It doesn’t matter who we play. A win like the one we pulled off last night will always be a thrill. We made it happen for ourselves.
Buchholz, yet again, was absolutely stellar. He found himself involved in a pitcher’s duel but was exceedingly up to the challenge. He allowed only two runs. The first one scored in the first and was the only one of the two that was earned. After two quick outs, Buchholz issued a walk and gave up a double followed by an RBI single; the inning ended with a throw home. Another walk and single in the second put two runners on base, but he pitched around it. He pitched around a walk in the third and went one-two-three in the fourth. The unearned run scored in the fifth. Buchholz gave up a single to start it off, and the runner then stole second base. Ciriaco made a fielding error which allowed another runner to reach, and a sac bunt put both runners in scoring position. An intentional walk then loaded the bases. A sac fly brought in the second run, and a throwing error by Ellsbury caused one of the runners to advance to third, but fortunately Buchholz induced a groundout to end the threat. And he went one-two-three in the sixth and pitched around a walk in the seventh.
All told, he gave up just those two runs, one earned, on four hits, only one of which was an extra-base hit. He also walked five, tying a season high, and struck out five. He threw 111 pitches, sixty-seven of which were strikes. And obviously he lasted seven innings. So his control could have been better; he’s lucky to have limited the damage to only two runs. But that’s because he limited solid contact. So all in all it was, of course, a fantastic start.
When he left the game, it was tied at two. We went down in order in the first, and Ross hit the fourth pitch of the second inning out of the park in left center field to tie the game at one. The count was 2-1, and the pitch was an eighty-eight mile-per-hour two-seam fastball. That pitch was a big mistake, and Ross capitalized on it. We went down in order in the third again, and we tied the game at two in the fourth; with two out, Ross walked and scored on a single by Salty. We went down in order in the fifth and sixth; Loney led off the seventh with a single, but it didn’t materialize into anything.
The eighth inning seemed very auspicious. Ciriaco and Ellsbury worked back-to-back walks, and both moved to scoring position on a sac bunt by Nava. Then Pedroia walked to load the bases. As I’ve said, obviously in that situation you hope for a grand slam or an extra-base hit or even a single, something that will score multiple runs. But if we couldn’t have those things, it would have been nice to score the run via the base on balls, just to have had walks all around. Unfortunately the inning ended without a run scoring any way at all. That was rough. That would have been the perfect opportunity to score the winning run. After having blown that opportunity, it just seemed like it would be really tough for us to get another one going. Meanwhile, Breslow went one-two three in the bottom of the eighth.
Salty led off the ninth with a double and moved to third two at-bats later on a sac fly. This was it. If we were going to score, it would have to have been then or never the way the game was going. He fou
So we chose to score then. More specifically, Ciriaco chose to bring home the winning run then. He doubled, and it was a short trot home for Salty. Ellsbury then walked, but Nava struck out to end the inning.
And it turned out that Bailey didn’t need any insurance. He pitched around a single and picked up the save. The final score was 3-2, and Breslow was the winning pitcher. So, at the end of the day, it was rough not to have scored with the bases loaded, especially when that entire scenario was achieved simply by allowing opposing pitchers to make mistakes. They handed us that situation and we failed to take advantage of it. So the least we could have done was to have manufactured our own opportunity to win. The best part, of course, is that we actually did.