SOX WIN (11:51, TOP 9, 10-3 SOX)
After a long, ugly victory, the Sox cut their magic number clinch the AL wild card down to three. Clay Buchholz pitched 6 2/3 sterling, shutout innings, striking out eight and allowing five hits, all singles. David Ortiz hit a home run and drove in three runs, giving him seven for the past two nights and 91 for the season. The Royals made five erros. Dustin Pedroia went 2 for 4 with two RBI, extending his hitting streak to 16 games.
ORTIZ PASSES 90 RBI (11:42, TOP 9, 10-3 SOX)
Raise your hand if, on May 31, you thought you’d be reading that this year. With two men on, Ortiz sliced a low line drive to left field, scoring both runners. With his home run earlier, Ortiz now has 91 RBIs for the year, nine away from 100 with 10 games to go.
Chris Woodward flied out to end the inning. Saito will stay in the game.
SOX OPEN LEAD BACK UP (11:37, TOP 8, 8-3)
The Sox have some more breathing room, which happens when your opponent commits FIVE errors. The fifth, a booted grounder by Callaspo on a hit by Pedroia, scored Ellsbury for the eighth run. Alex Gonzalez had doubled and scored on Ellsbury’s single.
THAT WAS CLOSE (11:25, BOT 8, 6-3 SOX)
Saito walked Olivo to score a run, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Gordon grounded to Kotchman at first, who started a 3-6-1 double play, Saito reaching first just before Gordon dove head first into the bag. Ugly inning, but the Sox still have a three-run lead to play with. Jonathan Papelbon is starting to get loose in the bullpen.
ROYALS THREATENING (11:20, BOT 8, 6-2 SOX)
The Royals have the bases loaded with one out and, in the form of Olivo, the tying run at the plate. Takashi Saito replaced Ramon Ramirez and promptly allowed singles to Callaspo and Teahan.
NO SHUT OUT (11:11, BOT 8, 6-1 SOX)
The Red Sox added a sixth run in the eighth inning after Betancourt made another error, the Royals’ fourth of the night. But the Royals got it back when Butler just hammered a home run to left off of Ramirez.
BUCHHOLZ DONE (10:44, END 7, 5-0 SOX)
After a quick two outs, Buchholz allowed two singles, to Miguel Olivo and Alex Gordon. Having thrown 109 pitches, Buchholz is out. Olivo became only the second Royal to reach second base tonight. By the end of the night, the Royals had swung at 45 of his pitches and missed 13 times. That’s really good.
Ramon Ramirez entered as the new pitcher, and Betancourt nearly pulled the Royals back into the game. His deep fly to left died at the warning and dropped into Jason Bay’s glove to end the inning.
TIME TO STRETCH (10:34, MID 7, 5-0 SOX)
The Sox had a quiet seventh, managing a single from Mike Lowell and nothing more.
Clay Buchholz is back out for the seventh having thrown 94 pitches. Here’s a better indication of how good Buchholz has been so far tonight: The Royals have swung at 39 of his pitches and missed 12 times, a 30.8-percent rate. For the season, Rich Harden is the only starting pitcher in the majors with a higher rate; his is 33.9 percent. The best in the AL belongs to Francisco Liriano, at 27 percent.
Now, it’s one game, and it’s against the Royals, but this is a pretty awesome performance. His ERA for the year is down to 3.24.
SIX DOWN (10:22, END 6, 5-0 SOX)
Buchholz nicked Butler with a pitch, but otherwise he threw another flawless innings. He struck out Mike Jacobs swinging at an 83-mph changeup. Two more swings-and-misses that innings; he’s got 12 in 94 pitches.
BUCHHOLZ OUT FOR THE SIXTH (10:14, MID 6, 5-0 SOX)
Here’s how good Buchholz has been tonight: The Royals have seven strikeouts, six groundball outs, and two flyball outs. Buchholz has induced 10 swing-and-misses in 80 pitches.
SOX ADD ON (10:07, TOP 6, 5-0 SOX)
Pedroia doubled home Gonzalez, who had stolen second base and moved to third on the third Royals error of the game. With the hit, Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
A BLIP FOR BUCHHOLZ (9:58, END 5, 4-0 SOX)
Mike Jacobs singled with two outs, which snapped Buchholz’s string of 13 consecutive outs. But Betancourt flied out to left to end the inning. Buchholz is throwing whatever pitch he wants whenever he wants.
His ERA for the season is down to 3.28. That’s lower than Jon Lester’s for the season, which is pretty incredible.
BUCHHOLZ DOMINANT (9:52, MID 5, 4-0 SOX)
While a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia and some sloppy defense have given the Sox a four-run lead, Buchholz has oppressed the Royals, seemingly unaffected by his cold. He has seven strikeouts and 12 straight outs after Mark Teahan grounded out to lead off the fifth. The Royals have only two hits, singles by Mitch Maier and Billy Butler.
ORTIZ GOES YARD, HILLMAN EJECTED (9:15, TOP 4, 1-0 SOX)
David Ortiz led off the fourth with a rocket of a solo home run to left-center, his 26th home run of the season and his 89th RBI. The Red Sox are 22-2 when Ortiz hits a home run.
The second pitch Lerew threw to Mike Lowell nearly grazed his helmet. Gibson wamred Lerew and warned both benches. Hillman exploded out of the dugout and screamed inches from Gibson’s face and was quickly ejected. Hillman went on yelling for quite some time before finally leaving.
GREINKE EJECTED, SOX SCORE (8:59, TOP 3, 1-0)
This is strange: After Jacoby Ellsbury took a ball to make the count 2-2, Greg Gibson turned around and pointed at someone in the Royals dugout. Trey Hillman came out and talked to him. Nothing major, or it seemed. They just announced that Zack Greinke, Tuesday’s starter, had been ejected. Ellsbury eventually dumped a single to center and stole second. He scored when Yuniesky Betancourt booted Dustin Pedroia’s grounder to short.
MARTINEZ HITS 23 (8:17, TOP 1, 0-0)
Victor Martinez added one more game to his career-high hitting streak. He looped a two-out single into shallow centerfield, off the glove of the diving Mitch Maier, to extend the streak to 23 games. It is the longest active streak in the majors. Jason Bay flied out to center to end the inning.