In one of the most dominant pitching performances by a Red Sox pitcher in recent years, Clay Buchholz spun a two-hit shutout over eight innings in the Red Sox' 5-0 win over the Rays Sunday afternoon.
Buchholz took a no-hitter into the eighth inning where Kelly Johnson's broken bat single to shallow right broke up his attempt at his second no-hitter. The 28-year-old did record 11 strikeouts, which is a new career-high. He is now 3-0 on the season and has been as dominant as any other point in his career. His ERA now sits at 0.41.
Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the shutout.
The Red Sox scored four runs in the third inning off of Rays starter Alex Cobb. Mike Napoli's two-RBI double with the bases loaded drew first blood for the Sox, and then they picked up two more runs later in the inning on an RBI fielders choice from Stephen Drew, followed by a throwing error which allowed the fourth run to score. The Sox added one more in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly from Will Middlebrooks.
The two teams will close out the series tomorrow morning, in the annual Patriot's Day game beginning at 11:00 a.m. (NESN). Ryan Dempster will take to the mound for the Red Sox and be opposed by Jeremy Hellickson.
What they will be saying: Everyone will be talking about the gem from Buchholz, who was completely in control of all of his pitches. The only issue for the right-hander was the four walks, which raised his pitch count dramatically. He was at 99 pitches when he came out for the eighth inning, which raised the question for some of how long manager John Farrell would stick with him as he was bidding for the no-hitter. Unfortunately for Buchholz, the debate never needed to take place as Johnson, the first batter of the eighth singled. Regardless of the no-hit bid, Buchholz has been outstanding this season with he and Jon Lester proving their case as being one of the best 1-2 combo's in all of baseball as well as setting the tone for the rest of the Red Sox rotation.