BOSTON — It’s something that you never would have expected to hear after the first half of the season, but the Red Sox are getting accustomed to winning when Clay Buchholz is on the mound.
Buchholz was 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA to start the season before he was relegated to the bullpen at the end of May. But since the right-hander has slotted back into the rotation in August after injuries to Steven Wright and later Eduardo Rodriguez, he’s been consistently good, winning all his decisions and giving up no more than three runs in five of his six starts.
His last start against the Toronto Blue Jays was a dud, but Buchholz came up big Friday in a 7-4 win over the New York Yankees, surrendering just two runs over six innings.
“The six quality innings (Friday night) were what we needed after a couple of recent short starts,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “I thought he did a very good job with men on base. He created a couple of jams for himself, but to the left-handers he was able to go to a couple of changeups to get some soft contact. I thought he made a couple of really good fastball pitches in to (Yankees catcher Gary) Sanchez for a couple of groundball double plays early on. He’d bend a little bit, but stayed away from the big inning.”
Like Farrell said, Buchholz wasn’t dominant Friday, but the Yankees didn’t put much hard contact on the ball with him on the mound, allowing the Red Sox’s defense to do the rest.
“Not as many walks — the two walks that I did have, found a way to minimize them, had a couple of double plays that helped out,” Buchholz said of his outing. “Defense played really good behind me again (Friday night). It was a grind. I felt like they put up some really tough at-bats together. With that win, its a big win given the situation that we’re in.”
Every win matters at this point with the American League East race so close, so Buchholz’s resurgence is coming at the perfect time.
Here are some more notes from Friday’s win.
— Hanley Ramirez hit his second home run in as many days Friday with a fourth-inning solo shot. The first baseman has been incredibly productive at the plate lately with a .327 average in September, but Ramirez doesn’t think he’s reached his peak.
“I haven’t got hot yet,” Ramirez said. “I think we’ve got to keep forward. We’ve got to keep forward and push it to the limit. Grinding every day, give everything we’ve got as a team, and keep playing how we’ve been playing.”
— David Ortiz hit his major league-leading 47th double to lead off the sixth inning. It was his 1,187th career extra-base hit, passing Frank Robinson for 11th most in league history.
— Mookie Betts’ 2-for-4 night gave him his 61st multi-hit game, which leads all of Major League Baseball. The right fielder also stole his 24th base in 27 attempts, good for the second-best success rate in the AL at 88.9 percent, behind only Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images