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The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Thursday night 7-0, behind a shutout performance from pitcher Clay Buchholz.
The Red Sox offense started early as Orioles’ starting pitcher Brian Matusz struggled to find the strike zone. Dustin Pedroia walked in the bottom of the first inning and was joined on base by Kevin Youkilis after a single to left, and Will Middlebrooks after the second walk of the inning. Adrian Gonzalez appeared to break his mini-slump and grounded a double to right field, scoring Pedroia and Youkilis, and giving the Red Sox and early 2-0 lead.
Matusz’s lack of accuracy helped the Red Sox as he walked Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava in the bottom of the second inning. Kelly Shoppach added to the offense with a line drive single. Pedroia hit into what could have been a double play, but a throwing error by Robert Andino allowed Pedroia to advance to second, and McDonald and Shoppach to score making the lead 4-0 in the second inning.
Adrian Gonzalez continued to see the ball well, driving the first pitch of the third inning into center field. Darnell McDonald followed that up with a double off the Green Monster in left, putting runners at second and third. Daniel Nava came through with two outs yet again sending a ball to right field. Endy Chavez misplayed the ball allowing both McDonald and Gonzalez to score, as well as allowing Nava to advance to second base.
The Red Sox would add one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning when a Youkilis double scored Daniel Nava, making the score 7-0. The offense could have stopped in the first inning and it would have been enough to win because of the stellar performance from Clay Buchholz.
Clay Buchholz proved that he has what it takes to be an anchor on the Red Sox pitching staff. His performance has not been incredible this season, but to some extent, early struggles should have been expected. He is coming off a year where he missed more than half of the entire season due to a back injury. Naturally, there was going to be an adjustment period when this season started. After the Sox dropped three straight games, Buchholz came out and put the team on his right shoulder, and he surely did not disappoint. Clay went the full nine innings allowing only four hits, one walk, and tallied six strikeouts. He showed great command on his pitches, and his breaking ball had excellent movement.
Adrain Gonzalez has not had a season to write home about in the first few months. Over the past week he has been stuck in a bit of a slump. Tonight seemed to focus his eye on the ball. Gonzalez went 3-4 Thursday, driving in 2 RBI’s, and scoring a run himself. While this doesn’t mean he will start tearing the cover off the ball like the fans expect, he only has 4 homeruns, but it is an optimistic sign that Gonzalez may finally be turning his offensive struggles around.