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Sox Pound Blue Jays, Gain Ground in Wild Card Race

Bill Hall and the banged-up Red Sox are still in the hunt, thanks in large part to their starting pitching. But Wednesday night the offense was on display as Boston slugged 14 hits, two of which were home runs by Hall. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

It was the kind of offensive display that any pitching staff would salivate over. The boys of summer needed a laugher in their favor for a change, and got it on Wednesday night, as the Boston Red Sox out-slugged the Toronto Blue Jays on their way to a 10-1 victory. While the Yankees managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Texas Rangers, the Rays finally dropped one to the Tigers, and now the Sox stand within 3 1/2 games of the Wild Card.

After Boston put across one run in the top of the first without even managing a hit, starter Clay Buchholz gave one back in the bottom of the first when Victor Martinez let a passed ball by him; the runner later scored on a sacrifice fly. But Buchholz was able to let loose and let it fly from there, and put zeroes up on the board for seven more innings to lower his ERA to an A.L.-best 2.49. And his offense finally provided more than enough run support to secure Buchholz’ 13th win of the season.

The Sox took a 2-1 lead in the second, when Bill Hall hit the first of his two home runs on the night. The second of the two came in the fourth, with Ryan Kalish on first base as Boston extended the lead to 4-1. Their biggest offensive inning was the fifth, which featured bombs by J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre, as well as Hall’s third hit of the night that scored Mike Lowell after his double.

The Red Sox tallied 14 hits in total on Wednesday night, and needed a night where the bullpen could rest at ease and get an inning of work in for the likes of Dustin Richardson. They are within striking distance of the Wild Card and the best division in baseball, and have legitimate MVP and Cy Young candidates in Beltre and Buchholz, respectively. The Yankees clawed their way back for an impressive win Wednesday to keep them atop the division, by but no means comfortably. And with the return of Dustin Pedroia looming early next week, this team will only have added swagger and pop to make a September run, assuming a couple of big Texans named Beckett and Lackey can get right and dominate late in the season like their track record has shown.

Game Notes

W: Clay Buchholz (13-5)
L: Shawn Marcum (10-6)

  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia was recalled from Pawtucket to replace Kevin Cash, who was put on the 15-day DL with a bad hamstring. Saltalamacchia made his Red Sox debut as a defensive replacement in the eighth, but did not get an at-bat.

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