The Red Sox got to Ubaldo Jimenez for seven runs, surviving a late-innings rally by the Indians to pick up a much-needed home win Friday night.
The Indians got off to a fast start against the beleaguered Clay Buchholz, scoring a run in the first and leaving the bases loaded in a frame that did not promise big things for Boston. The Sox would respond quickly, however, scoring twice in the bottom half as Will Middlebrooks doubled in Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to take a 2-1 lead off of Ubaldo Jimenez.
While Clay Buchholz would settle down for the next five innings, getting by on weak contact, Ubaldo Jimenez had no such luck. Dustin Pedroia would double home two more runs in the second, and the Sox would chase him from the game in a fifth inning that saw them send six men to the basepaths and score three more, leaving them up 7-1.
Clay Buchholz had a chance to leave the game with a solid six innings of one-run ball to his name, but unfortunately Bobby Valentine was once again slow with his hook, allowing Buchholz to load the bases before making a call to the pen. With the Indians pushing all three baserunners across before the inning ended, Buchholz' night ended with four runs, three earned to his name.
The Sox would manage to hold out from there, however, despite Alfredo Aceves allowing a run to score and putting the tying runner at second base in a tense ninth, with Johnny Damon flying out lazily to center to end the game.
A Building Block?: Had Buchholz been allowed to leave after allowing just one baserunner in the seventh, or even just two, he would have been guaranteed to have something to build on. Just a couple weeks after leaving the mound visibly distraught over yet another disaster, that could have been exactly the sort of thing a pitcher like Buchholz, who can get trapped in his own thoughts, needed.
Instead, either not recognizing the importance of such an outing, or just once again mucking up the timing, Bobby Valentine allowed him to load the bases, and while Buchholz was cheered leaving the field, his head was once again down as he left for the dugout.
Four runs, three earned is about the most ambiguous possible tally, so it's not clear how Buchholz will take it. But either way, it was poorly handled by Bobby, as always.
Middlebrooks Hurting: Will Middlebrooks does not seem to be moving terribly well, getting doubled up at first when he didn't seem to be busting it down the line, making an unusual error at third, and then being noticeably gimpy later in the game. It would not be surprising if that hamstring was taking a while to go away, leaving the young third baseman at less than 100%.
Ortiz Too?: David Ortiz would leave Friday's game in the seventh, being pinch hit for by Darnell McDonald due to "left heel soreness." It's an unusual sounding injury, and hopefully a minor one which the Sox chose to act on when it was 7-1 rather than 7-4. If there's one player the Sox can't lose right now, it's David Ortiz.