The Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays last night, 2-1, behind a great pitching performance from Clay Buchholz.
Going into the game, Manager Terry Francona knew that closer Jonathan Papelbon and relievers Hideki Okajima and Manny Delcarmen were unavailable, so he needed innings out of Buchholz. He got that and more.
"That was a gutsy performance," manager Terry Francona said.
Buchholz threw 117 pitches in going eight innings, and he had virtually no room for error after surrendering a first- inning run, because the Jays' Shaun Marcum was extremely sharp as well. Marcum matched Buchholz pitch for pitch, finally giving way to the bullpen in the 8th and watching the Red Sox take the lead on a bases loaded walk to Mike Lowell, who was pinch hitting for David Ortiz.
Ramon Ramirez pitched a perfect 9th inning to pick up the save in Papelbon's absence.
The Jays got on the board in the home half of the first inning on a double by the red hot Vernon Wells, which scored Fred Lewis. After that, they managed just five hits and were unable to plate another run in losing their fourth straight game.
The Sox answered in the top of the 2nd, an inning which began with back-to-back strikeouts of Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew. Ortiz drew a walk and would come around to score on a clean base hit off the bat of Jeremy Hermida right after Adrian Beltre extended the inning with a bloop base hit.
Buchholz and Marcum then took over the game completely, matching zeros until the 8th.
Toronto Manager Cito Gaston turned to the bullpen to begin the inning, opting for Scott Downs in place of Marcum. Downs struck out Marco Scutaro but then gave up singles to Dustin Pedoia and Victor Martinez. A deep flyout from Youkilis moved Pedroia to third. The Jays pitched around J.D Drew to get to Ortiz.
Francona called Ortiz back in favor of Lowell. Gaston answered by removing the lefty Downs and going back to the 'pen to get hard-throwing right Kevin Gregg, who sports an ERA of 1.00. Gregg barely managed to throw a strike in walking in the go-ahead run.
The Sox will send John Lester to the mound tonight with the chance of evening their record at 11-11, which would mark the first time they have been at .500 since they were 4-4 following the Minnesota series.