If Wednesday night is any indication, Clay Buchholz is ready to turn the page.
After a brutal month of April that saw the Boston Red Sox lose all five games he started, Buchholz rebounded in a big way at U.S. Cellular Field, stifling the American League-leading Chicago White Sox to lead his club to a 5-2 win.
Designated hitter David Ortiz helped Buchholz earn his first victory of 2016 by launching a go-ahead, two-run home run in the fifth inning. Ortiz drove in three of Boston’s five runs.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
Things didn’t look too good for Buchholz and the Red Sox out of the gate. But the starting pitcher found his groove, and Boston’s offense followed suit, outscoring Chicago 5-0 over the final seven innings to pick up the win.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Josh Rutledge slapped a seeing-eye single up the middle in the eighth inning.
Boston already led by two runs at the time, but Rutledge’s RBI base-knock drove in Chris Young to give the Red Sox an insurance run — not that they needed it — entering the final two frames.
ON THE BUMP
— Buchholz dazzled after a rocky start to earn his first win of the 2016 campaign. After surrendering a two-run bomb to Jose Abreu in the first inning and allowing four baserunners over the first two innings, the righthander buckled down to retire 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. Buchholz allowed two runs on just three hits over seven innings while walking two and striking out six.
— Koji Uehara retired the White Sox in order in the eighth inning with a little help from his defense, as right fielder Mookie Betts started the frame by robbing Dioner Navarro with a diving catch.
— Craig Kimbrel walked Abreu but otherwise was dominant in the ninth, inducing a game-ending double play to pick up his ninth save of the season.
— Buchholz, Uehara and Kimbrel combined to throw a three-hitter and didn’t allow a hit after the second inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Xander Bogaerts drove home the Red Sox’s first run in the third inning, ripping an RBI single that plated Christian Vazquez.
— Bogaerts had himself a night, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored. He has a six-game hitting streak and has at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games.
— Vazquez had a golden opportunity in the fourth with Boston trailing by a run, but the Red Sox catcher grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end a promising rally.
— Ortiz picked up Vazquez just one inning later, demolishing a two-run homer off White Sox starter Carlos Rodon in the fifth to give Boston a one-run lead.
— Ortiz plated another run in the seventh by slapping a shift-beating RBI single to the left side. He went 2-for-5 and now has 22 RBIs on the season, tied for second in the American League.
— Rutledge made the most of his late insertion into the lineup, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the eighth that gave the Red Sox a three-run lead.
— Jackie Bradley, Jr. extended his career-long hitting streak to 10 games with a bloop single in the third inning.
— Young showed signs of life by starting the eighth with a double in the gap. He finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Leave it to Big Papi.
Henry Owens will get the call on the mound Thursday night for the rubber match of the Red Sox’s three-game series in Chicago. The White Sox will counter with righthander Erik Johnson. First pitch at U.S. Cellular Field is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images