Clay Buchholz Retakes Mound Looking to Protect Undefeated Record As Red Sox Take on Rays

Clay BuchholzThe one positive for Clay Buchholz to take away from his prolonged absence with a neck strain was, at least he stayed undefeated.

Buchholz would surely much rather try his luck on the mound, as he will Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, than watch from afar, as he has for the past 94 days. He will take the mound for the first time since June 8 looking to help the Red Sox extend their 7 1/2-game lead in the American League East, the largest division lead in the AL.

Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA) will be backed by a surging lineup. Even including Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox have scored 57 runs in their last five games. Dustin Pedroia leads off, and Mike Napoli assumes the cleanup spot against left-hander David Price (8-7, 3.51 ERA).

Tampa is trying to maintain its distance from the Orioles and Indians, who are now just 1 1/2 games back for the second wild-card spot. They will be looking for a bounce-back performance from Price, who was knocked around for six runs in his last start but has held the Red Sox in check with a 2-1 record and 2.55 ERA against Boston this season.

The complete lineups appear below.

Boston Red Sox (87-58)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Daniel Nava, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS

Clay Buchholz, P

Tampa Bay Rays (78-64)
David DeJesus, RF
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Matt Joyce, LF
James Loney, 1B
Luke Scott, DH
Desmond Jennings, RF
Jose Molina, C
Yunel Escobar, SS

David Price, P

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