BOSTON — This Fourth of July was a good one for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros 6-1 on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz dazzled en route to his seventh win of 2015.
Boston needed a strong performance from Buchholz after its bullpen was taxed in Friday night’s series-opening, extra-inning loss. The veteran hurler delivered in a big way.
GAME IN A WORD
That’s where Clay Buchholz might be going for his All-Star break this season, as the right-hander strengthened his case for a spot in the Midsummer Classic with another brilliant performance.
The All-Star rosters will be announced Monday night. Right now, Buchholz looks like a legitimate candidate to punch his ticket.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox scored in the first inning and immediately seized momentum behind their starter.
Boston’s first three hitters reached against Houston starter Collin McHugh. Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt followed Mookie Betts’ leadoff walk with back-to-back singles, resulting in the Red Sox’s first run.
It was smooth sailing from there for Buchholz, whose record (7-6) moved above .500 for the first time since Opening Day. Buchholz has won four straight starts and five consecutive decisions, lowering his ERA to 3.27 in the process.
ON THE BUMP
— Buchholz went the distance in an absolute gem.
The two-time All-Star allowed six hits and surrendered his only run with a comfortable lead in the ninth inning. He struck out eight and didn’t walk anyone while throwing 110 pitches (80 strikes).
The Astros simply couldn’t get anything going against Buchholz, who has allowed just three runs over 31 innings in his last four starts combined.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Betts knocked in three runs. He has at least one RBI in each of his last four games.
Betts plated Shane Victorino with a sacrifice fly in the second inning and Sandy Leon with a double into the left field corner in the sixth inning. For good measure, Betts smoked another double to center field in the eighth inning that also scored Victorino.
— There’s no slowing Bogaerts, who, like Buchholz, has a very strong All-Star case.
Bogaerts reached base three times (single, double, walk) and had two RBIs. He singled home Betts for Boston’s first run and doubled home Holt for the Red Sox’s third run.
— Victorino went 2-for-4 with two singles and two runs scored in his first game since May 23. The 34-year-old was activated from the disabled list before Friday’s game.
— Leon had three hits batting out of the No. 9 spot in the order. That, of course, supplemented another excellent day behind the plate working in conjunction with Buchholz.
— Alejandro De Aza, who replaced Hanley Ramirez as a defensive replacement before the eighth inning, batted in the bottom of the frame. He dived head-first into first base to win a footrace that extended Boston’s lead to 6-0.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Very patriotic of him.
Buchholz is first Red Sox with a complete game on Independence Day since Paul Quantrill in 1993, first at Fenway since Mike Torrez in 1979.—
Jon Shestakofsky (@Shesta_Sox) July 04, 2015
The Red Sox and Astros will end the holiday weekend with a Sunday afternoon affair. Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to face Lance McCullers in the series finale.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images