Clay Buchholz Keys Rain-Soaked Shutout Win in Series Finale

Clay Buchholz Keys Rain-Soaked Shutout Win in Series Finale Postgame, Red Sox 5-0: In the heat of a playoff chase, with position players all around him dealing with injuries and several of his fellow starters struggling to find consistency, Clay Buchholz is dominating.

The 26-year-old right-hander has now thrown 23 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. He is 15-5 with a 2.26 ERA.

"He's becoming one of those pitchers you can really count on, which is pretty exciting," Terry Francona said.

The skipper hopes to be able to say that about John Lackey down the stretch. Lackey, who has a 6.49 ERA over his last four starts, goes in the opener against Seattle on Monday night. First pitch is 7:10 p.m. and if you are coming to the park expect some rain.

Final, Red Sox 5-0: The Red Sox improve to 4-2 on the homestand and keep pace with New York and Tampa Bay, which hosts Boston later this week.

With six scoreless innings in the rain Clay Buchholz improves to 15-5 and lowers his league-leading ERA to 2.26. David Ortiz has a triple and an RBI single and Bill Hall slugs a two-run homer to provide the bulk of the offense.

Back soon to wrap it all up for you.

End 8th, Red Sox 5-0: Insurance comes in the form of back-to-back RBI singles by Victor Martinez and David Ortiz. Felix Doubront is back out there to finish this one off. He would pick up his second save with three more outs and the Red Sox will keep pace with the Rays and Yankees, both of whom have already won.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-0: Felix Doubront gets through the eighth allowing only an infield single on a play that showed just how difficult it is for Marco Scutaro to get anything on his throws.

Scutaro's throw from the 5.5 hole on a grounder by Vernon Wells just died on the back end. Wells reached easily.

Doubront battled back to strike out Adam Lind and get Lyle Overbay on a fly to right.

Jonathan Papelbon is up and warming in the Boston bullpen.

End 7th, Red Sox 3-0: Jed Lowrie has followed up his walk-off Saturday night with a pair of drives to deep center in this one but has nothing to show for it. Felix Doubront is your new pitcher.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-0: Nearly five hours after we were originally set to have the first pitch we have finally reached the seventh-inning streak. Daniel Bard helps us get there by blowing away the last two hitters in the top of the inning.

End 6th, Red Sox 3-0: Shaun Marcum will rue a handful of pitches made in the fifth. Other than that he has been fantastic. Marcum has thrown only 77 pitches through six.

Clay Buchholz, on the other hand, threw 97. Coupled with the delays in this one that figured to be enough for him. Daniel Bard, who threw two innings but just 13 pitches Saturday, is on in relief.

In case you missed it the Yankees rolled past Seattle earlier Sunday and Tampa Bay is winning late out in Oakland. This could be another "wasted" day. The Red Sox have not gained a game in the wild card standings for over a week now.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: Clay Buchholz has flirted with trouble a few times in this one, allowing the leadoff man to get on in five out of the six innings. The first two reached in the sixth before he shut the door once again.

Buchholz is up to 97 pitches. His ERA sits at 2.26.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Ask and you shall receive. We needed a run to make it possible to call this thing with the Red Sox on top (if it rains again), and they delivered.

David Ortiz ripped his first triple since April 20, 2009, and scored on a double by Adrian Beltre to start the scoring. Two outs later Bill Hall launched his 17th homer of the season.

Hall entered the game having hit more home runs per at-bat than everyone on the team but Ortiz and Jason Varitek, who is ranked that high only because of his early power binge and lack of at-bats. It's been a pleasant surprise to see this power from Hall.

Ortiz has 15 career triples.

Mid 5th, 0-0: There is more rain on the way, according to the radar. This thing is an official game once the opposing team bats in the top of the fifth but we don't have a score yet so we will press on regardless. Would be nice to see a run right here, just in case.

End 4th, 0-0: Shaun Marcum has used 44 pitches to retire 12 straight Red Sox hitters. His lifetime ERA in seven Fenway Park appearances now sits at 1.80.

Mid 4th, 0-0: The rain has made us wait around plenty this afternoon but the starting pitchers have certainly helped to speed things up.

Clay Buchholz needs 11 pitches to retire the side in order in the fourth. He has set down six straight while Shaun Marcum has not allowed a man to reach.

My apologies for misspelling Marcum's first name a few times earlier. One of my best friends is a "Shawn" so I guess it just came off my fingers incorrectly. It's raining. It's cold. Give me a break.

End 3rd, 0-0: Shaun Marcum needs a grand total of nine pitches to fly through the third. No ill effects from an hour-plus wait to get back out there.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: We wait an hour for play to resume and it takes Clay Buchholz a few seconds to get out of the third. Bill Hall makes a nice diving catch of an Adam Lind liner and we are back up and running.

4:50 p.m.: Today's game is expected to resume at 5:05p ET. Marcum and Buchholz are both warming up.

4:04 p.m.: And on goes the tarp. The rain has come back in a big way and we are again in a delay. Stay tuned.

3:59 p.m.: Terry Francona and the trainer are out to look at Victor Martinez, who was just struck with the back swing of a Jose Bautista cut. He says he is fine, but it is the same hand on which he broke his thumb back in June. The bat seemed to catch him on the back of the hand so the thumb should be OK. Still, keep an eye on him.

End 2nd, 0-0: Shaun Marcum has allowed three earned runs in 19 innings over his last four starts at Fenway Park after retiring the middle of the Boston lineup in order in the second.

