Clay Buchholz Improves to 10-4 as Sox Claim Second Straight Series Sweep

Clay Buchholz Improves to 10-4 as Sox Claim Second Straight Series Sweep Postgame, Red Sox 2-0: As soon as their amazing homestand ended, the Sox turned their attention on a challenging road trip that will see them face some quality National League pitching.

But with the way Boston has been playing, that might not mean much.

Let's allow Victor Martinez to sum it up:

"They are pretty good pitchers," Martinez said of the likes of Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum. "But we have a pretty good lineup."

Jimenez, who is 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA, will go in the second game of the series Wednesday. Tuesday's opener features Jon Lester against Jhoulys Chacin, with the first pitch set for 8:40 p.m.

We will follow all the action right here so be sure to check back in.

Final, Red Sox 2-0: It seems like a nightly exercise to update these Red Sox numbers, but here you go: six straight wins, 8-1 on the homestand, 10-2 in interleague play, wins in 12 of their last 14 at home.

The one new figure we can give you is zero, as in the number of games the Sox are behind the Rays. That's an odd way of saying it, but they are tied with Tampa Bay.

Both clubs remain a game behind New York, but the way this race is shaping up, second place is a pretty good place to be.

We also must bid adieu to Manny Ramirez, perhaps forever. Enough has been said about that over the last three days so I'll just let it go with a prediction that he'll be on this field again in retirement, waving to adoring fans as part of some celebration of the 2004 team. Time can heal wounds, especially when there are World Series rings on fingers.

Off to the clubhouse for some reaction. Back upstairs in a bit.

End 8th, Red Sox 2-0: We will see if a wasted leadoff triple for Dustin Pedroia comes back to bite the Sox. By stranding him, they fail to get any insurance runs for Jonathan Papelbon, who is 15-for-16 in save opportunities.

One highlight of the eighth was the third stolen base of Victor Martinez's career. Two of them have been with the Red Sox, so you have to figure the Cleveland Indians are kicking themselves for not hanging onto the speedster.

10:59 p.m.: With a runner at third and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Dodgers manager Joe Torre has made the call for Justin Miller, the third LA pitcher of the night.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-0: In what could be the last plate appearance of his career at Fenway Park, Manny Ramirez singles off Daniel Bard with two outs in the eighth.

Bard battles back to get the last out, continuing a torrid pace for the Red Sox' bullpen.

On the homestand, which will result in an 8-1 record with just three more outs, Boston relievers have given up just three runs in 29 innings.

Jonathan Papelbon is up in the pen.

End 7th, Red Sox 2-0: Here I was putting an end to Hiroki Kuroda's night after the sixth, but he had another one in him, and it was solid. Kuroda gets his second perfect inning of the night, sending this one to the eighth in the hands of the bullpens.

Heck, maybe I shouldn't write off Kuroda just yet. But at 117 pitches I would think that's it.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-0: One pitch, one out for Daniel Bard after coming on for Clay Buchholz. He gets Jamey Carroll to ground into a force and should be amped to empty the tank in the eighth.

10:34 p.m.: Clay Buchholz's throws a pitch with two outs in the top of the seventh that hits second baseman Blake DeWitt in the foot. It knocked both players out of the game.

As DeWitt limps off the field, Buchholz is relieved by Daniel Bard, who has runners at the corners and Jamey Carroll at the plate.

End 6th, Red Sox 2-0: It didn't look like it would turn out this way early on, but we have a pretty good pitchers' duel going on here. The bullpens will have to finish it, however. Hiroki Kuroda's night may be done as he has thrown 110 pitches, and Clay Buchholz's first offering of the top of the seventh will be his 100th.

Daniel Bard is already up in the Red Sox' bullpen and there is action in the Dodgers' pen as well.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz threw 30 pitches in the first and had tossed 60 through three. But he's still under 100 after another perfect inning in the sixth.

Buchholz has retired 10 in a row and has faced the minimum over the last four innings. His 10th win of the season is in sight.

End 5th, Red Sox 2-0: Hiroki Kuroda has been pretty good in this one. The run allowed in the first was not his fault, even though it was earned, and another in the third came in on a lazy sacrifice fly.

