Even without command of his fastball, Buchholz struck out eight and walked just one before handing it over to a bullpen that has had some pretty good results of late, Daniel Bard's blown save the other night notwithstanding.
Now the D-Backs will get another test in Jon Lester, who starts opposite former Baltimore Oriole in Wednesday night's affair. First pitch, again, is 7:10 p.m., and you cannot use basketball as an excuse this time.
Final, Red Sox 6-3: In large part due to the fact that many people had their eyes on a basketball game, this was about as subdued as Fenway can be on a winning night. The Red Sox likely don't care one bit.
Behind a workmanlike effort from Clay Buchholz and 3 1/3 scoreless innings from the bullpen, the Sox win for the third time in four games and open a series with a victory for the fifth straight time.
Heading on down to hear from the team. Back in a bit.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Jonathan Papelbon has not run onto the mound at Fenway Park with something on the line since June 2. In that one he entered with a 6-3 lead and eventually picked up his 13th save.
Papelbon has pitched just twice since then, and both came in non-save situations. Let's see how he responds.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Daniel Bard has no issues in the eighth, and the Sox have slammed the door on the D-Backs since Justin Upton's two-run double in the fourth. Jonathan Papelbon is warming up.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Consecutive singles by David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis make some noise in the seventh. J.D. Drew grounds to second to end it and the Sox are kept off the board for the third straight inning.
Daniel Bard is on to pitch for the Sox. Jonathan Papelbon willl hopefully have a shot at his first save since June 2.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Bill Hall had not been tested too much in his third start at shortstop this year, but he makes a great play to end the top of the seventh, picking one on a hop to his left and spinning to throw to first.
Juan Gutierrez, who is 0-5 with a 9.28 ERA, has come on in relief of Ian Kennedy.
9:32 p.m.: Hideki Okajima gets the first out in the seventh and on comes Manny Delcarmen, the third Red Sox pitcher of the night.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-3: A leadoff single by Bill Hall leads nowhere in the sixth. Judging by the hoots and hollers of everyone watching the Celtics in one form or another, nobody even noticed.
Daniel Nava struck out to end the sixth and was promptly removed in left field in favor of Darnell McDonald.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Hideki Okajima quickly surrenders a double which puts runners at second and third and brings the tying run to the plate in the form of Kelly Johnson. The place got pretty quiet, but Okajima struck out Johnson to escape the jam. Pretty big K right there.
9:12 p.m.: Clay Buchholz cannot make his way out of the sixth. He gets the first two outs but surrenders a single to Tony Abreu on his 113th pitch. Hideki Okajima has come on in relief.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-3: With Dustin Pedroia on second, Kevin Youkilis hit a moonscraper that hung for several seconds before finding room on the right side of the foul pole in left. With the RBI double, Youkilis ties David Ortiz for second on the club with 41.
Dustin Pedroia is now 10-for-19 in five games and has scored three times in this one.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-3: Seven strikeouts through five innings for Clay Buchholz. That's good. Ninety-nine pitches through five for Clay Buchholz. Not as good.
There is some stretching in the Red Sox bullpen, which will likely see one, maybe two, more innings from Buchholz.
The "Beat LA" chants are coming fast and furious now. And if you are watching at home and hear random cheers, it's likely the people in the first few rows who have TVs built in behind home plate.
End 4th, Red Sox 5-3: The way Ian Kennedy looked last inning, the last thing you could foresee was a 1-2-3 inning. But that's exactly what he gives us in the fourth, striking out Daniel Nava to end it.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 5-3: With the Celtics and Lakers getting set to tip, let's just say there's a few people here at Fenway who were praying for a quick game. Doesn't seem as if it's going to happen, so long as Clay Buchholz and Ian Kennedy are around, which might not be much longer.
It took Buchholz 21 pitches before he could get the first out of the fourth. Prior to that he surrendered a double, a single and a double to allow the Diamondbacks to cut their deficit in half. Justin Upton had the RBIs when his smash hit the ladder running down the Green Monster for a two-run double.
After getting a pair of outs, Buchholz allowed his first walk and then escaped when Stephen Drew's hard liner to center was caught by Mike Cameron.
End 3rd, Red Sox 5-1: If you are Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, and your starter is struggling so early in a game, what do you do? The bullpen has been so unreliable for him, he almost has to ride out the starter as long as he can.
Ian Kennedy is not fooling anybody, and did not himself out in the third with a pair of wild pitches, one of which leads to a run when Daniel Nava scampers in from third.
The first run of the frame came on an RBI double by Dustin Pedroia, who may be finding the groove again. In his last five games, Pedroia is 9-for-18 with four doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored.
The last run of the frame came when Victor Martinez legged out an infield hit with two outs to allow Pedroia to come in.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Clay Buchholz set a career high with 10 strikeouts in his third start of the year back on April 22. At this rate he will have a new personal best by the time the night comes to a close.
Buchholz struck out Mark Reynolds for the second time, giving the Red Sox righty five Ks already.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-1: The Drew boys are both 1-for-1, and the younger just erased the older with a nice double play in the bottom of the second. They both get dessert before bed tonight.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-1: Kevin Youkilis atones for his first-inning error with two sparkling plays in the second, both of which have Clay Buchholz covering first and Jim Joyce making the call. Joyce saw them OK this time, giving the Sox the outs.
We are a little more than an hour away from the Celtics-Lakers, so it seems like a good time to point you to Evans Clinchy's live blog, which will have all the analysis during Game Six.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-1: I've felt that the Jordan's Furniture promotion is a bit of a joke. So few balls are hit out near that sign and it has to be a Red Sox player and it has to take place only on certain dates. Well, David Ortiz may make me reconsider. Ortiz just crushed a two-run blast to within a few rows of the Jordan's sign.
