Red Sox Live Blog: Clay Buchholz Goes Eight Strong in Red Sox Win

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April 27, 2010

Red Sox Live Blog: Clay Buchholz Goes Eight Strong in Red Sox Win Postgame, Red Sox 2-1: There's obviously a lot of time left in the season, but the performance by Clay Buchholz, particularly his effort in the eighth inning, may be looked upon as a real springboard for the Red Sox. As it stands, they've won six of eight and can reach a pair of milestones Wednesday night.

With a win behind Jon Lester on Wednesday, Boston will be back at .500 and will have passed Toronto for third place in the American League East. It would also have its first series sweep of the season.

Lester will be looking to build on a better start over the weekend at Fenway. He is opposed by Brett Cecil in a matchup of left handers at Rogers Centre. First pitch is 7:07 p.m. and we will follow all of the action right here.

Final, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox were in dire need of a strong start following Monday's slugfest. Clay Buchholz provided a strong start and then some.

Buchholz allowed one run in the first inning and then went seven scoreless, fueling Boston's sixth win in eight games. Each victory has come by one run.

The Sox can get back to .500 and record their first series sweep of the season when they send Jon Lester to the mound Wednesday night.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 2-1: Hold your breath, Red Sox fans. Ramon Ramirez, who blew a chance at his second career save Sunday at Fenway Park, is on to try to get the last three outs. Terry Francona is hoping to avoid his big guns out in the bullpen, including closer Jonathan Papelbon, who threw just 11 pitches Monday night.

End 8th, Red Sox 2-1: You cannot say enough about Clay Buchholz's performance, and he saved the best for what will be his last inning of work.

Adrian Beltre committed his team-high fourth error to allow Vernon Wells to get to second base with one out. Buchholz then worked over Lyle Overbay with great precision and got the Jays first baseman on a fastball that tailed over the inside corner. A fly to center ended the inning on Buchholz's 117th pitch of the night.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-1: What did I say earlier about this being a race to the bullpens? Well, the Red Sox win that race and it pays off. After Shaun Marcum dominated them for seven innings, they load the bases on Scott Downs, and then closer Kevin Gregg walks Mike Lowell on four straight pitches to push in the go-ahead run.

Bottom 8th, 1-1.: The Sox have the bases loaded and two outs and Terry Francona elected to pinch hit for David Ortiz with Mike Lowell. Ortiz was not pleased.

End 7th, 1-1: All the talk of the defensive imports for the Red Sox, and good old Dustin Pedroia has easily been their best player on that side of things. He has yet to commit an error and has made the play on anything and everything close to him. The seventh inning was no exception.

The first batter of the inning hit one off Clay Buchholz's glove and the ball caromed toward the hole between first and second base. Pedroia scampered alertly to the spot and made the play, helping Buchholz keep on keepin' on.

Mid 7th, 1-1: J.D. Drew has taken his fair share of criticism this year, and rightfully so. He entered Tuesday hitting .182. But very quietly he has put together a six-game hitting streak, during which the Red Sox right fielder is batting .304 (7-for-23) with a home run and eight RBI.

Drew doubled and Adrian Beltre walked (yes he did – on four pitches, too), but Jeremy Hermida and Darnell McDonald were retired as the Sox blew one of the rare scoring chances in this one.

End 6th, 1-1: The whole repertoire is working for Clay Buchholz. His curveball has buckled a few knees and made Vernon Wells look bad a few innings ago. The slider has looked fantastic at times. And his fastball touched 96 mph in the sixth.

The Jays have gone 1-2-3 three times.

Mid 6th, 1-1: Kevin Youkilis is rung up on a borderline call to end the top of the sixth, the fourth strikeout on a pretty dominant night for Shaun Marcum. Who blinks first?

End 5th, 1-1: There were some still chirping that Clay Buchholz would've been a better option for the bullpen than Tim Wakefield. Hard to imagine removing him from this role, despite the two hits in the fifth.

That is four earned runs in 18 2/3 innings going back to the middle of his first start.

Mid 5th, 1-1: The Blue Jays managed three very good defensive plays in a six-pitch inning for Shaun Marcum, two by the pitcher himself.

Marcum fielded a Jeremy Hermida bunt on the third-base line and wheeled to fire to first to nail him by a step for the first out. Alex Gonzalez made a dive to catch a Darnell McDonald liner. Marcum got the third out on a comebacker, twisting across his body to snag it.

End 4th, 1-1: Nine straight Blue Jays hitters had been set down in order by Clay Buchholz before back-to-back singles. The Sox right-hander escapes on a fly to J.D. Drew. He has thrown just 51 pitches through four.

A couple of nasty hooks from Buchholz to Vernon Wells gets the Blue Jays slugger swinging. Wells remains one home run shy of 200 for his career.

