Judging by the way the first three innings went for Clay Buchholz last night, it looked like it might be a long night for him and the Boston Red Sox. But as the game continued, he got stronger and with the help of the bat of David Ortiz, Buchholz picked up his 11th win of the season in the 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to the third out of the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium on July 26, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)He still looked a little rusty early on, especially during the 2nd inning when he had to do his impression of Houdini-K to get out of a bases loaded no-out jam.

Buchholz started the inning by walking Hideki Matsui and allowing a single to Alberto Callapso. He followed that up by plunking Mike Napoli to load up the bases. But young Clay beared down and got Juan Rivera and Jeff Mathis to pop out to Kevin Youkilis at first and retired Erick Aybar on a fly out to left.

That inning seemed to give Buchholz the confidence he needed going forward. In the 3rd inning, he allowed two hits with his pitch count nearing 70.  From that point forward though, he was virtually unhittable. He struck out the side in the 4th on his way to retiring eleven straight batters before a Rivera single in the 7th. He got out of that inning and handed over the game to the bullpen with a 2-1 lead and we all know how’s that has gone lately.

Buchholz had good life on his fastball but it was his curveball and change up that really made the difference for him. You can see how he’s matured over the last year as he probably wouldn’t have been able to escape that bases loaded jam. But this is a new year and a new Clay who finally won’t have to hear his name brought up in trade rumors.

Scott Atchison has been gaining the confidence of skipper Terry Francona over the past few months and it was shown last night as Tito brought him in for the 8th. Normally Daniel Bard would have been in but he had pitched the day before in Seattle and has been used a lot lately.

The move almost paid off but Atchison left a fastball out over the plate that Matsui cranked out of the ballpark to make it 4-3. Jonathan Papelbon finished it off with a four-out save.

Nonetheless though, it was a good win for the Red Sox last night, one they needed to keep pace with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. They got contributions from David Ortiz (two homers), J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez in his return to the lineup.

Now they’ll hope John Lackey can pitch them to another win in his return to Anaheim tonight. We’ll be back later with tonight’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups, any news and links from the day but for now enjoy the overnight links by hitting the read more button below.

Sudden impact: Martinez makes presence felt in return [Alex Speier – WEEI.com]

Red Sox regain punch [Boston Globe]

Ellsbury takes his first step back [Boston Globe]

A trip to see Sox’ ship [Boston Globe]

Ex-Sox GM, mayor lose ticket deal case [Boston Globe]

Recap: Star power carries Sox past Angels, 6-3 [Boston Herald]

No trade needs in Red Sox rotation [Boston Herald]

Home Run Derby continues for David Ortiz [Boston Herald]

Daniel Bard: Red Sox ’pen may not need relief [Boston Herald]

Sox offense wakes up in 6-3 win [CSN New England]

Notes: Buchholz returns to form; V-Mart looks strong [CSN New England]

Ortiz 20-plus HRs for 8th straight season [ESPN Boston]

Sox thrive behind Ortiz, Buchholz [ESPN Boston]

John Lackey returns to the scene [ESPN LA]

New-look Red Sox mount some offense [Extra Bases]

Source: Ramirez to Mets ‘probably not going to happen’ [Full Count]

Source: Blue Jays, Red Sox not matching up [Full Count]

Do Not Sell Theo [Hit and Run with Dan Roche]

J.D. Drew Quietly Contributing As Iron Man of Red Sox’ Outfield [NESN.com]

Clay Buchholz’s Seven Strong Innings Not Wasted As Offense Provides Just Enough for Win [NESN.com]

What Kind of Second Half Will John Lackey Give Red Sox? [NESN.com]

Dusty Brown’s Hydrating Habit Keys His Rise to Big Leagues [NESN.com]

Rockies Lefty Joe Beimel Reportedly on Trading Block, Could Help Boston Bullpen [NESN.com]

Boxscore Breakdown – Welcome Back, Vic! [Nuggetpalooza]

Ortiz homers twice to lift Red Sox, Buchholz to victory in Anaheim [Providence Journal]

Victor Martinez returns and makes an impact on first pitch he sees [Providence Journal]

Bard has quickly become one of game’s top relievers [Providence Journal]

Sox not as big a TV hit [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Journal: Lackey unsure about reception [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Minor League Notebook: Change does hurler Wilson good [Providence Journal]

V-Mart returns to Red Sox’s lineup [RedSox.com]

Ellsbury starts rehab assignment [RedSox.com]

Injured Pedroia is off and running [RedSox.com]

Abdominal injury still nagging Cameron [RedSox.com]

Papi’s two homers lead Sox past Angels [RedSox.com]

For more slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston GlobeBoston HeraldESPN BostonNESNProvidence Journal and WEEI websites.

And if you must read the enemy paper, head over to the LA Times, LA Daily News and Orange County Register websites.

Photo credit: Getty Images