Final, Blue Jays 3-2: Will Middlebrooks led off the ninth inning with a double, but the Red Sox couldn’t knock him in and the Blue Jays escape with a 3-2 victory.
The Red Sox showed plenty of fight by rallying for two runs in the eighth inning to tie the game, but a huge home run by Adam Lind off Junichi Tazawa in the ninth was the difference.
Clay Buchholz and Mark Buehrle each turned in a solid outing, but neither pitcher factored in the decision. Buehrle pitched seven innings before the Sox got to Darren Oliver in the eighth, and Buchholz pitched eight frames.
The Red Sox, who were hoping to get back on track after Jon Lester’s one-hit gem on Friday night, have now lost seven of their last nine games. They’ll face the Blue Jays in a rubber match on Sunday. Ryan Dempster will go up against Brandon Morrow, and the action will start up at 1:35 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Blue Jays 3-2: It took one batter for the Blue Jays to recapture the lead in the ninth inning.
Junichi Tazawa took over after eight solid innings from Clay Buchholz, and Adam Lind welcomed him to the ballgame in a big way. Lind stayed back on a hanging slider and blasted it over the center-field wall to give the Jays a 3-2 lead.
Tazawa quickly got ahead in the count against Lind. He fooled him with a curveball to run the count to 0-2, but Lind battled from there, laying off two pitches and fouling off another before jumping all over the sixth pitch he saw.
Brett Lawrie followed up with a single down the right-field line, but he was wiped off the bases on a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play with Colby Rasmus at the dish.
Will Middlebrooks, Stephen Drew and David Ross are due up against Casey Janssen in the ninth inning.
End 8th, 2-2: All the Red Sox needed was Mark Buehrle out of the game.
After Buehrle exited following a leadoff walk by David Ross, the Red Sox put up two runs to tie the ballgame.
Darren Oliver was the man called upon to replace Buehrle, and he immediately ran into trouble when Jacoby Ellsbury drilled an 0-1 fastball over Colby Rasmus’ head in center field. Ross scored all the way from first base, and Ellsbury motored his way into third with a standup triple.
Shane Victorino struck out swinging for the first out, but Ellsbury scored when shortstop Munenori Kawasaki couldn’t handle a hot shot off the bat of Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia, who represented the potential go-ahead run, moved into scoring position by stealing second base. Oliver ensured the game remained tied, though. He struck out David Ortiz, and then struck out Jonny Gomes after intentionally walking Mike Napoli with first base open.
4:35 p.m., Blue Jays 2-0: David Ross put up a fantastic at-bat to lead off the eighth inning. He worked a nine-pitch walk, and that’ll do it for Mark Buehrle, who leaves after a job well done.
The ageless Darren Oliver is coming on to pitch for Toronto.
Mid 8th, Blue Jays 2-0: Clay Buchholz and J.P. Arencibia had themselves a little battle at the tail end of the eighth inning. Buchholz emerged victorious, and we’re still looking at a 2-0 game.
Arencibia stepped in with two outs and Jose Bautista — who singled two batters prior — on first. The Blue Jays catcher fell behind 1-2, but he didn’t go down easy. Arencibia fouled off three pitches and laid off a very close pitch on the inside corner before Buchholz finally won the battle by dropping in a curveball.
That might be the afternoon for Buchholz, who has thrown 101 pitches. Junichi Tazawa started warming up in the Red Sox’ bullpen, and John Farrell may opt to go with him in the ninth.
End 7th, Blue Jays 2-0: This is by far Mark Buehrle’s best start of the season.
Buehrle had another very quick frame in the seventh. All three outs were ground-ball outs as Jonny Gomes, Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew went down in order.
Buehrle, like Buchholz, has a manageable pitch count going. He’s thrown 96 pitches through seven innings, and more importantly, the results have been very impressive.
Buehrle entered the game with a 7.02 ERA. He allowed five runs or more in five of his seven starts, and only once did he pitch seven innings.
Mid 7th, Blue Jays 2-0: We’re rolling at Fenway right now, as the innings are coming and going at a rapid pace. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they find themselves on the losing end of a 2-0 contest.
