BOSTON In a rematch of his last outing, Clay Buchholz was opposed by the Rays Cy Young contender David Price. In his last game, Buchholz escaped with a no-decision while the Red Sox suffered the loss in Tampa Bay on Thursday. Buchholz was not as fortunate Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as he took the loss as the Sox again fell to the Rays, 5-2.
Buchholz went six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts. His record fell to 11-7 while his ERA rose to 4.22.
The Rays did all their damage in two innings. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Buchholz walked Evan Longoria and Luke Scott to lead off the second Scott on four pitches. Jeff Keppinger followed that with a first-pitch home run giving the Rays all the runs they would need.
In the sixth, though, Tampa Bay added two more runs. After striking out Scott to open the inning, Buchholz gave up a back-to-back singles to Keppinger and Matt Joyce, before getting Carlos Pena to hit into a fielders choice, retiring Joyce and sending Keppinger to third. Keppinger scored on a Jose Molinas single to left with Pena scoring on an error by Daniel Nava.
I thought Clay was really good, said manager Bobby Valentine. The second inning, first time in a long time walked two guys in a row. Just didnt have a good feel for any of his pitches and then threw one down the middle that put us down 3-0. But other than that he was really good until we didnt turn the double play and he left one up to Molina, a couple runs.
Price earned the win, pitching a complete game to improve to 19-5 with a 2.56 ERA. He recorded a season-high 13 strikeouts, one shy of his career high.
Just one of those nights, Buchholz said. Didnt really have a feel for the command of pitches that I usually have over the past couple of months. Fastballs in the area that I didn't want to throw them in. One of those games. Havent felt that way since all the trouble was going on early in the season and it was time it happened sooner or later. You want to go out there and win but when you dont have a feel for a pitch that you want to throw for a strikeits tough to go out there and win and play against a team two times in a row.
Buchholz left his last start after seven innings and just 94 pitches with soreness in his back. He said that was not an issue on Tuesday.
It has been a mixed season for Buchholz. He tied his career high with his 28th start on Tuesday, and has pitched a career high 187 23 innings with 127 strikeouts. He spent time on the DL. Buchholz has lost a career-high four straight decisions, going back to Aug. 22, a span of seven starts. In his previous 11 starts, he had gone 7-1.
I feel good, he said. Thats the best part about it. My body feels strong. I dont feel hampered in any fashion as far as my shoulder or elbow being tired. I feel good, yeah. I mean, I would have liked to have gotten to that point of 200 innings but doesnt look like Im going to make it.
Id have been satisfied if I started the way I wanted to start, he said. Numbers in this game, thats how everybody determines if youve had a bad year. I felt like I did a lot better than a lot of people thought I was going to do after the rough start, so if I can just build off that and be that ready coming in spring training next year and start of the season thatll be better.
This year as a whole will leave a sour taste in a lot of guys mouth to know that you dont want to be at that point again. Its taught everybody in this clubhouse to be prepared and do what they have to do to be ready for spring next year and the season.