|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
Javier Vazquez probably hoped his Yankee reunion tour would go better that it has. While the right-hander has settled down since April, the Red Sox brought back memories of the 2004 ALCS where the talented pitcher couldn’t get the job done. His opponent, Clay Buchholz, on the other hand, was in the zone most of the night as he allowed three runs in 7.1 innings. His strong performance carried the Red Sox to a 6-3 win, within five games of first place in the AL East, a mark that has eluded the Sox since early July.
David Ortiz got the scoring started with a towering blast, his 24th home run of the season, in the first only to be outdone by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the inning. Vazquez didn’t settle down in the second inning, instead allowing more Red Sox runs, including a bases-loaded walk to Jacoby Ellsbury.
A few sparks flew in the fifth inning when Buchholz hit Derek Jeter in the back. While the Yankees put a quick run together thanks to the miscue, Buchholz settled down and retired Robinson Cano to escape from the inning.
The sixth inning would belong to Ryan Kalish. Kalish, recently promoted from Pawtucket, hit the first major league home run of his career off Vazquez. The two-run shot put the Red Sox up 6-3, a lead they would not surrender.
With the playoffs seemingly on the line during the four games in New York this weekend, the Red Sox need their starting pitching to live up to the hype surrounding it in the offseason. Buchholz did just that.
The speedy centerfielder is 0-12 since returning from the disabled list, although drawing a key walk and making a diving catch in Friday’s game were good signs.
W: Buchholz (12-5)
L: Vazquez (9-8)
SV: Papelbon (27)