|Connelly’s Top Ten: Less Than a Week to Opening Day!||Why 2014 Should Make Red Sox Fans Smile||Former Bruins Player Carol Vadnais Dies||John Farrell’s Second Season Unlike his First|
On Friday night the Red Sox attempted to turn things around, as their most recent struggles have been highlighted by the controversy of Josh Beckett on and off the field. Boston sent Clay Buchholz to the mound, who had been a notable part of the question marks surrounding the 12-19 team. And while Buchholz wasn’t stellar against the Cleveland Indians, he pitched well enough for the team to hold a 7-5 win.
Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound for Cleveland, but not for too long. The Sox bats have been hitting all year round and they continued that trend with two runs in each of the first two innings. With the bases loaded and one out, Will Middlebrooks doubled a line drive to left, giving Boston a 2-1 lead after the Indians scored off of Buchholz in the top half of the inning.
They extended the lead in the second inning. After consecutive singles from Nick Punto and Ryan Sweeney, second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double to right, making it 4-1 and giving Buchholz a solid cushion to work with. After giving up the first inning run, he kept the Indians off the board into the seventh inning.
Boston knocked Jimenez out of the game in the fifth after Sweeney knocked in Cody Ross, who hit an RBI double earlier in the frame. Pedroia added a sacrifice fly to give the Red Sox a 7-1 lead. Pedroia had three hits in the game and three runs batted in, and is now hitting .316 this season.
In the top of the seventh, Buchholz became shaky. He had allowed at least five runs in all of his starts this season, and though that awful statistic finally came to an end, Cleveland still managed to chase him after cutting the lead to 7-4. Buchholz had a final line of 6.1 innings pitched, 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), while walking three. He did not strike out a single Cleveland batter despite the solid outing.
Alfredo Aceves came in to close out the potential win in the ninth and once again things got a little too exciting. A leadoff walk to Carlos Santana turned into the fifth Indians run, and soon after, Cleveland had runners on the corners with just one out. Aceves struck out Jack Hanahan as Jason Donald stole second base. That put the tying run in scoring position for iconic former Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who flew out to end the game.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it was a much-needed victory for the Red Sox, who have been sputtering lately. Despite his poor performances this season, Buchholz earned his fourth win.
Saturday, Felix Doubront will oppose Josh Tomlin in the third game of the four-game series. David Ortiz left the game Friday in the seventh inning with a sore left heel, and it might be notable that he was in a very minor car accident prior to the game.