BOSTON - Clay Buchholz didn't want to talk about the offense. And who could blame him?
"I'm done talking about the offense,'' said Buchholz, who got no run support and found himself on the wrong end of a 4-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox. "It's not like they're out there not trying. It's just not working out right now.''
That might be the understatement of the season. The Red Sox managed just two hits all night against White Sox starter Scott Carroll, who entered the game with an ERA of 5.05, but looked literally unhittable at times.
Carroll gave up just one hit over his 6 2/3 innings, retiring 20-of-23 Red Sox hitters he faced. Over the course of the night, the Sox got just three balls out of the infield beyond their two singles.
It marked the ninth time this season that the Sox have been shutout and fourth time at home, surpassing the number of times they were blanked for all of last year at Fenway.
"I walk in every night thinking we're going to put up (some offense) where we're going to be in the ballgame,'' said John Farrell. "That wasn't the case tonight. We didn't produce offensively. We came off the last two days where I thought we put up some of our better offensive efforts, with the same lineup, same group of guys who are here.
The Sox could get nothing going. They didn't have a single inning where they had more than one baserunner and 18 of the 27 outs recorded came via groundouts.
"I think there's a shared frustration,'' said Farrell. "We all wear it. We win together and lose together. I can tell you this: we didn't give at-bats away tonight. You watch the effort in the batter's box -- guys are putting together whatever at-bats they can on a given night. But (Carroll) he threw a lot of strikes, kept the ball down in the zone and stayed out of the middle of the plate.''
Meanwhile, Buchholz had no margin of error but made two -- allowing a solo homer to Adam Dunn in the second and a three-run shot to Dayan Viciedo in the fourth.
"That's the best I've felt this season, probably,'' said Buchholz, 3-5. "If you're not looking at the line or the winning or losing pitcher, that's the best I've felt, the most crisp curveball. The changeup finally came in the last three innings I was out there. That's as close as to last year as I've felt.''
Farrell was equally upbeat about Buchholz's showing.
"With the exception of a three-hitter span, I thought Clay had powerful stuff for the full seven innings of work,'' said Farrell. "He maintained his velocity. I thought he had definition to the four different pitches that he throws, but he got two quick outs (in the fourth) and then a double, walk and three-run homer...on a night when we don't produce offensively. That was the difference in this one.''
Buchholz got stronger as the game went on. He retired the final 10 hitters he faced, six of them by strikeout.
"I think he's doing a much better job repeating his delivery post-DL stint,'' said Farrell. "I think he was attacking and being more aggressive (after the three-run fourth). I think he was pitching a little fine at times and the pitch count ran up there. But he came back and attacked the strike zone more effectively.''
Not, ultimately, that it did him any good.