How did you spend your summer? Clay Buchholz spent his on the DL until he finally made his much anticipated start at picturesque Tropicana Field before the usual sparse turnout.
Buchholz is back and the Boston playoff picture got rosy with his effort in a Sox 2-0 win.
Buchholz, an early season fast track CY Award candidate, faced off against last years CY Award winner, David Price, as Tampa Bay attempted to erode Boston’s division lead and enhance their wild card position. They failed.
For Boston, Buchholz was the story of the evening. Clay did not disappoint RSN.
Buchholz finished five impressive innings on an economical 74 pitches. No runs, three hits, one walk and six strike outs.
Buchholz had a clean first on 16 pitches – capping the inning off with a strike out of Evan Longoria. Welcome back, Clay!
The Rays did make some offensive noise in the second with two singles, but they were wasted when Buchholz fanned Jose Molina to end the frame. That was the only danger of the evening for Buchholz.
Price was in efficient form after an especially rough west coast swing (0-2, 5.80). Price held the Sox without a base runner through four until co-Player of the Week, Mike Napoli, doubled to dead center to start the 5th. Jonny Gomes followed with a single up the middle and the Sox had a 1-0 lead. The Sox were not done.
Daniel Nava moved Gomes to third on a sac bunt and Jarrod Saltalamacchia bombed a sac fly to CF that gave Buchholz a 2-0 lead going into the last of 5th. Buchholz made quick work of the Rays and called it an evening. Another day at the shop, and a win that moves Buchholz to 10-0.
Price was done after eight with a beautiful ACE like effort. Eight innings, two runs on three hits, no walks and nine strike outs. Price drops to 8-8.
The Sox went to the first team out of the bullpen after Buchholz departed. Craig Breslow tossed two innings, Junichi Tazawa went 0.2 and turned it over Koji Uehara after a double by Yunel Escobar. A four out save for Koji on 13 pitches. Game done and Sox extend their lead to 8.5 games.
Will Middlebrooks had an impressive 12 pitch AB against Price before grounding out.
Price tossed a season high 127 pitches.
Wednesday Rays starter, Alex Cobb, was born in Boston.
Joel Peralta made his league leading 70th appearance for the Rays.
Saltalamacchia tossed out two base runners on attempted steals.