Clay Buchholz enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning on nine pitches in the seventh. The right-hander experienced a hiccup in the third and fourth innings, but he’s otherwise been solid.
Colby Rasmus — who had an RBI earlier — and Munenori Kawasaki each grounded out to first base in the inning. Emilio Bonifacio flied out in-between.
Buchholz has thrown 87 pitches, so there’s a chance we could see him go the distance if he stays settled in. There’s currently no action in the Boston bullpen. Amazingly, 26 of those pitches came in the third inning alone.
End 6th, Blue Jays 2-0: Mark Buehrle has really settled in.
Buehrle retired the side in order again in the sixth inning. This time, it took the lefty 12 pitches to take of business.
Dustin Pedroia grounded back to the mound and David Ortiz flied out. Buehrle ended the inning by striking out Mike Napoli for the second time.
Mid 6th, Blue Jays 2-0: The pace is definitely picking up, which is probably a good thing considering the overcast conditions.
Clay Buchholz needed just nine pitches to record three straight outs — two of which were ground-ball outs — in the sixth.
I mentioned earlier that Will Middlebrooks, despite some defensive shortcomings, tends to charge balls really well. Perhaps it’s his work with Mike Lowell in the offseason paying off, or perhaps it’s something he developed on his own. Whatever the case, he made his second impressive barehanded play of the game in the sixth inning. J.P. Arencibia hit a slow roller that Middlebrooks scooped up with a gloveless palm before delivering a very strong throw to first.
Adam Lind bounced to first base for the second out. Mike Napoli made the play on the back hand, and he actually had to make a pretty lengthy toss to Buchholz, who was covering the bag. It wasn’t a huge throw, but it forced Napoli to go overhand.
Brett Lawrie hit a tailing line drive to Shane Victorino to end the inning.
End 5th, Blue Jays 2-0: Mark Buehrle needed just seven pitches to complete another scoreless inning in the fifth.
David Ross led off with a ground ball in the hole that shortstop Munenori Kawasaki took care of on the back hand. Kawasaki followed up the assist with a put out when the next hitter, Jacoby Ellbury, popped up in the infield.
Shane Victorino was aggressive, jumping on a first-pitch fastball with two outs. He got under it, though, and Colby Rasmus hauled it in in center field.
Mid 5th, Blue Jays 2-0: Clay Buchholz flashed a little leather in the fifth inning.
All too often, we see pitchers get injured because they instinctively stick up their bare hand on comebackers to the mound. In the fifth, Munenori Kawasaki led off with hot smash up the middle. Fortunately, Buchholz didn’t stick out his bare hand. Instead, he managed to twist his body and get a glove on it. Not only did that free him from injury, but it led to an out at first base.
Buchholz issued a two-out walk to Jose Bautista, but that was Toronto’s only baserunner. Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to third base to end the inning.
End 4th, Blue Jays 2-0: Even though the Red Sox haven’t scored, they’ve had some chances. That wasn’t the case in the fourth inning, though.
Mark Buehrle retired the Red Sox in order. Jonny Gomes popped out, Will Middlebrooks struck out and Stephen Drew grounded out.
Buehrle got Middlebrooks swinging on a changeup for his fourth strikeout. It capped off a sequence of three straight offspeed pitches after two fastballs to begin the at-bat.
Mid 4th, Blue Jays 2-0: The Blue Jays looked much more comfortable in the box against Clay Buchholz during the last two frames. Toronto added a second run in the fourth inning.
Adam Lind led off with his second hit of the game — a single into left field. He advanced to second on what was essentially a swinging bunt by Brett Lawrie. Will Middlebrooks had to charge in to field Lawrie’s slow roller, and he made a very nice barehanded play to record the out at first. Middlebrooks has struggled a bit defensively of late, but charging in and using the bare hand is one thing he’s done well.
Colby Rasmus knocked in the run with a single into right field. Shane Victorino — who leads the Red Sox in outfield assists — charged in and had thoughts of throwing out Lind at the plate, but he bobbled the ball, which allowed Lind to score standing up.
Emilio Bonifacio ended the inning by grounding into a double play.
