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Clay Buchholz gave the Boston Red Sox exactly what they needed: a shut-down pitching performance that could take the pressure off of their slumping offense.
Buchholz pitched eight strong innings, srtiking out four and walking only two, as the Red Sox went on to beat the Blue Jays 2-1. The righty improved to 2-2 on the season after suffering back-to-back losses to the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays.
Buchholz pitched just long enough to earn the win, as the less-than-stellar Red Sox offense scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. In a move we’ve recently seen, Mike Lowell came in to pinch hit for David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, earning a walk to drive in what would be the winning run of the game.
The Red Sox offense put together only seven hits and basically put all of the pressure on Buchholz to pull out the victory. Luckily for Boston, Buchholz did his pregame homework.
“I know they swing the bat,” Buchholz said. “Sometimes that will hurt you and sometimes you can make it work for yourself. Tonight I was able to command enough pitches to get through it and get some big outs when I needed them.”
With last night’s performance, Buchholz lowered his team-leading ERA to 2.19. He is the only Red Sox starting pitcher with an ERA under 5.00. He and manager Terry Francona knew a big game was needed and both were pleased with the outcome.
“He did a great job tonight,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Buchholz. “He understood where we were.”
Where the Red Sox are now is 10-11 and tied for third place in the AL East. It’s only 21 games into the season, but unless they figure out what’s wrong with both their pitching and hitting, it could be a very rough season for Boston.
Clay Buchholz knew his team needed a dominant performance Tuesday night and he came to play. Let’s hope Wednesday’s starter, Jon Lester, does the same.