The Boston Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-0 on Saturday, snapping a three game losing streak.
While Clay Buchholz did not pick up his second quality start of the season, he has only the rain to blame for it. With a two-hour delay forcing him to throw simulated innings to stay warm, the Red Sox could only ask for 61 in-game pitches from him.
Those 61, however, were pretty impressive. Showing more command than he has in any other game so far this year, Buchholz threw more than 70% of his pitches for strikes, only walking one batter while striking out six along the way. With his improved command came greater efficiency, too, actually allowing him to finish the fifth inning despite a drastically limited pitch count.
With the Twins unable to mount any offense against Buchholz, the Red Sox all but had the game sewn up after the first inning. Jacoby Ellsbury's leadoff double set up Jed Lowrie for a two-out RBI single to give the Sox the early lead. They would build on it in the third inning, this time with Adrian Gonzalez doubling and Kevin Youkilis immediately knocking him in.
With a 2-0 lead, the Red Sox turned to their bullpen in the sixth inning. Even with Alfredo Aceves' 4 innings in relief of Tim Wakefield having preserved most of the arms Friday, the Red Sox still had to turn to Rich Hill--relatively unproven in this role--for the sixth. And, at first, it seemed as though things were beginning to unravel, as Hill walked the first batter he faced and then hit Trevor Plouffe with a pitch to put two men on with nobody out. But Hill fell back on his curveball, inducing a double play off the bat of Justin Morneau, and then sat Jason Kubel down swinging on the same pitch.
From there, it was smooth sailing, with Matt Albers and Daniel Bard providing scoreless innings to bring the Sox to the bottom of the eighth where, with the bases loaded, Jacoby Ellsbury singled in two more runs to give the Sox a comfortable 4-0 lead. Not needing much from Jonathan Papelbon, the Sox' closer provided them with yet another dominant outing, collecting three outs (including two strikeouts) on just 11 pitches to end the game.