End 3rd, Blue Jays 1-0: The Red Sox have five hits but nothing to show for them.
Two of Boston’s hits came in the third inning, although the first ended with an out.
Dustin Pedroia smacked a line drive into left field that got by Melky Cabrera and bounced to the wall. Pedroia tried to stretch the hit into a double, but Cabrera came up firing with a good throw to nail Pedey at second.
David Ortiz, who entered the game 0-for-13 over his last three games, singled into center field with two outs. Mark Buehrle got out of the inning by striking out Mike Napoli.
Mid 3rd, Blue Jays 1-0: Clay Buchholz was shaky in the third inning, and the Blue Jays put up a run on two hits and two walks.
Colby Rasmus walked to begin the inning. Clay Buchholz bounced back to strike out Emilio Bonifacio with a nice-looking four-seamer on the outside corner, but some trouble ensued after that.
Munenori Kawasaki dropped down a bunt. David Ross came out from behind the plate to gun down Kawasaki just in time, but the bunt did the job in advancing Rasmus to second base. That was big, as Rasmus scored when the next batter, Melky Cabrera, lined a single into left field.
The Blue Jays built on their threat some more. Jose Bautista singled and Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases. Fortunately for the Sox, Buchholz escaped any additional damage by retiring J.P. Arencibia on a fly out to right
Buchholz’s biggest problem in the third inning was his control. All things considered, the Red Sox are lucky to only be facing a one-run deficit.
End 2nd, 0-0: The second inning was similar to the first inning for the Red Sox’ offense. Boston put two runners on with one out, but failed to score.
On the bright side for Boston, Will Middlebrooks is starting to show some offensive improvement despite battling a rib issue. He connected for two doubles on Friday, and he went the other way down the right-field line to pick up a double in the second inning of this one.
Stephen Drew was his usual patient self after that. He worked a five-pitch walk to set up runners at first and second, but Mark Buehrle battled back from that point on.
Buehrle went to the curveball to strike out David Ross. The pitched clocked in at 72 mph, and it looked even slower than that. I thought I was checking out a Backyard Baseball slo-mo ball firsthand.
Jacoby Ellsbury ended the inning by grounding to first. The ground ball produced a rather tricky in-between hop, but Adam Lind fielded it cleanly and flipped to Buehrle for the out.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: We won’t have any near-perfect game drama in this one, as the Blue Jays put a runner on in the second inning. Clay Buchholz made sure Toronto didn’t do much with him, though.
J.P. Arencibia grounded out to first base for the first out of the inning, and Adam Lind — who entered Friday’s game once Rajai Davis left with an injury — singled into right-center. As quickly as Lind got on the bases, he was wiped right off.
Brett Lawrie grounded to second base to kick off an easy, inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play.
End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox’ offense struggled mightily with runners on base before breaking out for a four-run seventh inning on Friday. The unit isn’t off to the greatest start in that department in this one.
After Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a ground out to second base, Shane Victorino dropped a bunt down the third-base line. It’s something we’ve seen Victorino do a few times this season when the third baseman is playing back, and it resulted in a one-out single this time around.
Dustin Pedroia followed up with a single — of the regular variety — and that put runners at first and second for David Ortiz. Ortiz couldn’t capitalize, though, and neither could Mike Napoli. Ortiz flied out to right and Napoli flied out to left-center.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The 51-minute rain delay didn’t mess with Clay Buchholz’s head at all. The right-hander looked very sharp in the first inning.
Buchholz retired the side in order, and picked up two strikeouts in the process. He struck out both Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista, who each moved up in the lineup on Saturday because of Rajai Davis’ injury.
Buchholz made quick work of Cabrera to begin the game. He started the Toronto left fielder off with a fastball on the outside corner, and then dropped in a curveball for the second strike. That had Cabrera thinking fastball, and Buchholz caught him off balance with a changeup down and away.
Buchholz picked up two strikes on fastballs against Bautista before going to the curveball to sit the slugger down looking. Edwin Encarnacion flied out to right field on the first pitch he saw to end the inning.
2:26 p.m.: Clay Buchholz paints the outside black with his first pitch after a 51-minute delay, and we’re under way.
