BOSTON — One inning is all it takes.
The Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz imploded in the fifth inning, though, and the Sox walked away 8-3 losers.
The Red Sox have lost four straight and five of their last six. They’ve dropped 15 of their last 20 games against the Angels.
The Angels will look to complete a four-game sweep Thursday. But before anyone breaks out any brooms, let’s brush up on what went down Wednesday.
– The wheels went flying off for Buchholz in the fifth.
Buchholz, who tossed just 31 pitches through the first three innings, threw 38 pitches in the fifth while surrendering five runs on four hits and two walks. It was an ugly stretch that spoiled what would have been a third consecutive solid start for the beleaguered right-hander.
“Usually his bread and butter, that breaking ball he can throw at any time, he wasn’t able to do that. He was just a little inconsistent,” catcher David Ross said. “I think sometimes we get that, I think he wanted to get out of (the jam) so bad and just started rushing a little bit. But I think he’s one of our best pitchers, and when he’s on, he’s got some of the best stuff in the league.”
Buchholz ended up lasting six innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking two.
– Buchholz still fared better than Angels starter Garrett Richards, who was stretchered off in the second inning following a gruesome leg injury.
Richards raced over to cover first base on a ground ball to first with runners at first and second. His left knee buckled as approached the bag, causing him to hit the ground in pain.
Richards remained on the ground for roughly 10 minutes as a stunned silence came over Fenway. The Angels emptied the dugout in concern and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz soon joined them.
Richards eventually was wheeled off to a nice ovation. He acknowledged the crowd by raising his right hand.
“I was actually walking off and listening to him scream in pain,” Ross said. “I actually got pretty sick to my stomach, as you can tell. That’s a grown man out there screaming. Not a good feeling.”
Richards, who was visibly distraught, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. He’ll fly back to Los Angeles on Thursday to be examined, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia described the injury to the pitcher’s left knee patellar tendon as “significant.”
– Ortiz collected four hits, including his 30th home run of the season.
Ortiz has eight 30-homer seasons since joining the Red Sox, tying him with Ted Williams for the most such seasons in franchise history.
“He’s an elite hitter. He’s professional in his approach. He doesn’t give at-bats away,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “When he’s in one of these hot streaks, we’re seeing him hit the ball to all fields.”
It took Ortiz 120 games to belt 30 homers this season. It’s his fewest games to reach 30 home runs in a season since 2006, when he launched 30 bombs in his first 84 games.
– Ortiz has reached base four times in each of the last three games. It’s the first time in his career he’s accomplished that feat.
“It’s sort of like it was last year in the postseason,” Buchholz said. “He wants to be the guy at the plate in a big situation. I think everyone on this club wants the same thing. That’s vintage David.”
The last Red Sox player to reach base at least four times in three straight games was Johnny Damon in 2002.
– Ortiz was lifted for a pinch-hitter, Alex Hassan, in the ninth inning with Boston trailing 8-3. The Red Sox wanted to get the nine-time All-Star off his feet with soreness settling in.
“It’s not any one specific area. It’s just general soreness where we didn’t want to take any chances with him,” Farrell said. “He’s so good, he’s so important to our offense. Another 30-home run season for him right now with a lot of season left to go, and we want to be careful with him.”
– Xander Bogaerts snapped an 0-for-21 skid with an eighth-inning single.
– The Red Sox are just 2-for-39 over their last four games with runners in scoring position. They’ve left 41 men on base in that span.
– Allen Craig played five innings in right field during his second rehab game with Pawtucket. He went 1-for-3 with a two-run single.