Nothing has come easy to this 2014 Boston Red Sox squad, but a win is a win and tonight was a win.
Clay Buchholz was absolutely dealing for 8.1 innings, before giving up back-to-back well placed singles and a walk in the ninth inning before Koji Uehara let in the three runs to momentarily continue the dreaded eight-game losing streak the Sox were mired in.
Koji gave up an RBI groundout to Adam Lind and a 2-RBI blasted double to left from Edwin Encarnacion that was just out of the reach of Yoenis Cespedes. Boston is lucky that it was not a walkoff three-run homer.
Cespedes didn't let the bad feelings linger for long as Brock Holt singled with one out in the 10th and prompty stole second and third base before Cespedes waited on a slow curveball that he looped to center field for the go-ahead RBI single that turned out to be the streak breaker.
This is the Red Sox's first victory since Saturday, August 16th when they beat Houston 10-7 behind a big night by David Ortiz. Ortiz did not play Monday due to a sore right foot.
Let's break down the ballgame:
Clay Buchholz Was On His Game
Buchholz showed signs of old Clay in this game. When he is on his game, there are few pitchers who look better.
He retired the first seven batters of the game before Danny Valencia picked up the first hit for Toronto.
Through four innings, Buchholz still had only given up the one hit and had nine groundouts through the first 12 hitters. He was getting his ball down and inducing many groundouts, which is a sign of great command.
In the bottom of the fifth, he looked to lose his command ever so briefly. He walked Encarnacion and then went 2-0 on Navarro before getting him to fly out. After the walk, he retired the next seven straight before a single by Lind broke up the string.
Buchholz would roll through into the ninth only giving up two hits and one walk, while striking out four.
Still under 100 pitches, Farrell sent him back to the mound looking for his second complete game shutout this season.
He got the first out, a Munenori Kawasaki groundout to third on a very nice diving stop from Will Middlebrooks.
Jose Reyes bounced a ball up the middle that Holt and Dustin Pedroia collided on (Holt getting a forearm to the ear) and Reyes reached. Melky Cabrera followed with a seeing eye single between third and short. Buchholz walked Jose Bautista on four pitches to load the bases with one out, up 3-0.
Koji Uehara, who had given up 7 earned runs in his last 3 outings entered the game and got Lind to groundout on the first pitch, driving in a run before Encarnacion tied the game.
Tough game for Clay not to win, but he pitched a brilliant game.
Buchholz's Line: 8.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 103 pitches
Big Fifth Inning For Boston- Two Dingers
With the game scoreless going into the fifth, the Red Sox put an end to that when Mookie Betts stepped to the plate.
With one out, Betts cranked a ball well into the crowd in left for his 2nd career homer and a 1-0 lead.
After a Christian Vazquez base on balls and a Holt strikeout, Pedroia came to the plate and extended the small lead.
After nearly hitting a three-run homer in the third, Pedroia did put this one over the wall in left to give Boston a 3-0 lead.
These would be the only runs the Sox would get in the first nine innings, seemingly enough before the collapse. Boston scattered four hits in the other eight innings besides the fifth.
The 5th was Boston's 1st multi-HR inning since 7/21 in TOR. Red Sox have 12 HR at Rogers Centre in 2014, their most at a visiting park.— Jon Shestakofsky (@Shesta_Sox) August 26, 2014
Solid Defense From Both Sides In This One
There were multiple nice plays in this game with the first coming in the second inning from Brock Holt.
Second Inning: Holt made a nice diving stop on an Encarnacion grounder to save a base hit.
Top Third Inning: Cabrera ran down Pedroia's near homer and threw Vazquez out at third.
Bottom Third Inning: Pedroia robbed Reyes of an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning.
Top Ninth Inning: Cabrera was at it again in the ninth with a running catch back near the wall.
Bottom Ninth Inning: Middlebrooks made a great diving stab at Kawasaki's grounder, the play was challenged and upheld as out.
Craig Breslow With His First Save Since 2010
Breslow pitched the bottom of the tenth inning with Uehara already used to try to get the save.
He got Colby Rasmus to hit a chopper that he fielded and fired a bullet to first for the out.
After he walked Valencia, Kawasaki grounded into a fielders choice and Reyes popped out to end the game.
In something that would only happen in baseball, Uehara picked up his 6th victory of the season after blowing the save one inning earlier. Isn't baseball cruel, Clay Buchholz?
NotesComing into the game, Buchholz was 8-3 with 2.04 ERA in his career at the Rogers Centre. With the no decision, Buchholz has not won in his last 7 starts, since July 18. Uehara has given up 10 hits, 7 earned runs, and has allowed 3 inherited runners to score in his last four games. Cespedes has 19 RBI since joining Boston, 7 of those are go-ahead runs. He now has 86 for the season between Boston and Oakland. Pedroia's homer was his 6th of the season, less than any he has had in a full season in the majors. Toronto starter J.A. Happ gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, picking up 8 strikeouts tonight. Rubby De La Rosa (4-5) will face off against R.A. Dickey (10-12) in game two of the series Tuesday night at 7:07 pm.