2:20 p.m.: Before we get started, let’s take a look at how Clay Buchholz has fared against the Blue Jays. Close your eyes, Toronto fans.
Buchholz owns a 2.42 ERA (27 earned runs in 100 1/3 innings) in his career against the Jays. That’s his second-lowest mark against any American League club — he owns a 2.20 ERA against the Royals — and it’s the third-lowest mark against the Blue Jays by any active pitcher with at least 100 innings versus Toronto.
Then again, there aren’t a whole lot of teams who have had success against Buchholz recently. He owns a 2.93 ERA in his last 27 starts (dating back to May 27, 2012).
1:55 p.m.: The tarp is coming off the field, and the expected start time is 2:25 p.m. Plan accordingly, folks.
1:30 p.m.: Here’s some bad news. The tarp is on the field as the rain begins to fall. Hopefully, it will pass, but this could be a long afternoon. Stick around.
1:15 p.m.: Fun fact: Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer is at the game.
12:55 p.m.: We’ll be coming up on game time real soon, which means this is generally the time when I ramble on about something from across the league. After this week, how can that something not be the umpiring?
The league office was certainly busy apologizing for umpiring screw-ups this week — first with Angel Hernandez’s blown call on Wednesday and then with Fieldin Culbreth and Co.’s brain fart when it came to the rule book on Thursday.
Major League Baseball took an unusual step in suspending Culbreth for two games, while fining the rest of the crew. It’s a rather unusual move, but it’s one I think had to be made. I generally like to give umpires the benefit of the doubt, but at some point, they must be held accountable, especially when something so basic becomes an issue.
12:40 p.m.: Jonny Gomes will be in the Red Sox’ starting lineup with left-hander Mark Buehrle on the hill. He’ll bat sixth and play left field.
There is a pretty big change to the Blue Jays’ lineup. Rajai Davis has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique. Davis, who left Friday’s game, said the injury has been nagging him since earlier this week. Melky Cabrera will bat leadoff in Davis’ absence, and Jose Bautista will move up to the No. 2 spot — which is rather unconventional for such a power hitter.
The rest of Saturday’s lineups are below.
Red Sox (22-14)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP (6-0, 1.60 ERA)
Blue Jays (13-24)
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
J.P. Arencibia, C
Adam Lind, 1B
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
Munenori Kawasaki, SS
Mark Buehrle, LHP (1-2, 7.02 ERA)
12:15 p.m.: It’s official. Joel Hanrahan’s season is over.
Hanrahan said Saturday that after getting a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, he has decided to undergo season-ending surgery. Hanrahan, who was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Thursday, has a torn flexor muscle tendon.
The typical recovery time for surgery on the flexor muscle tendon is six- to nine months, but Hanrahan is not setting a timetable for his return to the mound at this point. There’s still a chance that doctors could determine he needs Tommy John surgery, which would lengthen the necessary recovery/rehab period. Hanrahan expects to undergo surgery sometime next week.
While the Red Sox now have some clarity regarding Hanrahan’s status, the reliever’s future is very much unclear. The 31-year-old is slated to become a free agent after this season, so there’s a chance he may have thrown his last pitch in Boston.
“Hopefully I’ll get another chance here maybe and I want to try to show the fans here what kind of pitcher I really am,” Hanrahan said Saturday. “This year has kind of been a wash. Now it’s definitely a wash. We’ll see where it takes me from there.”
8 a.m. ET: How do you follow up that performance?
Jon Lester twirled an absolute gem on Friday to open up the Red Sox’ weekend series against the Blue Jays. He went the distance and gave up just one hit — a sixth-inning double by Maicer Izturis — while blanking the Jays in a 5-0 victory. It helped the Sox stop a three-game skid, and it could help the club get back on track after losing six of seven.
Clay Buchholz will take the mound for Boston on Saturday. The last time he faced the Blue Jays, it was up in Toronto and he was accused of doctoring the baseball. He shut down the Jays in that game, though, and he’ll look to do the same while going up against Mark Buehrle.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Be sure to keep it right here with NESN.com for all of the matinee fun.