On paper, the pitching matchup between Justin Verlander and Clay Buchholz had low scoring affair written all over it and that's exactly what happened on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. Both pitchers were strong with the Boston Red Sox breaking through for three runs early on against Verlander.
From the fourth inning on, the Red Sox weren't able to do anything against the Detroit Tigers starter as he retired the last 13 batters he faced in the game. But fortunately for the Red Sox, Buchholz was dominating on the mound.
Buchholz had good command and life on his fastball as well as his secondary pitches. Before the top of the 9th, Buchholz had given up two hits while striking out five and walking three. He entered the 9th having thrown 98 pitches and looked to be well on his way to his second complete game of the season.
But a bad bounce in front of Jed Lowrie allowed the leadoff hitter Will Rhymes to reach first and a walk to Ryan Raburn ended his afternoon as he walked off to a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful. Some of whom who were waiting for the game to be over so they could meet their heroes at the Picnic in the Park after the game.
Jonathan Papelbon came in to face the top hitter in the American League in Miguel Cabrera and he promptly took the first pitch fastball from Paps and hit in to deep center for a 2-run double to cut the lead to 3-2. Papelbon rebounded to strikeout Brennan Boesch but the newest Tiger Jhonny Peralta took the first pitch he saw and singled to score the pinch runner Don Kelly to tie the game and give Papelbon his fifth blown save of 2010.
Papelbon did escape the inning by getting a double play ball but the damage was done. Buchholz wouldn't be getting his 12th win of the season.
As we've learned throughout the 2010 season, the Red Sox don't have the word quit in their vocabulary.
Lowrie worked his way on with an infield single and gave way to a pinch-runner in Darnell McDonald. Eric Patterson then worked a walk off of Brad Thomas. Tigers skipper Jim Leyland brought in Friday's winning pitcher Robbie Weinhardt to face Marco Scutaro who would be bunting.
Scutaro put down a nice bunt down the third base line and Weinhardt's throw to first got past Kelly allowing McDonald to score and set off another walk-off celebration for the Red Sox.
The blown save by Papelbon is concerning right now but fortunately for him the offense picked him up. It's a shame Buchholz wasn't able to get his 12th win because he certainly deserved it on Sunday.
But two walk-off wins in a row can do a lot for a team's confidence and the Red Sox clearly need that as we approach the last two months of the season.
We'll be back later with tonight's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups, any news and links from the day but for now enjoy the overnight links after the jump.