Two starts ago Clay Buchholz was pretty much at his low point, allowing six runs in just 2 1/3 innings on Marathon Monday at Fenway Park. Slowly, but surely he's working his way back up the ladder.
Following Friday's strong performance, the second in his last two starts, the right-hander may have found the same guy who went 9-0 through his first 12 starts with a 1.71 ERA last season. The latest performance led the way in a 7-1 Red Sox win over the Athletics.
Buchholz went 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out five and walking three (one intentional) in picking up his second win of the year. It was his best outing of the season as he had command of all his pitches with even some extra velocity and was able to make the big pitch when he needed to getting out of a few jams.
"I thought he continued the way he threw the ball last time out in Toronto, shows good tempo," manager John Farrell said. "The arm strength continues to climb and it is directly correlated to the action to his secondary pitches. That is a good hitting team he was able to shutdown with some off-speed pitches and it was another good solid outing tonight."
Andrew Miller recorded the final two outs of the seventh before turning the ball over to Edward Mujica for the eighth. The right-hander was hit hard, but was saved by a great catch by Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field and then was able to double up Josh Donaldson at first base to get out of the inning. Craig Breslow pitched the ninth inning, closing out the win.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, Dustin Pedroia belted a grand slam into the Monster seats snapping a 223 at-bat homerless streak dating back to last season, which includes the postseason, to break the game open. Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Pierzynski and Bradley Jr. all scored on the homer. Mike Napoli added an RBI single in the eighth for the seventh Red Sox run.
The Red Sox scored their first two runs in the second inning as Grady Sizemore doubled to start the inning and was driven in on an RBI single from Pierzynski. The catcher then came around to score on a double in the left center field gap off the bat of Bradley Jr.
The teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon (1:35, NESN) when Jon Lester will be opposed by Tommy Milone.
What they'll be saying: Not only was Pedroia's grand slam a big hit for the team and their overall morale after struggling with runners in scoring position on Thursday, it was also a historic one. With 100 home runs and and 100 stolen bases he is the second Red Sox player to reach that milestone, joining Carl Yastrzemski. The homer gave him 100 for his career and also allowed him to eclipse the 500 RBI plateau as well ... Bradley Jr. continues to shine in center field and get more confident by the day as he reached base three times going 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and walks, along with playing tremendous defense in center field.