sent Mark Buehrle to the showers in the seventh, and they proceeded to put four runs on the scoreboard.
David Ross grounded out to second and Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to center, but Buehrle’s night ended when he walked Jonny Gomes for the second time. That’s also when things got interesting.
Esmil Rogers took over for Buehrle, and he got ahead of Dustin Pedroia, who showed plenty of fight at the dish. Pedroia laid off a 1-2 slider in the dirt and a 2-2 slider with some added velocity. He then fouled off another offering before lining a single into center. Gomes went from first to third on the hit.
With David Ortiz batting, Rogers threw a wild pitch that allowed Gomes to score Boston’s fifth run. The Sox weren’t done, though, as Mike Napoli took it upon himself to perhaps put the game away.
Napoli crushed a fastball up over the Budweiser sign in left-center field. The three-run blast was Napoli’s second home run of the game, and his sixth of the season. It was an absolute moon shot.
Napoli went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on Tuesday. I’m sure he’s enjoying this game much more.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Clay Buchholz is cruising right along.
Brett Lawrie led off the sixth, and he grounded out to Dustin Pedroia at second base for the first out.
Colby Rasmus then blooped a pop up down the left-field line in foul territory. Will Middlebrooks raced out and made a very nice over-the-shoulder grab. It was an extremely difficult play, but Middlebrooks made it look easy.
Clay Buchholz ended the inning by striking out Jose Bautista for the second time. Buchholz should have had Bautista struck out on the fourth pitch of the at-bat, as he delivered a perfect curveball that froze Bautista — much like he did to pick up a strikeout in the first inning. Home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman determined that it was high, though, and Buchholz went to a 96-mph to strike out Bautista on the next pitch.
Buchholz has seven strikeouts total, and more importantly, the Jays are still without a run.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Stephen Drew got the Red Sox’ offense going with a two-run home run back in the second inning, but he has also grounded into two double plays, including one with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
David Ortiz, who flied out to the warning track earlier, went the other way with a breaking ball and drilled it off the left-field wall. Ortiz hustled out of the box and slid in safely with a leadoff double.
Mike Napoli walked, which prompted a mound visit, and Daniel Nava flied out for the first out. Will Middlebrooks then singled into left field, which loaded the bases for Drew.
Drew showed good patience and got into a favorable 3-1 count. Mark Buehrle got him to roll over a four-seam fastball, though, and Maicer Izturis was able to start a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Clay Buchholz followed up Mark Buehrle’s 1-2-3 inning with one of his own, and the pace is picking up in this game.
Buchholz got J.P. Arencibia and Maicer Izturis to ground out. He then struck out Munenori Kawasaki, who singled in his last at-bat.
Buchholz has had all of his pitches working thus far (go figure), and he’s up to six strikeouts for the game. He’s thrown 76 pitches (49 strikes) through five innings.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Mark Buehrle worked his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the fifth.
Buehrle started the frame off in impressive fashion, fanning Jacoby Ellsbury on three pitches. Buehrle set up Ellsbury with a pair of fastballs before pulling the string on a changeup in the dirt to get the Red Sox’ leadoff hitter.
Jonny Gomes flied out to center for out No. 2, and Dustin Pedroia popped out in foul territory along the third base line to end things.
The Red Sox have scored in alternating innings thus far, so maybe we should just go ahead and toss up two runs for the sixth.
End 4th, Red Sox Red Sox 4-0: Clay Buchholz kept rolling in the fourth inning.
Jose Bautista walked to start off the frame. It was the second free pass Buchholz has issued in this game, but the right-hander has done a very nice job of settling down after putting runners on.
Buchholz struck out Edwin Encarnacion for the first out. Encarnacion worked a hitter-friendly 3-1 count, but Buchholz went to a cutter-curveball combo to pick up the K.
Adam Lind and Melky Cabrera each flew out to center to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-0: Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava decided to carry the big sticks into May.
Napoli and Nava — who have been two of the Red Sox’ most potent offensive forces in the early going this season — connected on back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning.
Napoli’s blast came first. He jumped all over an offspeed offering from Mark Buehrle and drove it over the fence in center field. Colby Rasmus took about two steps back toward the wall before giving up on it, as it was absolutely crushed.