Aside from that Kuroda has handled the high-powered Sox just fine. He gets two groundouts to third base and a strikeout of David Ortiz to mow through the top of the order in the fifth.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-0: This has been a theme of late for Clay Buchholz — work through a few shaky innings and then find the groove. But once he finds it, he's about as good as you'll find.

Buchholz has his second straight 1-2-3 innings in the fifth, recording his third and fourth strikeouts.

End 4th, Red Sox 2-0: Aside from Daniel Nava taking a pitch off his shin, not much doing in the fourth for the Sox, who play 32 of their next 48 games on the road before another nine-game homestand in the second half of August.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-0: If Clay Buchholz had any designs on lasting deep into this one he needed a quick inning or two along the way. The young righty gets it in the fourth, setting down the Dodgers 1-2-3 on just 11 pitches.

End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Not only did Dustin Pedroia's bat go quiet when he struggled with some right knee issues through May and early June, but he wasn't running as much when he did reach base (one stolen base attempt in May, an unsuccessful one at that). With a knee that's feeling much better, he's acting like he's got ants in his pants.

Pedroia, who did not steal a base between April 26 and June 5, has six this month, including four in the last five games.

He is also now batting .357 (89-for-249) in interleague play after his single in the third pushes Marco Scutaro to third base. David Ortiz followed with a sacrifice fly to give Clay Buchholz another run to work with.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: For all the attention placed on Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers' best outfielder by a pretty good margin right now is Andre Ethier, but the Sox have taken care of him in this series. Ethier entered the set leading the National League in hitting at .339, but is 0-for-10 against Boston after fouling out in the third.

Clay Buchholz is living dangerously, but living nonetheless. He walked his third batter of the game with one out (Manny Ramirez) and had a 3-0 count on cleanup hitter James Loney.

But on his 60th pitch of the night (just 33 for strikes), Buchholz got Loney to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the first and have ended their last two innings with double plays.

End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Daniel Nava is batting .385 (10-for-26) after leading off the second with a hard single. However, he's 0-for-1 on stolen base attempts after being nailed on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out to end the second.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: The Dodgers only have themselves to blame for being down early. Multiple miscues cost them a run in the bottom of the first, and Blake DeWitt strays too far off second base on a line drive to Marco Scutaro in the second, getting doubled up easily and ending another fruitless threat.

Clay Buchholz has walked two, hit a man and given up two hits in two innings.

End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: There were about four plays in the bottom of the first that you simply do not see very often, and all went the Red Sox' way. When you're hot, you're hot.

It started out innocently enough with a Marco Scutaro strikeout. But Dustin Pedroia followed with a chopper in the hole between third and short that glanced off the glove of Casey Blake. It goes into the books as a single but Blake will be the first to tell you he should've had it.

Pedroia then stole second and raced to a completely uncovered third base when the throw got away (Blake was taking the throw as the Dodgers were in a defensive shift with David Ortiz up).

Ortiz then walked (the last ball was thrown intentionally, after a strike, for some reason) and Kevin Youkilis followed with a check-swing dribbler that the Dodgers hoped would go foul down the third base line. It did not, rolling into the bag long after Pedroia crossed home plate.

A wild pitch moved the runners up before Ortiz was caught off third on a comebacker and Adrian Beltre grounded to short, only after another wild pitch.

Did you follow all that? I barely did, but the bottom line is a 1-0 lead.

Mid 1st, 0-0: It took him 30 pitches, but Clay Buchholz is finally through a scoreless first. He sandwiched a pair of walks around a hard single by Manny Ramirez to load the bases with one out, but struck out Garret Anderson and got Casey Blake on a comebacker.

8:05 p.m.: The windows are up in the press box, a sure sign of a nice night. We are moments from getting underway, just as soon as ESPN takes care of its business.

With ESPN, of course, is old friend Curt Schilling. So in one weekend at the park we have seen Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens, Schilling and Rihanna.

For some reason I have that "One of these kids is doing his own thing" song from Sesame Street in my head.

7:18 p.m.: In the hours before taking the mound to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clay Buchholz was on his knees in the Red Sox clubhouse, diving to both sides to stop shots made with a soccer ball by the sons of both Victor Martinez and David Ortiz. Whatever keeps you loose.