Mid 4th, 1-1: This one is flying along all of a sudden. Just seconds after J.D. Drew settled at first base with a leadoff walk, he was erased on the front end of a 6-5-3 double play as David Ortiz hit into the shift. Adrian Beltre grounded out on the next pitch.

I can't get that Burger King brunch song out of my head.

End 3rd, 1-1: Clay Buchholz has now allowed four earned runs in his last 16 2/3 innings pitched after another 1-2-3 showing in the third. He has set down seven straight.

Mid 3rd, 1-1: You have to like the chances of whichever team can get into the opposing bullpen first. Both were used up pretty well Monday night. The Sox are doing a good job making Shaun Marcum work, forcing him to throw 62 pitches through the first three innings.

End 2nd, 1-1: Clay Buchholz has a perfect second inning, and already this one feels remarkably different than the Monday night opener. Then again, all that scoring came once the third inning began. Beware.

Mid 2nd, 1-1: Shaun Marcum strikes out Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew to start the second before the Sox begin to get to him. A walk to David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre's single gave an RBI opportunity to Jeremy Hermida, who delivered with a line single to left to score Ortiz.

Hermida is the fourth Red Sox player to amass 10 RBIs this year.

I noticed a reader asking about Jacoby Ellsbury. He was actually eligible to return from the disabled list today, but my guess is he is still a week away at the very least. In the first 10 days or so after the injury he was able to swing in the cage a bit, but as of Sunday he told us that he was just hitting off a tee and that his workouts were pretty limited.

Ellsbury is maintaining his physical condition through cardio work but the baseball activities just seem to be coming along slowly.

End 1st, Blue Jays 1-0: Entering Tuesday, opponents are hitting .296 against Red Sox starters and the rotation has surrendered an American League-high 137 hits. The trend continued immediately with a leadoff single by Fred Lewis and a two-out RBI double by Vernon Wells.

Wells and Clay Buchholz were locked in a pretty good battle until the Blue Jays center fielder hit one down the line in left to score Lewis from second.

Buchholz then issued a two-out walk before finally getting Alex Gonzalez to end the inning. The Red Sox righty threw 22 pitches.

Mid 1st, 0-0: This is the first time we've seen Shaun Marcum face the Red Sox since Aug. 22, 2008, when he gave up five runs in just 3 2/3 innings in an 8-4 Boston win. A Dustin Pedroia solo shot came in the first inning of that one, and Pedroia has a pretty good drive to right this time around but it is caught in front of the track. Marcum works a 1-2-3 first in front of about 123 fans at Rogers Centre.

6:45 p.m.: Time to toss out a few statistics related to the Red Sox and Blue Jays. First pitch is about 15 minutes away.

  • The Sox had 18 hits but no home runs in Monday's 13-12 win. It marks the first time July 27, 1999, that the club had that many hits in a game without a longball.
  • The contest marked just the second since 1900 in which both starters lasted three or fewer innings while allowing at least seven earned runs and eight hits.
  • Marco Scutaro's four runs Monday night were a career high.
  • Toronto leads the majors with 28 home runs and 87 extra-base hits.

4:18 p.m.: David Ortiz is back at designated hitter and Darnell McDonald makes his fifth start in center field for the Red Sox. Here are the complete lineups for both teams:

Red Sox
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Darnell McDonald CF

Blue Jays
Fred Lewis LF
Aaron Hill 2B
Adam Lind DH
Vernon Wells CF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Jose Bautista 3B
John Buck C
Travis Snider RF

Interestingly enough, Ortiz is just 2-for-14 against Shaun Marcum, while Mike Lowell is 5-for-13 with a double and a triple. Scutaro, Martinez and Beltre are a combined 12-for-23 with three home runs against the Blue Jays righty.

In other news, the Sox will have the services of Fabio Castro in the bullpen. He was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. To make room, the club optioned Scott Atchison to the PawSox.

Two things regarding this move: As noted in our story, Castro may not be around for very long, and Atchison figured to go soon as well when Tim Wakefield moved to the bullpen and if/when Alan Embree was brought up. 

However, this is not necessarily an indication that the club prefers Castro over Atchison until the pending moves are made. After Monday's 13-12 win the club simply needed another arm in the bullpen as Atchison had thrown two straight days, totaling 44 pitches, and likely wouldn't have been available. Castro has not thrown since a three-inning start Thursday, so his presence gives Boston a long man in the event Clay Buchholz gets knocked out early Tuesday night.

7:56 a.m.:The Red Sox aim to clinch their third straight series win when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, which is still ringing from Monday night's fireworks.

The two teams combined for 34 hits and used 13 pitchers in a 13-12 win for the Sox on Monday. It gave Boston five wins in seven games, but raised concerns surrounding Josh Beckett, who gave up eight runs in three innings in his second straight poor start.

Clay Buchholz will attempt to limit the explosive Toronto bats in his fourth start of the season. He will be opposed by Shaun Marcum for the Jays.

First pitch is 7:07 p.m.

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