Clay Buchholz finally found himself on the positive end of a decision Sunday, earning his first win since Opening Day as his Boston Red Sox knocked off the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Buchholz went 6 1/3 innings in the 6-3 victory, allowing seven hits and three runs (all earned) while walking three and striking out three. All three of those free passes came in the bottom of the first inning, after Boston had built a 4-0 lead in the top of the frame.
“For us to come out and score four runs in the first maybe let our guys relax a little bit,” manager John Farrell told reporters after the game. “Clay went out and kind of felt his way through the first inning with the three walks allowed, but then settled into a very good rhythm.”
The right-hander’s outing hit a bit of a hiccup in the fourth, however. Buchholz tweaked his ankle during an inning-ending groundout by Blue Jays left fielder Ezequiel Carrera and was slow to leave the field.
“I was going toward first base to cover first on a ball hit to (first baseman Mike Napoli),” Buchholz explained to reporters, “and my left foot landed in the hole that I was landing in going to home plate. I had my ankles taped, fortunately, so I think that saved me from it being too bad.”
Farrell and team trainers joined Buchholz at the mound as he warmed up ahead of the fifth inning, but they deemed him fit to continue.
“We just wanted to check on him,” Farrell said, “but he didn’t show any favoring of anything through his delivery, so we stayed with him.”
“(It’s) a little sore,” Buchholz added. “I’ll be all right, though.”
Some additional notes from Sunday’s action:
— Napoli hasn’t enjoyed much success swinging the bat this season (his .172 batting average is the lowest of all everyday Red Sox starters), but he looked like his old self against the Jays.
The first baseman clubbed a home run in the top of the first inning to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. It was Napoli’s eighth home run at Rogers Centre since he joined the Sox in 2013.
“Some parks you like to hit in and you have success,” he told NESN’s Guerin Austin after the game. “This is definitely one for me.”
[tweet https://twitter.com/Jared_Carrabis/status/597457406310948866 align=’center’]
Napoli also walked twice in the win.
— Hanley Ramirez went 1-for-4 with two runs scored in his second game back from a shoulder strain — an injury he says still has not completely healed.
?It?s a work in progress,? Ramirez said before the game, via WEEI.com. ?They need me on the field, so I have to be on the field and try and help the team win games.?
— Jackie Bradley Jr. made his season debut after earning a call-up from Pawtucket, and with Shane Victorino set to rejoin the team Monday in Oakland, manager John Farrell said the plan is for the two outfielders to split time in right field.
Bradley also might see action in center on occasions when Mookie Betts is out of the lineup.
“Jackie’s arrival here gives us a premium defender,” Farrell told reporters before the game, via MassLive.com. “Certainly like him against a lot of right-handed pitching so we’ll find the right matchups. I’m not going to say it’s a strict platoon situation by any means, but I think it’s important for us to find when we’ve got a situation or matchup we’ve got to take advantage of.”
Bradley, who compiled a .343/.393/.465 slash line in 24 games at Triple-A, went 0-for-4 Sunday in his big league action of the season. He also appeared to have some trouble reading the newly installed turf at Rogers Centre, misplaying two balls in right field.
Thumbnail photo via Peter Llewellyn/USA TODAY Sports Images