Boston Red Sox 2 (71-54)
Tampa Bay Rays 1 (52-72)
WP: Clay Buchholz (5-9, 5.18 ERA)
LP: Chris Archer (7-17, 4.11 ERA)
SV: Craig Kimbrel (23)
The Red Sox took game two of this four game set with their division rival Tampa Bay Rays. They continue to keep pace with the Toronto Blue Jays, who also won today. With the win, it currently puts them 7-2 on this road trip.
One of those losses came last Thursday as the Sox played a day game after a night game. The other loss came when Henry Owens was an emergency starter, in place of Eduardo Rodriguez. Other than that, the Sox have won every other game on this road trip.
The Real Clay Buchholz?
The main story here was Clay Buchholz. To the surprise of many, Buchholz was dominant, striking out nine batters over 6 ⅓ innings. Buchholz collected his fifth victory of the year in his third start since returning to the rotation. Buchholz gave up just one run on five hits.
The lone run came in the bottom of the fifth inning for the Rays. Corey Dickerson led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After striking out Logan Forsythe for the second out of the inning, Kevin Kiermaier hit a line drive double, knocking in Dickerson.
Buchholz did run into some trouble in the following inning, as he walked Brad Miller to start the inning. The threat was short lived as Buchholz was able to get Tim Beckham to ground out into a double play.
Buchholz is now 9-7 with a 2.58 ERA in his career against the Rays.
Buchholz has now put together two quality starts in a row. If he’s able to continue this stretch, this would be a huge boost for the Sox.
Solid Outing By The Bullpen
After Buchholz, John Farrell dipped into the Red Sox bullpen in the seventh inning. Robbie Ross Jr. was first, and he was able to get both men out to finish the seventh inning. Ross got Dickerson to strikeout and then got Bobby Wilson to ground out to Travis Shaw.
Brad Ziegler and Craig Kimbrel pitched the eighth and the ninth inning respectively. Both men threw shutout innings. Ziegler punched out one batter in the eighth and Kimbrel struck out two in the ninth.
Although the pitching was solid today, the Red Sox just couldn’t get much going against Chris Archer.
The Red Sox had phenomenal numbers against Archer heading into this matchup. Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Shaw all came into this game hitting over .300 against Archer in their career.
It was their young star, Andrew Benintendi, who really led the way for the Sox tonight. He went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Boston scored both of their runs in the third inning, an inning that Benintendi led off. He eventually scored the first run of the game when Ortiz smacked a single to right.
Betts followed up with a single of his own. Ortiz crossed the plate on a throwing error by the right fielder, Steven Souza Jr. Archer was able to get Ramirez to ground out to end the inning, but the damage was already done, as the Sox took a 2-1 lead.
Through five innings, Archer threw 109 pitches. After that, the Rays bullpen pitched four shutout innings. Although they did allow two walks, the Sox did not reach base via a hit in the last four innings.
With this loss, Archer has now lost all four contests against the Sox this year. Archer also leads all pitchers with 17 losses on the year.
Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.22 ERA) will be searching for his 18th win of the season as he takes on Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.66 ERA). If the Red Sox are able to finish the sweep, it will definitely give them a big boost as they head back home for a short six game homestand.