BOSTON – Although he was outpitched by Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle for most of his outing Saturday afternoon, Clay Buchholz was not charged with the loss.
He went eight innings, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts (matching a season low). Buehrle of Toronto went seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. It was his best outing of the season.
Neither pitcher, though, was involved in the decision.
“Both guys settled in and pitched extremely well on both sides,” said manager John Farrell. “Seemingly, after the second inning, Buehrle really settled into a very good rhythm. As we know he works extremely fast. Lived on the edge the whole game.
“[For Buchholz,] eight innings, two runs is a very good day. As the game went on he got into a better rhythm, became much more efficient, was down in the zone from those middle innings on through the eighth more consistently. A very strong effort again on his part again today.”
Buehrle kept the Sox off the scoreboard until reliever Darren Oliver allowed his inherited runner to score, charged to Buehrle. After a two-out single by David Ortiz in the third inning, Buehrle retired the next 13 Red Sox batters before issuing a lead-off walk to David Ross in the eighth, ending Buehrle's outing.
Buchholz pitched just as effectively, though Buehrle, Oliver, and Jays closer Casey Janssen stifled Sox batters, who went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight runners on.
After going 6-0 in his first six starts this season, Buchholz has no-decisions in his last two outings. Buchholz entered the game with an ERA of 1.60, third in the American League. With two runs allowed his ERA crept up to 1.69.
“Overall felt pretty good about it,” Buchholz said. “Left a couple pitches up with runners in scoring position. They were able to put a bat on it. I’ve got to make better pitches at that point in the game.”
And sometimes you just have to tip your cap.
“[Buehrle’s] been around for a long time,” Buchholz said. “It’s not frustrating because of who he is. It’s frustrating to lose in general.”
* The Red Sox were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the game, leaving eight runners on base. They are 13-for-71, batting .183, in their last nine games with runners in scoring position, leaving 65 runners on base. They are 2-7 in that stretch.
* The Sox have scored three or fewer runs in seven of their last 10 games.
* Andrew Bailey, who was been on the disabled list since April 29, was threw long toss on Saturday, from about 120 feet on flat ground. He is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, but there is no timetable yet. Bailey would need to pitch from a mound before the Red Sox could consider a return, and that is not expected to happen before early next week. The Red Sox have not yet decided if they will send him out on a rehab assignment.
* Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-4 with two doubles on Saturday. He has five extra-base hits in his last three games following eight straight games without an extra-base hit from April 28 – May 7. Middlebrooks is batting .364, going 12-for-33 with six doubles, four home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored in eight games against Toronto this season. Overall, he is batting .212, with a .245 on-base percentage and .417 slugging percentage.
* Jacoby Ellsbury, who entered the game tied for the major league lead in triples, hit his fourth of the season, in the eighth inning.
* David Ortiz’s third-inning single snapped an 0-for-17 slide.
* Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start Sunday afternoon in the home stand finale against the Blue Jays. He is 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA in seven starts this season. In four career games against the Blue Jays he is 1-0 with a 4.12 ERA, giving up nine earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. Dempster, from British Columbia, is 6-0 against Canadian teams in his 16-season career, including 5-0 against the Expos. He faced the Blue Jays once this season, on May 2 at Rogers Centre, earning the win while posting a quality start, going six innings, giving up one run, on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.