CLEVELAND Finally the Red Sox pulled out a tightly contested one-run game against an American League also-ran.
Backed by some superb mound work from Clay Buchholz thats become the norm in the second half of the year, the Sox kayoed the Tribe by a 3-2 score at Progressive Field. The solid win snapped a three-game losing streak and kept the Sox in pace with the four teams theyre chasing in the AL Wild Card race.
Buchholz baffled the Cleveland offense with a complete game two-hitter, and improved his record to 8-2 following a Red Sox loss since the start of the 2011 season.
In deeds if not in official name, Buchholz is the new stopper on the Boston starting staff when it was once a guy named Beckett or Lester. Hes also second in the Majors with a .719 winning percentage on the road since 2009 that includes a gaudy 23-9 record away from Fenway.
He had his two-seam fastball inducing ground balls and dizzying changeup for swings and misses, and held everyone hitless in the Indians lineup aside from Asdrubal Cabrera.
Its just a shame the string bean righty cant pitch every day of the week.
The Tribe did bring their power sticks early in the game. Last night it was a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first, and Friday night it was Cabrera as Clevelands second batter of the game going deep off Clay Buchholz for the solo homer.
But the never-say-die Sox fought back in the third inning when Mike Aviles led off with a walk, and then scampered all the way to third base on an errant pickoff throw.
Dustin Pedroia knocked him home with an RBI single, and then scored a run of his own in the sixth inning when Cody Ross launched his 18th home run of the season to dead centerfield.
The patented Ross bat flip was judged a 9.5 by the German judges, and ended up as the game-winning hit.
Cleveland scrapped for one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame when both Pedroia and Aviles made errors on a play that saw Jason Donald go all the way around to third base.
He subsequently scored on Ezequiel Carreras sacrifice fly to right field that made it a one-run game, but thats as close as the Indians would come on a night when Buchholz was electrifying. One down note in the victory: rookie sensation Will Middlebrooks was hit in the right hand with a pitch in the ninth inning and appeared to be in a great deal of pain as he exited the game.