It?s not how you start, it?s how you finish. Right, Clay?
Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz settled down after a rough start as the young hurler went six innings and allowed three runs on six hits en route to the Sox 6-3 win over Tampa Bay.
Buchholz allowed two runs in the first but battled back and ended up retiring the last nine batters he faced before Terry Francona went to the bullpen for the seventh. The win was Buchholz's fourth of the season and his third in his last three decisions.
The offense helped Buchholz out with a pair of runs in the top of the first thanks to a two-RBI double off the bat of Jason Bay. The Sox than snapped a 3-3 tie in the sixth and went on to plate two insurance runs in the seventh before the pen came on to shut the door and give the Sox the series win.
Kevin Youkilis led the offense with three hits while Victor Martinez and Bay each posted a pair. Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury chipped in with a pair of steals, his seventh multi-steal game of the season.
'Pen men Billy Wagner (two strike outs), Daniel Bard (one strikeout) and Jonathan Papelbon (two strikeouts) held the Rays hitless and scoreless over three innings of relief to give the Sox their eighth in in their last ten games.
Red Sox 6, Rays 3
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
September 3, 2009
Live Blog | Box Score
Headliner: Kevin Youkilis smacked three hits and scored a pair of runs including the eventual game-winner in the sixth. Youk, who also drove in a run in the seventh on a fielder?s choice, is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak and has three straight multihit games.
Dirt dog: Evan Longoria continues to torch the Red Sox. The third baseman roped a pair of doubles and his 27th RBI of the season against the Red Sox. Longoria now has the most RBIs in a single season against the Red Sox since 1960.
Better luck next time: David Ortiz was the lone Red Sox hitter to miss out on a hit, run or RBI in Boston?s 6-3 series finale win. Mike Lowell was the only other Sox hitter to go hitless but the third baseman drive in a run in the sixth with a sac fly. Big Papi went just 1-for-12 this series with one RBI and three strikeouts.
Key moment: With things knotted up at three runs apiece in the sixth inning, Kevin Youkilis singled to lead things off before Jason Bay drew a walk. David Ortiz then smacked a fly out to deep center field, allowing Youkilis to tag up from second and advance to third with one out. Mike Lowell then stepped in and continued the small-ball by hitting a sacrifice fly to center to plate Youk with the go-ahead run.
On deck: The Sox say adios to the Trop for the last time this season and head to the Windy City to take on the White Sox for a four-game series. Paul Byrd will be making his second start of the season in the series opener as he takes on Freddy Garcia.
Byrd picked up an impressive win in his first outing of year. The 38-year-old went six shutout innings and held the Blue Jays to just three hits while striking out one and walking three. It was Byrd?s first time pitching in nearly a year as he?s improved his record to 5-2 for the Sox over the last two seasons. In 15 career starts against the White Sox, Byrd is 8-3 with a 4.43 ERA.
Garcia will be making just his fourth start of the season and is looking for his first victory. The veteran righty is 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA. Garcia faced the Sox back on Aug. 25 and picked up the no decision after letting up three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. The former Tiger, Phillie and Mariner is 6-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 14 career starts against Boston.