In looking to wrap up the best record in the American League and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Red Sox erupted for 12 runs on 16 hits in their 12-3 rout of the Orioles Friday night in Baltimore. Their magic number for the best record in the league is now down to one with the Athletics still in action against the Mariners.
Every Red Sox starter recorded a hit except for Jacoby Ellsbury, who was lifted after four at-bats as he continues to work his way back from his fractured foot. Dustin Pedroia and Jonny Gomes led the offense with three hits apiece in the win while David Ortiz, Daniel Nava and Gomes all homered. Ortiz's home run was his 30th homer of the season and he now has 30 home runs and 103 RBI on the year. The Sox scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back.
Making his final start before the postseason, Clay Buchholz wasn't as sharp as he would have liked, but he battled and gave the team a solid start. The right-hander went seven innings allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out four on 113 pitches. He did allow two home runs, which matched his season total going into the game. Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish off the win.
The weekend series will continue tomorrow night (7:05, NESN) where Jon Lester will take on Wei-Yin Chen.
What they'll be saying: Buchholz wasn't overly impressive in his final start before the postseason, but allowing three runs over seven innings closes his year with a 1.74 ERA, just percentage points behind Pedro Martinez's 1.74 ERA 2000 for lowest ERA by a Sox pitcher (min 100 IP) since World War II. He certainly will look to get back to how he was throwing before his injury for the playoffs ... It was the 97th win of the year for the Red Sox, which is the highest since 2004 when they won 98 games and they should wrap up the best record in the league either by the end of Friday night or on Saturday.