SEATTLE — That Clay Buchholz pitched seven innings and allowed three earned runs against the Seattle Mariners on Monday afternoon seemed worthy of a celebration given how poorly the Red Sox have pitched in the last week.
But the strong effort was wasted in a 4-1 loss. Buchholz gave up six hits, walked one, and struck out eight, including the last four batters he faced. A poor fourth inning was his only problem.
“Clay did what he had to do,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
The inning started when Franklin Gutierrez reached on a broken-bat single. Buchholz then hit Kyle Seager before John Jaso singled to right to drive in a run.
Justin Smoak’s single to right scored Seager. Then the inning really fell apart.
When Eric Thames popped to center field, Jaso held at third base. Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw was short and to the right of the plate. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway was unable to block it and by the time Buchholz tracked the ball down near the Seattle dugout, Jaso scored without a play.
Ellsbury was given an error. But Lavarnway felt it was his fault for not moving up and handling the bad throw.
“I wish they had given me that error,” he said. “Jacoby was trying to get the guy out and I played it into an in-between hop and I need to go out and smother that ball. I need to keep it front of me. I need to go get it and be more aggressive.”
Said Buchholz: “The ball just got by him. It happens. It happens every day. He was trying to catch it and he just missed it. Mistakes happen, errors happen. It’s something you have to deal with.”
When Carlos Peguero grounded to shortstop for what looked like a possible double play, Jose Iglesias lost his grip on the ball. After looking at second, he threw late to first as another run scored.
“I was trying to be too quick,” he said. “A bad play.”
Brendan Ryan followed with a grounder into the shortstop hole. This time, Iglesias made a quick throw across his body to start a double play to end the inning. But the Sox had given up four runs.
Buchholz did his best to keep the Sox in the game from there. But the run support was lacking. The Sox are hitting .223 and have scored 16 runs in the seven-game losing streak.
“Tough luck today,” Buchholz said.
Dustin Pedroia’s double in the first inning was the 1,000th hit of his career. It also extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active streak in the majors.
Pedroia is the 31st player to reach 1,000 hits with the Red Sox. The only other second baseman was Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.
Pedroia got to 1,000 hits in 833 games. Only five Red Sox got there faster: Nomar Garciaparra (746 games), Wade Boggs (747), Johnny Pesky (774), Ted Williams (814), and Jim Rice (827).
Pedroia is 22 of 57 (.386) on his streak with 11 extra-base hits, eight RBIs, and 10 runs scored. He has hit safely in 27 of his last 28 games at 43 of 113 (.381) with 18 extra-base hits, 21 runs, and 16 RBIs.
Two more in
Ivan De Jesus Jr. made his Red Sox debut when he pinch hit in the seventh inning for Iglesias and grounded into a force.
Righthander Chris Carpenter, summoned from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day, also made his debut. He walked two batters in the eighth inning before Smoak lined into a double play.
Carpenter was one of the players acquired from the Cubs as compensation for former general manager Theo Epstein. Carpenter had elbow surgery in March and was on the disabled list until July 31 before being optioned to Pawtucket.
Carpenter had a 1.15 ERA in 16 appearances for Pawtucket and held opponents to a .137 batting average.
“He’s got a couple of pitches [a fastball and slider] that are hard to hit when they’re down,” Valentine said.
The Red Sox have used 55 players this season, their most since 55 were used in 1996.
Atchison gets started
Righthander Scott Atchison, who is trying to pitch with a torn elbow ligament, pitched a perfect inning for Pawtucket on Monday. He could join the Sox later this week . . . General manager Ben Cherington said the organization remains hopeful that David Ortiz will play again this season. He is on the disabled list for a second time with a strained right Achilles’ tendon. Ortiz has a PRP injection last week to try and speed the healing process . . . Lefty Franklin Morales, on the DL with a shoulder strain, may start throwing tomorrow. He said he hopes to pitch in at least a few games before the end of the season . . . Iglesias was 0 for 2 and is hitless in 16 at-bats since being called up . . . Seattle is 30-19 since the All-Star break; the Sox are 19-31 . . . The Sox are 30-36 on the road with losses in 20 of the last 29 games.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.