By Art Martone
BOSTON -- On Thursday, when the Red Sox needed quantity (and hoped for quality) out of John Lackey in the wake of their bullpen-busting game on Wednesday night, he failed them miserably.
On Saturday, Clay Buchholz was the Bizarro Lackey.
The Sox again needed at least quantity from their starter, in this case Buchholz, because their two long men (Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves) were unavailable after both had pitched on Friday. But when Saturday's game was delayed by rain in the top of the third inning -- a delay that wound up lasting two hours and seven minutes -- it appeared Buchholz' day was finished and Terry Francona was somehow going to have cobble together a seven-inning effort out of his depleted relief corps.
But Buchholz saved the Sox much as Lackey had sunk them on Thursday. He came back out after the rain delay with a 1-0 lead and pitched three more scoreless innings. Rich Hill, Matt Albers, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon took it from there, each working a scoreless inning as the Sox broke their three-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Twins.
Buchholz was magnificent through the first four, allowing only a first-inning infield single to Justin Morneau. He faltered a bit in the fifth, but was saved by a line-drive-to-third-turned-double-play that ended the inning.
He'd been staked to a 2-0 lead by that point, thanks to a Jed Lowrie RBI single in the first and a Kevin Youkilis RBI single in the third. The Sox finally salted it away with a two-out, two-run rally in the eighth, with Jacoby Ellsbury (2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 16) singling home the game's final two runs.
Art Martone can be reached at email@example.com.