McAdam: Sox win with pitching -- imagine that!

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McAdam: Sox win with pitching -- imagine that!

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
For much of the season, the Red Sox have been so busy beating other teams into submission that the notion of winning game with their pitching seemed almost quaint.

This, despite having a rotation full of high-profile -- to say nothing of high-salaried -- starters. Often in the first three months, the starters were the recipients of such powerful offensive backing that they became almost afterthoughts. It may be too strong to suggest that the Sox were winning in spite of their pitching, but surely they often won independent of their pitching.

Of late, however, the offense has sputtered thanks to a cocktail of injuries (Carl Crawford, Jed Lowrie); interleague play and the absence of the DH; and plain old law of averages.

It didn't help that the Sox began treating the notion of putting Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield (to accommodate David Ortiz) as an exercise as fraught with as much danger as navigating a tightrope over shark-infested waters.

Suddenly the same team that had amassed double figures in runs six times in the spam of a dozen games as recently as mid-June was now desperate for a run, any runs.

Entering Thursday, Red Sox position players had not driven in a single run in the previous 20 innings.

What to do, what to do?

Enter Lester, who had the crazy notion of beating the Phils at their own game. Before Thursday, exactly one-third of Philadelphia's victories had come in games in which they scored three runs or fewer.

And beyond the desire to snap a two-game losing streak and avoid being swept, Thursday seemed as good a time as any to lean on the rotation since the lineup was missing both Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis and feature Darnell McDonald hitting second and Jason Varitek hitting fifth.

Leater was brilliant on the early going. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth and by the end of the sixth had permitted just two baserunners.

(It should be duly notes that the Sox were aided by Gonzalez's smoking liner back to the mound with one out in the fourth which struck Cole Hamels on the right hand and forced him from the game the following inning).

Lester insisted that he didn't approach the start with the idea of singlehandedly beating the Phils.

"Obviously you want to have a quality start," said Lester, "and go out there and battle and not give up a lot of runs. But you can't worry about losing streaks or anything like that. You just have to go out and execute pitches."

Which he did, again and again.

"Jonny held on and kept us in the game long enough," said Jason Varitek. "Jonny was the story."

Eventually, the offense provided enough, albeit from some unlikely sources. Varitek slammed two solo homers and Drew Sutton and Marco Scutaro contributed four hits between them.

Still, for a change, this one was all about the starter.

Winning with pitching -- what a concept.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"Yeah. Dave (Dombrowski), and I and Carl (Willis), we always have conversations about every guy, so this will be no different. We know that Eddie (Rodriguez) is ready to come back to us, but there's been no decision made as of right now.'' - John Farrell, asked whether the team intends to assess Clay Buchholz's spot in the starting rotation.

"(I'm) not demoralized. The team's still winning. I'm basically the only one that's struggling. . . The other guys are doing a really good job of picking up the slack that I'm leaving behind.'' - Buchholz.

"That's out of my pay grade; I can't worry about that. I'm here to pitch. If I don't have a spot, that's part of it. As they say, if you don't like it, pitch better. That's what it comes down to.'' - Buchholz.

"It was a fun ride. I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Most of all, the team played really well during it. I was blessed to be in this situation.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on the end of his 29-game winning streak.

"I'm very proud of myself. To be able to get the opportunity to go this far, it's a blessing. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed. Obviously, you want to get a hit, but it's tough getting a hit day-in, day-out. It was a pretty special run for me.'' - Bradley.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr's 29-game hitting streak came to an end. It's tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 19 games, now the longest such streak in the big leagues.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base via a walk or a hit in each of his last 15 starts.

* In David Ortiz's last 15 games, he has 16 extra-base hits and 20 RBI.

* The Red Sox have scored 51 runs in the first inning over 47 games, an average of 1.09 per first inning.

* Ortiz (double, homer) passed Ty Cobb to move into 13th place on the all-time extra-base hit list.

* Ortiz set a personal record by knocking in multiple runs for the fourth straight game.

* The three homers allowed by Clay Buchholz were a season-high.

 

STARS

1) Jon Gray

Gray earned the first road win of his career by going 7 1/3 innings and blanking the Red Sox after the first inning.

2) Dustin Garneau

The Colorado catcher set a career best with six total bases, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth and a double in the ninth.

3) David Ortiz

Ortiz homered in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead four batters into the game, then chipped in with a leadoff double in the fourth.