The homer, Ortiz's team-leading 13th, came moments after Ian Kennedy hit Dustin Pedroia with a pitch. Throw in a bomb that Daniel Nava hit foul and you have a pretty shaky inning for Kennedy.
Mid 1st, Diamondbacks 1-0: We are given an early taste of what these Diamondbacks are all about. You can get your fair share of strikeouts (Clay Buchholz fans three to run the Arizona team total to 600, 101 more than any other NL team at this moment), but they can also hit the ball from time to time.
Stephen Drew singled with one out, stole second with two and then scored when one-time Red Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche knocked one through to center.
Oh, by the way, Kevin Youkilis allowed a ball to go right through his legs. How often do you see that? Well, not very often. That was his first error in 2010, and first at any position since Oct. 2, 2009. It is his first at first base since April 8, 2009.
6:50 p.m.: Here is a warning to those of you who are still out there and planning to park before heading to the game. There will be "various street closures" in the Fenway neighborhood Tuesday night due to the Celtics game and the possibility that we all might be out tipping cars over.
The area around Fenway has "no parking" signs and Brookline Avenue from Kenmore Square to the Landmark Center will be closed from the third quarter of the game on.
Cars parked on Ipswich Street between Boylston Street and Charlesgate, and on Brookline Avenue from Park Drive to Kenmore Square, will be towed.
Seeing as I am parked in the Landmark Garage, I may be walking home (it's only 7 miles) if the Celts win.
6:25 p.m.: The Marco Scutaro situation is certainly something to keep an eye on, as he has now received cortisone shots in two areas over the past month. But it is remarkable how he has played through it all, and continued to produce.
Scutaro was hitting just .267 but had hit safely in five straight before his first shot in the left elbow last month. He is 20-for-61 (.328) with a pair of homers in June, putting out great numbers despite the pain.
And there certainly was no shortage of pain, according to Scutaro.
"Pretty much had pain everwhere every day," he said of the neck leading up to the shot. "When the game started it started feeling better, and later in the night when you go to bed it's a little worse and then the next morning it's like totally bad. That's pretty much the routine."
Scutaro was swinging just fine in the cage and said he expected to be in the lineup for this one, but was OK with the club giving the shot an extra day to kick in.
Bill Hall will be making his third start at shortstop in place of Scutaro. The first start at the position for Hall yielded an early error and a little bit of shakiness. The next one was much better. They are his only two starts at shortstop since 2006.
Two other quick notes:
1) Jim Joyce is on the umpiring crew and will be at first base for this one. Expect some boos if a close one does not go the way of the Red Sox.
2) The Diamondbacks enter with a bit of a different look. They traded struggling outfielder Conor Jackson to Oakland for minor league reliever Sam Demel, who is expected to report to the team soon to try to help out a beleagured bullpen, which enters the day with a hard-to-believe 7.33 ERA.
The move may provide a kick-start for a team that has some nice components, but has not been able to get it going. Arizona can slug with anyone and draws a ton of walks, but strikes out at an alarming rate.
It also plays pretty good defense and has a stable of capable starters, some of whom (Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson) figure to have better numbers at the end of the year, but the bullpen has robbed them of several victories.
We will see if a few moves can keep the club relevant in the wild American League West. The D-Backs enter 11 games out of first.
4:59 p.m: The news on Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett is good. Not so much for Marco Scutaro, who did get a cortisone shot in his neck to attack some nerve irritation he has had there.
With Scutaro absent, here is the Red Sox lineup for Tuesday's series opener with the Diamondbacks:
Daniel Nava, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Bill Hall, SS
Mike Cameron, CF
And for the Diamondbacks…
Kelly Johnson, 2B
Stephen Drew, SS
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Miguel Montero, C
Chris Young, CF
Justin Upton, RF
Tony Abreu, DH
Gerardo Parra, LF
Matsuzaka played catch this afternoon and is "feeling pretty good," according to manager Terry Francona. There is no word yet on who will take his turn in the rotation Friday. Francona said it "will not be a bullpen day," as was the case Saturday when Matsuzaka was scratched minutes before his scheduled start and five relievers combined on the nine innings.
"It will not be Billy Hall," Francona quipped when asked who would get the start.
The club will make an announcement in the coming days.
As for Beckett, he threw again from 120 feet Monday and is getting a lighter day Tuesday before amping it back up. The plan is for hims to throw again from 120 feet and then the next day at 150 before another day off.
His course of action will be planned out from there.
We will have more on the Scutaro situation in a bit. He was in the cage taking some pretty good whacks and fielding grounders, so expect him back in the lineup Wednesday.
3:14 p.m.: We have checked in at Fenway Park and will head downstairs in a bit. Just looked up whether Daniel Nava had hit leadoff this year and he had not. He did bat .345 (30-for-87) in the top spot last year between Double-A Portland and Single-A Salem. Just something to chew on before we get into things on a beautiful dat at Fenway.
2:10 p.m.: We recently heard from Terry Francona, who appeared on WEEI's Dale & Holley Show, that Daniel Nava will get another start and bat leadoff for the Sox. Shortstop Marco Scutaro, the regular No. 1 hitter, is out of the starting lineup.
More updates to come once we get into the park and hear from the fellas.
8 a.m.: The Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks meet for just the fourth time when they open a three-game series at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
Boston is 4-2 in interleague play after dropping a 5-3 decision to Philadelphia on Sunday. It has split its last eight games after winning 14 of 18.
Clay Buchholz willl go for the Sox, who also hope to have Kevin Youkilis and Mike Cameron available after both were off for much of the weekend series. Buchholz has never pitched in an interleague game.
Ian Kennedy gets the start for Arizona, which is 2-1 in interleague play after winning a series with Toronto last month.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.
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