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."