Clay Buchholz has had a roller-coaster season for the Red Sox in 2014 and, while there have been more lows than high on the whole, today’s 3-0 shutout marked one of the highest points of the year for Buchholz.
Even as good as Buchholz was today, however, it still wasn’t easy for the Red Sox to come away with the win as Rays’ starter Alex Cobb was excellent as well. A Daniel Nava single in the second inning was the only hit on either side until the Red Sox plated a run in the third inning. Xander Bogaerts, playing in his second game since returning from the seven-day disabled list, led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Cobb. Bogaerts would go on to score on an opposite-field single by catcher Christian Vazquez, putting the Red Sox on top 1-0.
That was the only run until the fifth inning when the Red Sox put together a small two-out rally against Cobb and company. With two outs and nobody aboard, Brock Holt singled to center field and promptly stole second base. The next batter Mookie Betts, batting in the top half of the lineup for the first time in his career, would knock another single to center, doubling Boston’s lead.
Betts was once again a key part of a rally in the eighth inning as he led off with a double against Rays’ reliever Joel Peralta. David Ortiz would quickly plate Betts with an RBI single to extend the Red Sox lead to 3-0, a fairly comfortable lead considering Buchholz’s performance.
And that performance, as previously stated, was phenomenal. Buchholz threw a complete game shutout, his second of the season, and allowed just three hits and no walks while punching out six Rays. Perhaps it was just one more high mark on the Clay Buchholz roller-coaster or perhaps it is the beginning of a trend that will lead to Buchholz finishing the season on a positive note. Either way, however, we can enjoy an excellent game from Buchholz and the Red Sox today.