Buchholz's carefree approach stands in contrast to previous years when he would carry a do-or-die demeanor on days he was starting. A 9-4 record will help in that regard, but it may also be a sign of maturity.

"I know you see some guys after the last out in the ninth inning the night before, they got their game face, and they stone face you and everything," Terry Francona said of starters' demeanors. "But no, [Buchholz] just kind of shows up and does his thing. Everybody's different…He's more comfortable in his skin."

And hopefully not suffering from any jammed fingers making highlight-reel saves.

6:45 p.m.: We have a ton of Father's Day stories from Terry Francona we will share in a separate piece, but there are some baseball matters at hand. Here are a few updates.

The news on J.D. Drew is pretty much the same as it was 24 hours ago. The club hopes to have him back Tuesday in Colorado, giving him roughly three full days to rest his right hamstring.

"The good news is I don't think anybody remotely thinks it's a DL.," Francona said. "Stay away from him tonight, we got the day off tomorrow and we'll see how he's doing. It's a big outfield in Denver but we'll, if he's healthy to play he'll play, if not we'll make the adjustment, like we always do."

Speaking of adjustments, Francona was asked again about how the team continues to get contributions from unlikely sources. He had some good things to say in particular about the struggle to find a team identity.

"If I had the real answer we'd do it on Opening Day. That's why we fight so hard to get it, that's why we talk about it the first day of spring training. We didn't play well out of the gate. You can play well and not have all the personality because guys don't know each other…But I think as you get into the grind of the season things happen that bring guys closer.

"There have been a lot of things that have happened. The day Daisuke didn't pitch and Atchison goes out there, that was a big day for us. It coulda been an ugly day, it ends up being a great day. Eeverybody pitches, everybody plays, we win. Those types of things help bring teams together."

Some of the contributing factors to the process have been the play of guys like Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava, two guys Francona reflected on as it pertains to what he saw in spring training.

"Darnell got seven at bats. He's a non-roster invite. Allard Baird loved him but we didn't get to see a lot of him. Nava was a kid that came over a lot [to the big league camp] because he was supposed to be a professional hitter and a good kid.

"I know the last couple of weeks they've been talking about it but I don't know if going into the year anybody envisioned this. I did say at the end of spring training, somebody will come help us. You don't always know who it is. This kinda falls into that category."

We will see who steps up Sunday in just over an hour.

5:47 p.m.: The storms have come and hopefully gone and the tarp is being taken off the field. Here are the lineups for Sunday's finale:

Red Sox

Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF
Mike Cameron, CF
Darnell McDonald, RF

Dodgers

Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Manny Ramirez, DH
James Loney, 1B
Garret Anderson, LF
Casey Blake, 3B
Russell Martin, C
Blake DeWitt, 2B
Jamey Carroll, SS

4:05 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park and a very happy Father's Day to everyone out there. We've just finished watching some of the "Football at Fenway" festivities, which saw several fathers — including Victor Martinez and Marco Scutaro — kick a soccer ball around with their kids.

We should have lineups and all the pregame news and notes for you soon.

The Yankees are currently winning but the Rays have lost, so the Sox could pull into a tie with Tampa Bay with a win Sunday night. This is the only division in baseball with three teams with as many as 42 wins. It is shaping up to be a division race for the ages.

8 a.m.:It's hard to imagine a homestand going any better than this one has for the Red Sox, now 7-1 in a stretch of interleague games that concludes Sunday night in the finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With Dustin Pedroia'sgame-winning single in Saturday's 5-4 victory, the Sox had taken five in a row from NL teams. Boston is a major league-best 38-19 since April 20 and remains just a game out in the AL East.

As if the Sox needed anything else to make themselves feel good, they get to send out Clay Buchholzin the finale. Buchholz will be trying to become the third AL pitcher to win 10 games.

First pitch is set for 8:00 p.m.

TMZ logo

© 2019 NESN

Watching NESNgo on an iPhone or iPad?
Enable location settings. Visit NESN.com/NESNgoFAQ to learn how.

NESN Shows

Partner of USATODAY Sports Digital Properties