The Red Sox swept the Twins in Target Field Wednesday night, knocking off their Midwestern competition 7-6 despite a sixth-inning rally cued by collapses from Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox bullpen, and Bobby Valentine.
Boston got off to a hot start in the second as Mike Aviles' home run highlighted a four-run attack that gave Clay Buchholz some sizable room to work with. He offered one back in the bottom of the inning, but had the Sox strike again for two more runs in the third on a clutch two-out single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
A leadoff triple from Dustin Pedroia helped make it 7-1 in the top of the fifth, but the lead wouldn't stay quite so large for very long. After striking out Sean Burroughs to start the sixth, Clay saw the game slip away from him on, of all things, a pair of singles--one a bunt, and the other a ground ball. Apparently unsettled by the hits, Buchholz surrendered an RBI double to Denard Span, and then waked Jamey Carroll before being yanked.
His replacement in Scott Atchison would do nothing more than allow a ground ball single to Joe Mauer before having his night end. Then the true nightmare scenario occurred: Justin Thomas entered a close game. Facing Justin Morneau, Thomas allowed a double that brought the Twins within just two runs, and then beaned Chris Parmelee in the head, leaving him prone at home plate for several long minutes while trainers attended to him. Matt Albers would give the Twins another run before finally ending the inning with just a one-run lead remaining to the Sox.
The good news for Boston was that, for once, the rest of the pen was up to the task. While the offense disappeared in the last third of the game, Vicente Padilla and Franklin Morales each provided clean innings, leaving just Alfredo Aceves and the ninth. The Sox' closer would bring plenty of fear with him, loading the bases with two outs, but managed to strike out Denard Span for the win.
Buchholz Struggles: Another bad game for Clay Buchholz could have been better had it ended in the fifth, but even then that would have just been on the surface. Buchholz was hittable all game long, and in the end paid for it with his fair share of runs allowed. How much more of this can the Sox take before they go looking elsewhere for six innings a game, be it Aaron Cook or the returning Daisuke Matsuzaka?
Valentine Doesn't Learn: After explicitly apologizing for bringing Justin Thomas into an important situation earlier in the season, Bobby Valentine again asks the southpaw who can't get lefties to get a key out. No surprise that he didn't. Does Valentine apologize again, or is he going to get a free pass after a win?
I Like Mike: Mike Aviles' fourth homer on the season leaves him with a ridiculous .952 OPS to this point in the season. Remember how many people were clamoring for Iglesias earlier in the year?
|Final - 4.25.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||4||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||7||10||0|
|WP: Clay Buchholz (2 - 1)
SV: Alfredo Aceves (4)
LP: Liam Hendriks (0 - 1)