Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 11, Astros 0
July, 13, 2014
By Jordan Godwin, Special to ESPNBoston.com
HOUSTON -- Clay Buchholz delivered his best start of the season Sunday, and the Red Sox didn't even really need it.
A day after Jake Peavy pitched his best game of the season and only got two runs of support and his eighth straight loss to show for it, the Red Sox gave Buchholz more than enough support in an 11-0 blowout over the Houston Astros.
In a departure from their one-run nail-biters of late, it was the Red Sox's widest margin of victory of the season. They enter the All-Star break having won four of their last five games.
Playing about 90 miles from his hometown of Nederland, Buchholz pitched a dazzling shutout, allowing just three hits, zero walks, while recording a career-high 12 strikeouts. He retired the last 17 batters he faced in the dominant performance.
On a day when Buchholz only needed one run of support to win, the Red Sox gave him much more than that.
The Red Sox poured runs on the Astros, and they did it without a whole lot of what Farrell has been preaching for weeks -- timely hitting.
The final score wasn't as lopsided as the final hits category, which ended at 16-3. After Mike Napoli was the only hitter in the starting lineup to go hitless on Saturday, David Ortiz was the lone goose egg on Sunday, as he went 0-for-4 with two walks and one RBI.
The Red Sox knocked Houston starter Brad Peacock out of the game just one out in, as Brock Holt led off with a home run and the Red Sox loaded the bases early. Houston burned through five relievers, and the Red Sox touched just about every one of them in the hitting clinic.
Holt stays hot: Brock Holt has hit well pretty much everywhere he has played since his May call-up, but he really liked Houston. A few miles down the road from where he spent a year playing college ball at Rice University, Holt destroyed the Astros in the series, going 10-for-15 and hitting for the cycle across three games, collecting two RBIs and scoring four runs. He was 5-for-6 on Sunday with two runs scored and an RBI.
Ducks on the pond: Although the Red Sox scored 11 runs, they could have scored a whole lot more. They stranded 11 runners on base and hit into five double plays.
Walking the line: Several players were asked after Saturday's game if it felt like they were pressing and trying too hard to make things happen. If their patience at the plate is any indication, the Red Sox couldn't be much more relaxed. They drew eight walks on Sunday, nearing the season high of 10, and rank second in the majors in walks, trailing only Oakland.
Vazquez going bananas: After Friday's three-hit breakout performance where he collected his first major-league hit, catcher Christian Vazquez said, "After the first one, they come in like bananas." On Sunday, Vazquez picked up two more hits along with two RBIs.