The Red Sox suffered a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday night, just 24 hours after clinching their first division title since 2007.
The loss was also Clay Buchholz’s first of the season, as he dropped to 11-1. Despite coming up short, Buchholz allowed just three runs over six full innings, throwing 106 pitches in his effort, continuing to regain strength from the shoulder injury that kept him out for more than three months.
“He was fighting to get back out there for the seventh tonight,” said manager John Farrell. “But given the progressing that we are on, I think that was a comfortable amount of pitches thrown tonight, but he still feels good physically, felt that he could continue on tonight … As far as Clay is concerned, the stuff he had, the endurance he showed, [it was] a positive night for him.”
“I told [Farrell] I could go back out, if he wanted me to,” Buchholz said. “It was like 15-20 pitches [higher than] my last time out, but I felt as good in the sixth as I did in the first.”
The toughest inning of the night for the Red Sox -- and Buchholz -- was the fourth, where the righthander allowed three runs on five hits on top of some defensive miscues, including one by Buchholz himself.
“I thought in the fourth inning defensively we probably contributed, including Clay’s errant pickoff attempt, to the three runs in that one inning,” Farrell said. “The infield base hit where [Xander Bogaerts] tried to set his feet, double pumped, and it was enough for [Brett] Lawrie to beat out an infield hit. [The] ball carried well to center field off of Lind’s bat for the other double that Lawrie scored on, and then the bloop base hit.”
“I just held on to it a little too long,” said Buchholz about his pickoff error. “I was basically just trying to set up a way for [David Ross] to throw him out, so it was just a show move... I just held on to it a little too long.”
When asked if he had any thoughts on this being the first game he lost all year, Buchholz said “that’s part of the game, you win some, you lose some. The guys that have played behind me all year have found ways to come back, situations where I came out of the game, behind in the game [and they] found a way to come back in the game. We got a good group of guys and they never stop battling until the final out.”
With the Red Sox down, 3-2, heading into the eighth, Farrell decided to bring in recently-added-to-the-bullpen Ryan Dempster, who came in and allowed one hit and one walk, but was able to keep the Blue Jays off the scoreboard. This was the first time Dempster had come out of the bullpen since 2007.
“[Dempster] felt like he was physically ready to go tonight,” Farrell said. "We’ll space it out over the coming week, but there was also a matchup situation in the inning [we used him] as well.”
“[I want to] get as many [opportunities] as I possibly can,” Dempster said. “Just to get into different situations, winning, losing, tied, whatever it is, just to try and get familiar with [coming out of the bullpen] again, just get crisper and crisper, hopefully be able to get sharper each time out.
“I think the hope is that you throw one inning, especially as you get further away from starting, you add a little bit of velocity maybe, or just even crispness …You just want to go out there and get three outs before letting anybody score; that’s my goal every time.”
The Red Sox wrap up their final home series of the regular season Sunday afternoon. Felix Doubront gets the start for the Red Sox; he will be opposed by Toronto’s R.A. Dickey.