Things didn’t look to be going as planned for the Boston Red Sox last night early on. Clay Buchholz was struggling on the mound and Jose Contreras seemed to have put his Fenway Park struggles behind him. Then the bottom of the third inning happened.
The Red Sox came into the inning trailing the Chicago White Sox 4-1. Contreras gave up a leadoff single to Alex Gonzalez and then retired Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. He then walked Victor Martinez and with an 0-2 count he hit Kevin Youkilis to load up the bases.
The big blow of the inning when he fell behind David Ortiz 3-0. Big Papi had the green light and swung at it, hitting a dribbler down the first base line. Rather than letting the ball go to first baseman Paul Konerko, Contreras tried to take it himself and missed the ball allowing Ortiz to be safe at first and Gonzalez to score.
From there it was all downhill as he walked Jason Bay to force in another run. Then with Mike Lowell at the plate, he uncorked a wild pitch to tie the game up. Three pitches later, Lowell crushed a fastball from Contreras onto the Mass Pike to put the Red Sox up 7-4.
The Sox scored two more in the fourth but Buchholz couldn’t make it out of the 5th as he gave up a 3-run bomb to Konerko. For the second time this season, Buchholz was pulled with a lead in the 5th after struggling and wasn’t eligible for the win.
Just as Buchholz looks to have rounded the corner, he takes a step back. He’d gone up against the other teams’ ace in his previous three outings and had pitched well. Last night, he didn’t look like the pitcher had been in those starts. His changeup was flat and being hit all over the place.
Luckily for him, the Red Sox offense has been swinging the bat well over this homestand. They’ve scored 41 runs in four games, going 2-2 in that stretch. The win last night enabled them to increase their lead over the Texas Rangers in the wild card to 1.5 games. They still trail the Yankees by 7 games in the AL East. They’ll actually need some help from the Yankees as they will be playing the Rangers the next three nights.
The main thing though is the Red Sox just need to keep winning ballgames and let everything else just fall into place.
Late boomers [Boston Globe]
Matsuzaka makes more progress [Boston Globe]
Third helped them go forth [Boston Globe]
Bullpen, Bard hit their stride [Boston Globe]
For Sox, race has gotten wild [Boston Globe]
Hot-hitting, Lowell prefers not sitting [Extra Bases]
Red Sox Bail Out Buchholz [Hartford Courant]
Dice-K Return: Too Little, Too Late [Hartford Courant]
Sources: Penny was claimed on waivers [Full Count]
Tito on Daisuke: Sometimes you have to butt heads [Full Count]
Every which Clay [Full Count]
Tracking the Development of Buchholz [Lou Merloni – WEEI.com]
Tuesday Quickie: 6+ Unearned Runs [Nuggetpalooza]
Bats come through again [Providence Journal]
Matsuzaka’s first minor-league rehab start comes off without a hitch [Providence Journal]
Red Sox journal: Wagner’s fate should be decided by Tuesday [Providence Journal]
White Sox yank Contreras from rotation after disaster in Boston [Providence Journal]
Lowrie clubs a homer in 3-2 win for PawSox [Providence Journal]
J.D. Drew voted among game’s biggest underachievers [Projo Sox Blog]
Report: Red Sox were worried about Santana’s elbow [Projo Sox Blog]
All of Sudden, Bottom’s Up For Red Sox [Joe Haggerty – WEEI.com]
Five Things We Learned: The Red Sox Can Survive Without Billy Wagner [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]
Red Sox go to bat [Boston Herald]
Sox score 6 unearned after Jose Contreras error [Boston Herald]
John Farrell: Josh Beckett’s woes mechanical [Boston Herald]
Billy Wagner still in works [Boston Herald]
Buchholz mindful of excessive pickoff throws to first base [Hacks with Haggs]