In case you do not recall, Marcum threw a one-hitter at Oakland in his last start. He had a no-hitter through six innings of that one.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Leadoff walks usually lead to bad things, especially when a hit comes later in the inning. Hasn't hurt Clay Buchholz yet.

Buchholz has issued a free pass to the leadoff man in both innings and this time it is Jose Molina that adds to the pressure with a two-out single.

The Boston righty struck out the side in the second to avoid any further trouble. He gets Fred Lewis swinging with 95 mph heat at the tail end of a nine-pitch at-bat.

End 1st, 0-0: Shaun Marcum's last start against the Red Sox was rather poor (eight runs in four innings) but he entered with a 2.08 ERA at Fenway Park. Included in that success is seven scoreless innings here back in May.

Marcum retires the side in order in the first. He gets J.D. Drew looking for his first strikeout of the game.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester began his stunning start the other night by
walking Fred Lewis on five pitches. Clay Buchholz began his afternoon
in the same fashion and later allowed a ringing single off the Green
Monster, but he escapes unharmed.

2:41 p.m.: The tarp is being peeled off and we are looking to get the first pitch in at 3:15 p.m. There is still some wet stuff on the horizon but it should be light enough to get this one in.

1:59 p.m.: The umbrellas and ponchos are out in full force and we have the Yankees-Mariners game on the big screen. Just waiting things out right now.

Earlier, there was discussion on a handful of Jed Lowrie-related subjects.

First of all, Terry Francona and some media members debated whether players should be charged with an error on a dropped foul pop, such as Lowrie was Saturday night. It didn't lead to a base runner or anything, so the debate has merit.

Francona seemed to side with the official scorer, but he also talked about how difficult it is to make the transition to first after playing most of your career on the left side of the infield. Not necessarily with gimme popups, but the rest of the game.

"You're looking at it from a different direction so anything that happens is not instinctual," he said. "It takes time to get comfortable."

Lowrie has played three games at first base this season, all off the bench. He figures to get in there to start a game at some point but the club is not in any hurry to have that happen. Lowrie still needs some time to become accustomed to the angles and the footwork around the bag.

"It's just backwards," Francona said.

1:13 p.m.: It would not shock anyone to hear this but just heard word that we are officially in a rain delay. There is no known start date. There may be a window of opportunity in the middle of the afternoon before the wet stuff really starts to come down later on. Updates to come.

12:44 p.m.: The tarp remains on the field and a quick look at the radar shows a pretty rough picture. We know that Sunday night and on into Monday does not look any better so we do not have the luxury of waiting for it to clear up. Updates to come as we get them, of course.

Off the top of my head the Red Sox have had only two rain-related "incidents" at home this year and both came very early in the season.

There was the suspended game against Tampa Bay early on Patriots' Day weekend that saw the teams finish a game in extra innings the following night. Then, on May 8 against the Yankees, we had a delay of an hour or two before New York rolled to a 14-3 win. That was a pretty dark day all around.

And from what I can recall the Sox have not had one single delay on the road. There may be one or two I am missing but a quick look at the schedule and nothing really pops out.

Bottom line, it's been a pretty dry run. Makes the scene at Fenway right now a bit odd.

11:47 a.m.: The rain has picked up a bit here and there is talk about what might be done if it continues. The Blue Jays come back here in September for three so there is ample opportunity to squeeze in a doubleheader.

This is just speculation. Nothing official has been said, but I would not be shocked to at least see a delay of some kind. If you are headed to the park plan accordingly.

We will keep you updated on everything weather-related going forward.

Not a ton of news to update you on today, but here's a quick sample:

– Hideki Okajima threw just five pitches in a scoreless inning for Pawtucket on Saturday. He will throw again Monday (the PawSox are in Buffalo) and then hop a flight back to Boston on Tuesday morning for a reevaluation.

– Marco Scutaro's troublesome shoulder continues to be an issue but nothing that concerns the team all that much. It has not had an effect on his hitting of late — he is at .406 (13-for-32) during an eight-game hitting streak.

Scutaro's defense, however, does suffer a bit. His arm just does not have as much as strength as we are used to seeing.

"He has to make sure he moves his feet," Francona said. "He doesn't have the leverage. He doesn't have the arm strength he might normally have."

– Daniel Bard may still have some availability Sunday despite throwing two innings Saturday night. He needed just 13 pitches to get through the appearance, a pretty impressive show of efficiency.

"Part of the amazing thing…13 pitches," Francona said. "You've gotta be pretty good to do that. He just kept pumping in strikes, quality strikes."

More in a bit.

11:16 a.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the tarp is on and a light rain is falling. We expect to get the game in just fine. It's Monday night's game that is a bit more of a concern as there may be rain for much of the day.

With Clay Buchholz on the mound for Sunday's series finale, here is the Red Sox' lineup:

Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jed Lowrie, 2B
Bill Hall, LF
Ryan Kalish, CF

8 a.m.: With every game being treated as a must-win, the Red Sox are happy to trot out Clay Buchholz for the series finale on Sunday.

Buchholz is 14-5 with a league-leading 2.36 ERA, but he's been at his best against the Blue Jays.

In two starts, Buchholz is 2-0 with a minuscule 0.56 ERA against Toronto. He's allowed just one earned run in 16 innings, striking out eight and walking four.

Buchholz will be opposed by Shaun Marcum, who is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against Boston this year.

First pitch for the rubber match is at 1:35 p.m.

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