BOSTON It was getting to be nail-biting time, with shades of the Red Sox last home game beginning to creep in. A sizable lead late in the game with the opposing team chipping away.
The Red Sox held on, though, for the 11-6 win, getting their record back to .500, at 11-11. Clay Buchholz earned the win, improving his record to 3-1 and slightly lowering his ERA from 8.87 to 8.69.
If there was any cause for concern, though, perhaps it was the need to use five relievers to cover the final 2 13 innings after Buchholzs departure. Facing the team with the worst offense in the American League, the good news is the Sox bullpen did not allow a run.
Junichi Tazawa relieved Buchholz. He faced three batters, but couldnt record an out, giving up a hit to Yoenis Cespedes and hitting Seth Smith (who struck out in his four other plate appearances), loading the bases when Anthony Recker reached on Nick Puntos error.
With the bases loaded, Tazawa was replaced by Vicente Padilla, who pitched one-third of an inning, striking out Daric Barton, looking at a 93-mph fastball to end the seventh.
Scott Atchison started the eighth. He faced four batters, recording one out, giving up two hits and a walk with a strikeout. He was replaced by Franklin Morales, who faced one batter, getting Josh Reddick to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Although it was not a save situation, Alfredo Aceves entered for the ninth. He struck out Cespedes and Smith before giving up a double off the wall in left-center to Recker before getting Barton to pop out to Punto, giving the Sox the win.
Since the bullpen imploded in the Sox last home game -- turning an eight-run lead into a 15-9 loss to the Yankees, when six relievers combined to allow 14 runs in three innings the bullpen has showed remarkable improvement. In the eight games since, it has posted an ERA of 0.94, allowing just two earned runs in 19 13 innings.
Manager Bobby Valentine was not concerned about the pens usage in this game, with a day off coming up and moderate use over the last few games.
Alfredo likes to work and a good day to get him some regular work, Valentine said. Regular works good for him. We have an off-day Thursday. If this was in the middle of a real long stretch, it probably was not a good thing. But, its not the worst thing in the world, thats for sure.
Still, sure outs from the pen are not the worst thing in the world, either.