Buchholz gets knocked around in first start since June 16

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Buchholz gets knocked around in first start since June 16

DETROIT -- The Red Sox' pitching problems aren't limited to the back end of their bullpen.

For the second straight game Sunday, they had to deal with a poor outing from their starting pitcher. On Saturday, it was Josh Beckett, who was blasted for five homers in a 10-0 loss.

On Sunday, it was a sub-par effort from Clay Buchholz, who was making his first start since last June 16, having missed the entire second half of the 2011 season with a stress fracture in his lower back.

Buchholz was tagged for four runs in the first inning -- setting the tone for the day -- another in the second and two more in the fourth.

He was lifted after that, having needed 78 pitches to record just a dozen outs. Unlike Beckett, he didn't have any issues with the long ball and only two of the eight hits against him were for extra bases.

But the effect was still the same: the Sox had to overcome the hole that Buchholz had dug for them, and they were into the bullpen far too soon.

"You know, I felt really good," said Buchholz. "It's just a matter of wanting to keep the ball in the park because the wind was blowing out and I did that. But it just seemed that every time they made contact, the ball either found a hole or was just out of the reach of somebody in the infield."

One problem for Buchholz was not being able to put some hitters away when he was well ahead in the count. In the first inning alone, two Tigers who were behind 0-and-2 to Buchholz managed to connect for big hits.

"I've just got to do a better job of getting guys out and avoiding the big innings," said Buchholz.

Catcher Kelly Shoppach thought that Buchholz was the victim of some bad luck on the field, and, perhaps, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Nothing was wrong with him," said Shoppach. "They're a hot team -- it seemed like all hot. In this series, it seemed like they might have had 10 or 12 ground ball base hits and some broken bats fell in. They have some good hitters over there and they squared us up when we made mistakes.

"Clay threw the ball fine. He had pretty good stuff. He got burned a couple of times in big situations, but I thought he was pretty good today."

Said manager Bobby Valentine: "It didn't seem like he had a great feel for his curveball, so he went to his changeup and that got hit a couple of times . . . It's something he'll improve on."

Sunday marked the first time in his last 42 starts that Buchholz had given up more than five earned runs. Given the way the rest of the staff is going, he picked a bad time to see his streak come to an end.

"It's not the way you wanted to start," Buchholz said. "When this team scores 12 runs in a game, it should be a 100-percent win."

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."