Nava’s dinger was nothing to sneeze at, either. He drove a cutter from Buehrle over the fence in left, and it too was a big blast. Napoli and Nava now each have five home runs on the season.
Will Middlebrooks followed up the long balls with a single, but Stephen Drew grounded into a double play. David Ross ended the inning with a ground out to third.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz scattered a one-out single, but he also struck out the side.
Maicer Izturis put up a nice battle against Buchholz, but the right-hander got him to wave at a fastball on the eighth pitch of the at-bat for the first out.
Munenori Kawasaki then shot a single up the middle and into center field, but it only seemed to ignite Buchholz.
Buchholz struck out both Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus — Toronto’s No. 1 and No. 2 hitter. Lawrie went down looking at a 95-mph fastball, while Rasmus fanned on a curveball that was low and inside.
Buchholz has four strikeouts total.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox put a runner on in the third inning, but couldn’t do anything with him.
Jonny Gomes worked a one-out walk. Dustin Pedroia nearly grounded into an inning-ending double play, but he hustled to beat out the throw on the back end.
It didn’t matter. David Ortiz grounded out to end the inning.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz enjoyed a 1-2-3 second inning, which was capped off by a nice play from Stephen Drew.
Adam Lind grounded out to third base to lead off the inning, and Melky Cabrera then hit a little roller to the right side. Buchholz came off the mound to make the play, which was actually a difficult one given his throw’s proximity to the runner. Buchholz had to worry about potentially hitting Cabrera in the back with his throw, but he was able to make the toss without any issues.
Stephen Drew, who went deep in the top half of the inning, made a rangy play in the field to end the bottom half. J.P. Arencibia chopped a ground ball over the second base bag, but Drew was there. The shortstop made the play, turned, fired and threw out the Jays catcher at first base.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Mark Buehrle made two mistakes in the second inning, and the Red Sox have a 2-0 lead as a result.
Buehrle picked up two quick outs by getting both Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava to fly out. He ran into some trouble by plunking Will Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks, who fouled off three consecutive pitches, was in the hole 1-2 when he was hit by Buehrle. That’s something that drives a pitcher nuts, especially considering there were already two outs in the inning.
After Middlebrooks took his base, Buehrle missed with his first pitch to Stephen Drew. The right-hander’s second pitch sailed right over the heart of the plate, and Drew made him pay, connecting on a two-run blast to right field.
The home run is Drew’s first as a member of the Red Sox.
End 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz lost Colby Rasmus and issued a one-out walk, but it didn’t prove to be damaging.
Brett Lawrie grounded out to begin things, and Buchholz quickly got ahead of Rasmus 0-2. The right-hander then missed with four straight pitches, though, which allowed Rasmus to reach.
Buchholz and slugger Jose Bautista engaged in what was mostly a battle of wits. There were a couple of timeouts during the at-bat, but Buchholz eventually picked up a strikeout.
Buchholz froze Bautista with a 2-2 curveball on the outside corner. Bautista even flinched a bit, which really goes to show how nasty the pitch was.
Edwin Encarnacion flew out to right field to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: David Ortiz nearly added to his impressive start, but Jose Bautista managed to track down a fly ball on the warning track to keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the first inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a little dribbler off the end of the bat. Third baseman Brett Lawrie charged in and attempted to make a barehanded play, but he was unable to do so. Even if Lawrie had fielded the hit cleanly, though, there’s still a good chance Ellsbury would have reached safely.
Jonny Gomes flew out for the first out. Ellsbury then moved up to second base when Mark Buehrle fired an errant pickoff attempt over to first base. The throw forced Edwin Encarnacion to dive over the top of Ellsbury, but he couldn’t handle it.
Dustin Pedroia flew out softly to center for the second out, and Ortiz then got ahead in the count before connecting on a fly ball to deep right. It looked as if it had a chance to get over Bautista’s head, but he tracked it down and made a basket catch.
7:07 p.m.: Mark Buehrle’s first pitch is up and in for a ball. Away we go…
6:55 p.m.: As mentioned, Wednesday marks a busy day in Boston sports. Not only are the Red Sox visiting the Blue Jays in Toronto, but the Bruins and Celtics are both in playoff action.
