BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Clay Buchholz picked up his second win of the season onMonday night at Fenway Park, and he did so while handing the opposing starter Los Angeles Jered Weaver his first loss of the season.
Weaver entered Mondays game with a 6-0 record and an ERA of0.99, but with a little help from his offense and his defense, Buchholzoutlasted Weaver and helped Boston to a 9-5 win.
As the guy going up against Weaver you got to keep theirguys off balance and try to keep them off base, said Buchholz. They made someearly contact, had some runners in scoring position situations, and all I cando is try to limit the damage as best as I could. I got a couple of balls thatwere hit at guys and got out of the inning.
But yeah, Weaver, thats what he does, he goes out thereand wins. Hes obviously a strikeout guy and theres not a whole lot of stuffgoing on, on the base paths with him on the mound. It was a definitely a goodstep for this team.
Buchholz pitched 6 23 innings while allowing two runs oneight hits and two walks, while striking out two.
Everything was good tonight, said Buchholz. Obviously youcan go back and say I didnt throw this pitch. You can have that regardless ofwhat kind of outing you have. But slowly but surely, Im sometimes trying too hard to do things. Tonight I feltlike I let the grip and trusted the stuff and let everything work itself out,and not try to press too much.
Francona came out to get Lester with two outs in the top ofthe seventh inning, a runner at third, and the Red Sox trying to hold onto a3-2 lead. Daniel Bard came in and got them out of that inning with the lead.
I thought he used his fastball really aggressively, said manager Terry Francona. He had the two walks in the one inning. Otherthan that, he didnt. He got us to a point in the game where we could go toBard. That was big.
Obviously, hes still finding his rhythm, said Varitek. Istill think his best days are in front of him. But it was a good job tonight,minimizing damage.
Jacoby Ellsbury extended his season-high hit streak to 11games on Monday night, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, and twostolen bases.
But the center fielder left Mondays game after the seventhinning with a left knee contusion, when his leg collided with Angels catcherJeff Mathis in the seventh inning. Ellsbury came home on Gonzalezbases-clearing double, but as he crossed the plate, his left leg got caught upwith Mathis foot.
Francona said that Ellsbury was a little sore after thegame, and will wait until Tuesday afternoon to make a decision on his statusfor Tuesday nights game.
Hes real stable and everything, said Francona. He justgot kind of a bruise on the inside of his knee.
With a bruise like that, well see how he wakes up.
The Red Sox saw an offensive surge in the bottom of theseventh, thanks to the timely hitting of Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis andDavid Ortiz.
With bases loaded and one out in the inning, and the Red Soxholding onto a 3-2 lead, Gonzalez ripped a ball off the monster in deepleft-center, just to the left of the yellow home-run line on the center fieldwall.
Three runs scored on the double, giving Boston a 6-2 lead.
Youkilis followed that up with an RBI double of his own,ripping a liner off the top of the monster in left, and scoring Gonzalez for a7-2 lead.
Then, Ortiz made it 9-2 with his third home run of theseason, into the monster seats.
It keeps the line moving, said Francona after the win.Spread the game out, have a nice big inning. Yeah, that was good. And itsprobably no coincidence that the balls that were hit hard, were to left-centerand up the middle.
Theres nights when you need your big guys to hit somethree-run homers, or hit a ball off the wall.
Theres also nights where you need your defense to step upand make game-changing plays, not just with the gloves, but with their arms.
Gonzalez can be applauded for that on Monday night, as hisgutsy throw to third on a grounder to first in a non-force out situation, keptBoston in the lead.
Instead of stepping on first on a ball hit to him by AlbertoCallaspo, the Red Sox first baseman immediately threw to Youkilis at third,attempting to gun down Torii Hunter, who had previously doubled.
The throw was low, and Youkilis made a nice tag for the out.
Hes playing in, and hes one of the few first basemen thatwill do that, said Francona. A lot of guys can certainly catch it over there,like him, but he can catch it and throw it. And he threw it low, but Youkilismade a nice play. It could be a game-changer.
If theres ever a runner on second with two outs, you knowthe hitter is trying to hit a ground ball to the right side, said Gonzalez.And Ive always told the third baseman, and I probably did it five or sixtimes in San Diego, where I got the guy out there. So its one of those thingswhere I always tell him, just be aware, because if its hit hard right at me,Im going to you.
Josh Beckett threw a 25-pitch side session on Mondayafternoon, and Francona said afterwards that Beckett's been pushed back toWednesday only because the schedule allowed them to do so.
I just want to make sure that we monitor the workload, so he can go out, andbe Beckett, said Francona.
Weve leaned on him pretty hard, added the Red Sox manager. Again, theresno days off coming up. So when you have the ability to give a guy that extraday, I think sometimes youve got to take it. Because we wont be able to,going forward for a couple weeks.
Francona said that the rest of his rotation will be JonLester on Tuesday, Beckett on Wednesday, John Lackey on Thursday, and DaisukeMatsuzaka on Friday.
Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.