Sox shut out Rays in Buchholz's return, 2-0

Sox shut out Rays in Buchholz's return, 2-0
September 10, 2013, 10:30 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Price was great. But four Red Sox pitchers -- led by the returning Clay Buchholz -- were even better.
      
Buchholz, making his first major league start in more than three months, tossed five shutout innings before turning things over to the Red Sox bullpen, which combined with him on the team's eighth shutout of the season, 2-0 over the Tampa Bay Rays.
      
The win dropped the Red Sox' Magic Number to clinch the division title to 10 games with 16 games remaining.
      
Buchholz allowed three hits -- all singles, one of the infield variety -- and fanned six while walking one. His ERA managed to drop from 1.71 to 1.61, as he improved to 10-0.
      
Craig Breslow took over in the sixth with two shutout innings before Junichi Tazawa handled the first two outs of the eighth and Koji Uehara locked down the last out in the eighth and all three in the ninth for his 19th save. Uehara retired all four hitters he faced and has retired the last 31 hitters.
      
Price, who threw a career-high 127 pitches in eight inning, retired the first 12 Red Sox hitters in order before Mike Napoli opened the fifth with a booming double to center. A sharp single up the middle from Jonny Gomes scored Napoli with the game's first run, as Napoli took second on the throw to the plate.
      
A bunt moved Gomes to third before a sacrifice fly from Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered him.
      
The Sox had just one other hit after that - a leadoff single by Daniel Nava. Nava advanced to second and third on wild pitches by Price but was stranded there when he lefty fanned Stephen Drew with his final pitch of the night.

STAR OF THE GAME: Clay Buchholz
Buchholz made it look easy. Returning after being sidelined for three months, he picked right up where he left off in June and was masterful for five shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out six.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Saltalamacchia helped out Buchholz by throwing out two would-be base stealers. He also contributed at the plate, with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center, scoring Jonny Gomes from third with the game's second run.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Evan Longoria
The Rays' best hitter didn't help the cause much Tuesday night. He struck out in three of his four at-bats and didn't provide any support for his starter, David Price.

TURNING POINT: With the game still scoreless, Matt Joyce was on first base with one out in the fourth. Joyce broke for second in a steal attempt, but Buchholz fanned James Loney and Saltalamacchia threw out Joyce at second, completing a double play and ending the inning. The Rays wouldn't get another runner in scoring position until the eighth inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: Buchholz became the first Red Sox pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to begin the season 10-0.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "He looked great. It looked like he hadn't missed a day." -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia.