CHICAGO — It has become a tradition in baseball that the starting pitcher gets to choose the music playing in the clubhouse before the game on the day he pitches.
Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz puts some thought into what is usually an eclectic playlist. His selections on Wednesday included some of Journey’s greatest hits, a few top 40 hip-hop tunes and even a selection from the soundtrack of the old Broadway hit “Grease.”
Buchholz brought the same variety to the mound. He threw six different pitches against the Chicago White Sox over seven innings, getting weak swings on all of them over the course of the game. The result was a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The White Sox scored one run on five hits against Buchholz. He walked three and struck out four to improve to 7-0. Buchholz has been more overpowering in some starts this season but he never let the White Sox string hits together.
Buchholz threw a four-seam fastball, a sinking two-seam fastball, a cutter, a split-finger fastball, a changeup and a curveball
“The biggest thing is that no one can really sit on any one pitch in a given count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “That’s what really defines who Clay is.”
The Red Sox are 9-1 when Buchholz has started this season. He has gone at least seven innings nine times.
“When any starter is throwing the ball well and getting deep into games, good things are going to happen,” Buchholz said. “You’re going to take your lumps and bumps in the road. But it’s been fun. Hopefully just keep on striding.”
David Ortiz was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base for the Red Sox, who were 6-3 on their road trip. They were two games behind the Yankees when the trip started and they return home a half-game out.
• Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 3 with two walks and a run scored. He got on base six times in the final two games of the series and may be working out of what has been a long slump. His on-base percentage climbed from .303 to .318.
Ellsbury rarely speaks to reporters and initially passed on answering questions before a team official interceded.
"It's nice to get on base and score a run," Ellsbury said. 'It feels good. Same approach that I've had, same game plan. Everything is pretty much the same. It's just nice to get on base and create havoc."
Despite his poor statistics, among the worst for leadoff hitters in all of baseball, Ellsbury didn't acknowledge that he was slumping.
“I feel like I’ve been having good at-bats,’’ Ellsbury said. “Fortunately tonight, I found some grass in the outfield. I’ve had quite a few swings that have been the same. ... I just have to stick with the plan, have a good approach, have a good plan and it’s a matter of sticking to the plan.’’
Ellsbury also made a nice running catch in the fifth inning to take a hit away from Alexei Ramirez.
• Ortiz stole third without a throw in the first inning. It was no fluke, either. The Sox called for the steal. It was the first stolen base for Ortiz since June 21, 2011 and the first time in his 17-year career he stole third.
“I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Ortiz said about getting the steal sign. “But it happened. I don’t have a zero in that category any more.”
Ortiz was asked why he waited 17 years to steal third.
"Talk to the coaches," he said.
Maybe Ortiz will get the green light on the bases now.
"Let's not go that crazy," he said.
Joking aside, the fact that Ortiz is physically able to run hard 90 feet and steal a base is clearly a sign that his Achilles tendon injury is either fully healed or close to it.
"I've been running well lately. I've been feeling better," he said. "You guys know me, if I feel good I'm going to run. Not stealing bases, but taking advantage of whatever is happening."
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw out two runners stealing. Opponents had been 19 of 20 against him.