Buchholz loses mental battle, but earns eighth win

797152.jpg

Buchholz loses mental battle, but earns eighth win

BOSTON -- Tuesday night was nothing but a mental battle for Clay Buchholz.

Facing the same team in two consecutive starts is tough. And maybe even tougher when you have a dominant seven-inning performance in the first one.

Before Tuesday night, Buchholz last pitched on June 12, exactly one week from his second-consecutive start against the Miami Marlins. Only last Tuesday's game was on the road.

Buchholz allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out nine and picking up his third straight win.

Facing the Marlins again so quickly, he felt like that might have benefitted them, more than it did him.

"It's tough to win against a team that you pitched against in your last start," said Buchholz after Tuesday night's game. "It's sort of a mind game, I guess you could be playing with yourself or get in your own head a little bit, as far as, what you did the last time against them in the last game, and how you thought they'd prepare for you."

Those mind games led Buchholz to allow five runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out three in six innings. It wasn't quite the same Buchholz who had been downright dominant in his previous three outings, that's for sure. But fortunately for him, the Red Sox offense put up seven runs in six innings, to help Boston to a 7-5 win, and help Buchholz earn his team-leading eighth win of the season.

"It's interesting that Clay didn't have his great stuff tonight, and the offense seemed to sense it," said Valentine. "They were going to do what they had to do to get us enough runs.

"It was a long layoff, and his timing just was off. His changeup wasn't what it has been. His location with his fastball wasn't what it has been. But it's another notch in the win column, and that'll get him to come back strong."

All of Miami's damage came off the bat of designated hitter Logan Morrison, who finished the game 3-for-4 with two doubles a home run and all five RBI.

And speaking of winning mind games, Morrison apparently won his with Buchholz, because while Buchholz dominated his last start against the Marlins, Morrison drove in the only run against him in that game, with a solo home run.

Morrison followed it up by ripping a 3-1 fastball over the Red Sox bullpen for a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the first inning, putting the Marlins ahead 2-0.

He then went on to hit a two-out RBI double in his next at-bat in the third inning, cutting Boston's lead to 4-3.

And the third and final time that Morrison faced Buchholz on Tuesday night, he ripped a two-out double that scored two runs off the wall in left-center that tied the game at 5-5.

"The last time Morrison came up, I told myself that if I walk him, whatever, you know? And then he hits a double off the wall," said Buchholz. "So that about tells you how that went for me.

"You just tip your cap to him. He was locked in tonight. I think he's been locked in ever since we left their place."

Buchholz wasn't necessarily locked in on Tuesday night. But he got enough offense to pick up another win.

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

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."

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning?  Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.