Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3
August, 16, 2012
By Jeff Seidel, Special to ESPNBoston.com
BALTIMORE -- Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz probably wishes he could throw out the first two innings of Thursday's game with the Baltimore Orioles.
Buchholz ran into all kinds of trouble in those first two frames, giving up three runs on six hits. Three of the hits were for extra bases as the Red Sox fell behind again. But the Boston defense picked up Buchholz early, and he then settled down to last eight innings in a 6-3 victory.
After the first two innings, Buchholz (11-3) surrendered only two hits. He gave the Red Sox (58-61) a chance to come back, and they did just that, scoring the game's final five runs to avoid being swept at Oriole Park. He gave up three runs on eight hits in his eight-inning stint.
Adam Jones belted a two-run double to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the first, but the bottom of the second wound up as a turning point for Buchholz. He gave up a leadoff homer to Mark Reynolds, followed by a Manny Machado double and an Omar Quintanilla walk.
Nick Markakis tried to bunt and froze for a second while the ball was right near the plate. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia pounced on the ball and started a 2-5-3 double play. J.J. Hardy followed with a single to right, and Cody Ross threw out Quintanilla at the plate to end the inning.
The Red Sox turned three double plays in the first four innings, and all of that seemed to help settle Buchholz down. He had better command of his fastball and struck out seven with only three walks.
Buchholz retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced, and the Orioles never really threatened again after the second inning. In the sixth, he struck out the side on nine pitches -- the 47th nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning in MLB history. He wound up throwing 72 strikes out of 107 pitches.
The offense gave Buchholz plenty of help, finishing with 13 hits. Even though the Red Sox left 10 on base, struggling in certain key situations again, they got enough hits at the right time. Boston finished 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position, much better than the first two games, in which the Red Sox got just two hits with runners in scoring position.
One of the few players who didn't do much on offense was leadoff batter Jacoby Ellsbury. He finished 0-for-4 with a walk while serving as the DH for the first time this season.
That ended his 38-game hitting streak against the Orioles, which went all the way back to 2009. He was trying to tie Vladimir Guerrero's record for a hitting streak against one team. Guerrero had a 44-game streak against the Rangers.