Valentine: Buchholz was 'very much improved'

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Valentine: Buchholz was 'very much improved'

MINNEAPOLIS -- It wasn't artistic by any stretch and it won't wow anyone taking a look at the pitching line.
But Clay Buchholz got his second win of the season Wednesday night and said he felt the start represented a step forward for him.
Buchholz pitched 5 13 inning and allowed 10 hits and three walks while being charged for five runs in the Sox' 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins.
"I felt like I threw some good pitches,'' said Buchholz. "I executed pitches better today than I have all season. Going into the sixth inning, I can deal with (giving up just one). We came out on top, but from an individual standpoint, I've got to do better.''
Things unraveled in a hurry for Buchholz in the sixth after he struck out Sean Burroughs to lead off the inning.
Two singles, a double by Denard Span and a walk to Jamey Carroll saw the Twins pull to within four runs as the Boston bullpen was asked to bail out Buchholz.
Buchholz liked the improvement he showed keeping the ball down in the strike zone, which has been a failure of his in the first three starts. He also used his changeup more effectively than he had prior to Wednesday night.
"It's a pitch that I've been able to go to at will (in past seasons),'' said Buchholz of the change. "Today was a step forward for that. I felt really good in the delivery with the changeup.''
Bobby Valentine said Buchholz was "very much improved. He scattered singles around the ballpark and kept the ball down much better. He just ran out of gas (in the sixth).''
Still, there's plenty of room for additional improvement.
Buchholz still sports an 8.87 ERA after four outings and has allowed at least five earned runs or more in each of those outings.
What's more, he's allowing far too many baserunners. On Wednesday, he allowed 13 hitters to reach over 5 13 innings and had just one 1-2-3 inning.
"It's been like that all year,'' lamented Buchholz. "I've had two clean innings all season. It's a struggle when you're out there throwing pitches and guys are putting them in play. It's the way it goes. It can't stay like that all year.
"I've got to be positive about it and take the good things out of it.''
Starting with the victory.
"We'll take that Clay Buchholz and take our chances with that,'' concluded Valentine.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?