The Bruins open up their postseason slate against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden, while the Celtics try to once again stave off elimination against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Wednesday’s Bruins-Leafs game will air on NESN, while the Sox-Jays showdown will air on NESNplus.
If you are looking for your NESNplus channel, click the link below.
Also feel free to check out NESN.com’s assortment of live blogs if you’re interested in keeping up with either the Bruins or Celtics throughout the evening.
6:35 p.m.: Clay Buchholz is looking to become baseball’s first six-game winner in what has been a special season thus far for the 28-year-old.
Buchholz’s 1.19 ERA is the sixth-best mark for a Red Sox pitcher’s first five starts to a season since 1920. It’s the lowest by a Red Sox pitcher through his first five starts in a season since Roger Clemens in 1991 (0.66).
History is certainly in Buchholz’s favor as he seeks win No. 6 in Toronto. Of pitchers with at least 55 innings pitched at the Rogers Centre, Buchholz holds the best ERA in the history of the ballpark. The right-hander has a 1.67 ERA in nine starts (59 1/3 innings).
6:25 p.m.: The Blue Jays will be rolling out left-hander Mark Buehrle on Wednesday, which means the Red Sox will counter with the right-handed hitting Jonny Gomes in left field.
Shane Victorino has been sidelined with a back injury, and Gomes and Mike Carp have been seeing an increase in their playing time as a result. Both took advantage on Tuesday. Carp went deep, and then Gomes pinch-hit for Carp later in the game and delivered a big fly of his own.
Victorino’s status is still up in the air. Red Sox manager John Farrell said the veteran outfielder is showing steady improvement, though.
“Right now, he’s making consistent progress,” Farrell said Wednesday on WEEI’s Salk & Holley Show. “We’re hopeful he takes full batting practice on the field today. He swung the bat in the cage yesterday. He threw out to 120 feet. He’s been on the elliptical, he’s been doing some running in the weight room, so he’s making satisfactory progress. He reported today feeling even further improved, so with each day, we’re getting to the point where we’re putting more intense baseball activities into the mix and he’s responding favorably.”
Victorino hasn’t played since leaving last Wednesday’s game against the Athletics — a span of five games. The Red Sox have so far opted to keep him off the disabled list, and it sounds like the outfielder is eyeing a Friday return.
“It’s getting to the point where a decision has to be made,” Victorino said. “My goal is to play the first game in Texas.”
If the Red Sox were to place Victorino on the DL, it would be retroactive to April 25 (the first day he missed).
As far as those who are playing on Wednesday night, the lineups are below.
Red Sox (18-8)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP (5-0, 1.19 ERA)
Blue Jays (10-17)
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Adam Lind, DH
Melky Cabrera, LF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Maicer Izturis, 2B
Munenori Kawasaki, SS
Mark Buehrle, LHP (1-1, 6.35 ERA)
11:30 a.m. ET: Wednesday evening is going to be quite the sports night in Boston, with the Celtics hoping to stave off elimination and the Bruins trying to start the playoffs on the right foot. But don’t think that the Red Sox aren’t eyeing a heated contest of their own — not with the leftovers from a bad loss Tuesday night stuck in their craw.
Plenty went wrong for the Sox in the first game of their series against the Blue Jays, including Jon Lester’s first poor outing of the year and a controversial play where Toronto scored runs on an errant Jarrod Saltalamacchia throw that should have been ruled a dead ball. With Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA) on the mound Wednesday night, though, Boston is primed to show that it is the team that has rampaged to the best record in the league, not the one that let one get away.
Buchholz has gone seven innings or more in every start this season, and he has strong career stats against the Blue Jays, although this lineup is quite different than the Toronto crew the Sox have faced in the past. Toronto will counter with Mark Buehrle (1-1, 6.35). Like most of the Blue Jays, Buehrle brings a strong pedigree but has yet to prove himself with Toronto this year.
The Red Sox will be over on NESNplus tonight, so be sure to see where you can catch the game, starting with Red Sox First Pitch at 6 p.m. before the action starts in Toronto at 7:07.