Red Sox Notes: Clay Buchholz Starting To Feel Like 2013 Version Again

Clay BuchholzBOSTON — The Boston Red Sox’s four-game winning streak ended in unusual fashion.

The Red Sox fell to the Houston Astros 5-3 in 10 innings Friday at Fenway Park. Boston carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning, but Houston tied the game on a strange play. The Astros later grabbed a victory when Jake Marisnick blooped a two-run double down the right field line.

The teams will meet two more times this weekend, with Rubby De La Rosa scheduled to face Brad Peacock in Saturday night’s clash. Let’s first go over some notes from Friday.

– Clay Buchholz was sharp for the second straight outing.

Buchholz allowed two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out nine, walked two and threw 110 pitches (75 strikes). Buchholz ran into trouble on occasion and ultimately coughed up a one-run lead with two outs in the seventh when Robbie Grossman smacked a solo homer. But overall, it was a strong effort.

“Last two times out, I’ve been able to throw curveballs behind or ahead in the count. For strike one or (with the count) 2-0, throw the curveball there for a strike,” Buchholz said after the game. “It’s sort of how I pitched last year. I just haven’t really been able to do it a whole lot this year. Last two times have been reminiscent of the 12, 13 starts I made at the beginning of last season, and then all of the other pitches fall into place whenever I get comfortable.”

Buchholz lasted eight innings in his previous start against the Los Angeles Angels, allowing three earned runs on six hits over eight innings while striking out eight and walking two.

– Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run in 10 career games at Fenway Park.

Cespedes’ two-run shot in the fourth inning was an absolute laser into the first row of Monster seats. It was his third home run since joining the Red Sox and his 20th blast of the season.

“When he squares the ball up, as strong as he is, as much bat speed as he has, he’s going to hit some balls hard,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It’s been impressive what he’s been able to do in the short time he’s been here. That’s a strong guy with a good swing.”

Cespedes has at least two RBIs in five of his last seven games. He has driven in 10 of the Red Sox’s 31 runs in that span.

– Brock Holt briefly gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single. Holt now has a nine-game hit streak, during which he’s batting .293 (12-for-41)

– The strange eighth-inning play occurred with two outs and runners at first and second.

Matt Dominguez hit a liner just beyond second base. Xander Bogaerts fielded it on a hop and flipped to Dustin Pedroia in an attempt to record an inning-ending forceout. The toss was late and Pedroia quickly fired home in an attempt to nab the other runner, Gregorio Petit. Catcher Christian Vazquez caught the ball with his momentum moving forward, though, and Petit slithered his way across the dish to tie the game.

Bogaerts admitted, in hindsight, he probably should have thrown to first base for the out. Vazquez said he ran forward while catching the baseball because he was anticipating a rundown.

The Red Sox challenged the play to no avail.

– Edward Mujica allowed the only two batters he faced to reach base in the eighth. Tommy Layne struck out the only two hitters he faced in the eighth. Burke Badenhop entered for the madness.

– The Red Sox have challenged 24 plays this season — 12 have been overturned, six have been confirmed and six have stood as called on the field.

– Craig Breslow suffered the loss after struggling in the 10th inning. Junichi Tazawa nearly escaped the jam, but Marisnick produced the big hit.

Koji Uehara only needed seven pitches to work a scoreless ninth inning. It’s somewhat surprising the Red Sox didn’t bring him back out for the 10th, especially with Farrell so adamant about wanting to stay away from the overworked Tazawa.

– Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off his right foot. He initially stayed in the game but exited before the ninth inning.

A fluoroscan came back negative. Pedroia will be evaluated upon arriving at the ballpark Saturday.

– The Astros’ win was their first at Fenway Park in franchise history. Houston had been 0-8 at Fenway.

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