- Gordon Edes, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- The black-and-white verdict on Clay Buchholz is he was tagged with his first loss of the season Thursday, and the Red Sox have now lost both of his starts in 2014.
"He looked a lot more confident out there," Pierzynski said. "If Buch pitches like that, he's going to win a lot of games, so he'll be fine. I know his [velocity] was down in his first start and all that, but his stuff was back to where I remember Clay Buchholz being the last bunch of years."
Buchholz pitched six innings and was charged with all four Yankees runs, only two of which were earned. The Yankees capitalized on an error by Jonathan Herrera, the newly acquired utilityman who has looked very shaky at third, to score twice in the third inning, when sharply hit singles by Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann and a double-play ground ball brought two home. Buchholz also gave up two runs in the fourth, on Dean Anna's first home run of his big league career, a double by Derek Jeter and a single by Jacoby Ellsbury.
"He was better than the last time out," manager John Farrell said. "He had better power and action to his stuff in the strike zone, much better and consistent location. We gave them the extra out in that inning, and a couple of hits found holes, but I thought it was a positive step tonight."
Buchholz's fastball averaged 89 miles an hour Thursday, which means there is still work to be done, and touched 93. He got 10 swings and misses, and induced the Yankees to chase 14 of 46 pitches out of the zone, a healthy 30 percent.
"I felt a lot better," Buchholz said. "I felt just in the last five days, my arm strength and everything got a lot better, and within a five-day span that usually doesn't happen that quick. I felt a lot more comfortable with every pitch tonight, but I've got to limit the damage a lot more in a couple spots.
"My velocity was better. Whenever I reached back to throw it -- I'm not saying I threw as hard as I could on every pitch, but in a couple situations where I had to reach back, I was able to do so."
Anna's home run, he said, came on a splitter that was down but over the middle of the plate.
"He was good," Pierzynski said. "The home run wasn't a bad pitch. He made some really good pitches; had all four going. He deserved a pretty good fate, but unfortunately the other guy [Michael Pineda] pitched pretty darn good."