Game over: Red Sox 7, Orioles 0: The Red Sox got a complete-game shutout from Clay Buchholz to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
Buchholz (6-2, 5.77 ERA) recorded his third career complete-game shutout and first since going the distance in an 11-0 romp over the Orioles June 4, 2010.
Thursday night, before a Fenway crowd of 37,307, Buchholz threw nine shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out six and hitting a pair of batters after throwing a season-high 125 pitches, the second most of his career after throwing 127 May 18, 2011, in a 1-0 home victory over Detroit.
Bottom of eighth: Red Sox 7, Orioles 0: Kevin Youkilis hit a two-out RBI double to left off Darren O'Day, who entered the game in the eighth in relief of Kevin Gregg. It scored Daniel Nava, who reached on a double to left with one out.
Top of eighth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Buchholz looked like he was ready to go the distance after getting through a scoreless eighth. He matched his season-high with 111 pitches while striking out six. He's hit a pair of batters, allowed no walks and committed one error. With no action in the bullpen, it appeared Bobby Valentine was prepared to let Buchholz go for the complete-game shutout, which would mark the fourth complete game of his career and first since going the distance in an 11-0 romp over the Orioles June 4, 2010.
Bottom of seventh: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Gregg entered the game in relief of Gonzalez and gave up a one-out single to center to Gonzalez before getting Aviles to fly to left and Darnell McDonald to ground to short for the force out on Gonzalez at second.
Top of seventh: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Make that seven shutout innings for Buchholz, who retired the side in 1-2-3 fashion by getting Matt Wieters and Chris Davis to fly to left before striking out Mark Reynolds (swinging) on an 82 changeup. It was Buchholz's fifth strikeout of the game.
Kevin Gregg was summoned to relieve Gonzalez (4.0 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 SO) in the bottom of the seventh.
Bottom of sixth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Gonzalez continued to keep the Sox in check. After issuing a lead-off walk to Nava, Gonzalez got Pedroia and Youkilis to fly to center and Ortiz to pop to short.
Top of sixth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: That's six scoreless innings for Buchholz, who retired the Orioles in 1-2-3 fashion on a strikeout, groundball out to short, and a fly ball to right.
Bottom of fifth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: A 1-2-3 inning for Gonzalez, who has now retired nine of 12 batters faced, including the last five in a row.
Top of fifth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Buchholz threw another scoreless inning at the Orioles after hitting lead-off hitter Mark Reynolds with a pitch. Buchholz atoned for his earlier fielding miscue in the fourth by covering first on a 3-6-1 double play ball by Wilson Betemit. After hitting Ryan Flaherty, Buchholz then recorded his third strikeout of the game by getting Robert Andino to fan on a 79 curveball to end the inning.
Bottom of fourth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Gonzalez kept the Red Sox in check affter issuing a one-out walk to Ortiz by getting Middlebrooks to fly to center and Gonzalez to hit a warning-track out to left.
Top of fourth: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: Another scoreless inning for Buchholz, who started out by commiting a fielding error with one out when he dropped Kevin Youkilis's flip to the bag on Adam Jones weak ground ball to first. Buchholz atoned when he got Matt Wieters to fly to left and Chris Davis to ground to second.
Buchholz leads the league with 8.11 runs of support per 9.0 innings (58 runs in support over his 64.1 innings pitched).
Bottom of third: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0: After giving up a lead-off single to center to Adrian Gonzalez, Matusz was done for the night after throwing 67 pitches in 2+ innings of work, and turned it over to righthanded reliever Miguel Gonzalez.
After striking out Mike Aviles (looking), Gonzalez gave up a wall-ball double to McDonald, putting men on second and third. Gonzalez struck out Shoppach (swinging), but gave up a 2-RBI single to right to Nava, who advanced to second on Endy Chavez's fielding error. Gonzalez minimized the damage to two runs when he got Pedroia to fly to right to end the inning.
Matusz's line: 2+ innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 4 hits, 5 walks, 67 pitches (33 strikes).
Top of third: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Efficient inning for Buchholz, who gave up a lead-off single to Ryan Flaherty, but came back to get Robert Andino to hit into a 4-6-3 double play ball and struck out Chavez (swinging) on an 80 changeup. Through three scoreless innings, Buchholz has allowed three hits and no walks while striking out two batters after throwing 36 pitches (22 for strikes).
Bottom of second: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Matusz loaded the bases when the first three batters he faced reached on a walk, single and walk, which loaded the bases for Dustin Pedroia, who hit an RBI fielder's choice to second that scored Darnell McDonald from third and wiped out Daniel Nava at second.
Pedroia reached base and advanced to second on Robert Andino's wild throw to first, which scored Kelly Shoppach, giving the Sox a 4-0 lead. Matusz got out of the inning when David Ortiz popped to second and Middlebrooks grounded to second.
Top of second: Red Sox 2, Orioles 0: The Orioles put a man aboard when Chris Davis reached on a one-out double to center. After inducing Mark Reynolds to fly to left, Buchholz got out of the inning when Wilson Betemit popped to short.
Bottom of first: Red Sox 2, Orioles 0: The Sox put a pair of runners aboard with one out when Dustin Pedroia walked and Kevin Youkilis singled to left with one out against Brian Matusz. After inducing David Ortiz to pop up to third, the Orioles' lefthander walked Will Middlebrooks to load the bases for Adrian Gonzalez, who laced a 2-RBI double down the line to right to give the Sox a 2-0 lead.
Matusz got out of the inning when he got Mike Aviles to hit a towering fly ball out to left.
Top of first: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0: After issuing a lead-off single to Endy Chavez, Clay Buchholz struck out J.J. Hardy (swinging at a 93 fastball) and got Adam Jones to ground into a double play at second.
Pregame: Welcome to Fenway Park where the Red Sox (28-28) will host the Baltimore Orioles (32-24) in the finale of this four-game series. The Orioles, winners of seven in a row and eight of their last nine games at Fenway, will send LHP Brian Matusz (5-5, 4.41 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Clay Buchholz (5-2, 6.58).
As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.