BOSTON – The Red Sox had hoped that Clay Buchholz – now out of the shadow of the rotation’s jettisoned aces -- would rise to the challenge of the staff leader, the pitcher the other younger, newer pitchers could look up to.
Instead, he faltered mightily Sunday night, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 8-7.
Buchholz threw a season-high 114 pitches in just five innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and five walks with five strikeouts. But, it wasn’t just about those numbers – it was how he allowed them. Staked to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Buchholz allowed the Yankees to tie the game in the second.
Indeed, he gave up a three-run lead not once but twice in the game.
Buchholz was not involved in the decision, as his ERA rose from 5.87 to 6.20.
After Buchholz was done, left-hander Craig Breslow entered and gave up a lead-off home run to Brett Gardner, allowing the Yankees to go ahead, 8-7, their first lead of the game. It was the second time in as many outings that Breslow had given up a lead-off home run.
This time it was too much for the Sox offense to come back from.
MVP: Brett Gardner
Gardner went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, a walk, a run scored, and three RBI. His lead-off home run in the sixth off Craig Breslow was the difference in the game.
GOAT: Clay Buchholz
Buchholz gave a dismal performance in his first start after the Sox had sent the other four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation packing. He lasted just five innings; matching a season high (with his last outing) seven runs, on eight hits and five walks with five strikeouts.
In his last two starts he has gone 10 innings, giving up 14 runs on 15 hits and nine walks with eight strikeouts. He has allowed seven runs in each of his last two starts, and at least four runs in in each of his last four starts. Before that he had allowed five runs total in 22 1/3 innings over three starts.
Gardner’s 15th home run of the season – leading off the sixth against Breslow – was the difference in the game.
QUOTE/TWEET OF THE GAME:
“My mindset is always to go out and compete and try to keep my team in the game. I didn’t do either of those tonight.” – Clay Buchholz
NUMBERS TO KNOW:
Dustin Pedroia’s second-inning two-run home run was his fifth of the season, snapping a stretch of 146 at-bats without a home run since June 19. He has multiple hits in his last five games, batting .455, going 10-for-22, matching a career high for the seventh time. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, batting .400, going 16-for-40…David Ortiz’s two-run home in the fourth was his 26th of the season and 457th of his career, tying him with Adam Dunn for 35th all-time. Jose Canseco is next on the list, with 462. He has driven in 18 runs over his last 12 games and 30 in his last 25 games...Christian Vazquez went 2-for-2 with two walks, reaching base a career-high four times. He has reached safely in 11 of his 13 starts since being called up on July 9…Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is now hitless in his last 11 at-bats. He went 1-for-12 in the series against the Yankees…Jackie Bradley is hitless in his last 24 at-bats, after hitting .349, going 19-for-55 in a 17-game stretch from July 1-25.
WHAT IT MEANS:
The Sox fell to 2-10 in their last 12 games. They are 19-32 against the American League East this season, compared to 30-30 against all other teams.
After the whirlwind of the last week, the Sox have an off-day tomorrow before starting a three-city trip on Tuesday in St. Louis. The Sox will not face John Lackey in the series – he earned the win for the Cardinals Sunday against Milwaukee.
The pitching match-ups for the three-game set are: Tuesday, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (3-4, 3.64) vs. right-hander Lance Lynn (11-8, 2.98); Wednesday, right-hander Joe Kelly will make his Sox debut against his former team, opposed by right-hander Shelby Miller (8-8, 4.14); and on Thursday, right-hander Brandon Workman (1-4, 4.08) will be opposed by right-hander Adam Wainwright (13-6, 2.26).