The Boston Red Sox have been at .500 once this season and that came on April 30th when they beat the Oakland A's to even up their record at 11-11. And after their offense and bullpen bailed out Clay Buchholz on Monday night in an 8-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles, they are now at .500 for the second time this season at 21-21.
Since Josh Beckett's meltdown three starts ago which prompted a team-meeting the Red Sox are 9-2. The main reason for the run is that all three facets of the game have been clicking. Part of that equation was Buchholz who looked as though he had put his bad starts from early in the season in the past.
It looked as though Buchholz would have a good game based on his first two innings. But after his team had given him a 2-0 lead in the 3rd, he promptly gave it back in the bottom half as he lost the command of his fastball.
He allowed a leadoff single to Wilson Betemit then walked Nick Johnson. Red Sox killer Robert Andino then reached on a bunt single that was supposed to be a sacrifice. Instead it loaded up the bases for Xavier Henry who worked a walk to force in a run. J.J. Hardy followed with an infield single to score another. Buchholz then issued his second bases loaded walk of the inning to Nick Markakis to force in another run. He finally recorded two outs when Adam Jones grounded into a double play.
Buchholz would give up another run in the 4th when Chris Davis led off with a home run to push the O's lead to 5-2.
But the offense of the Red Sox didn't sit back. Instead they continued to work and get some runs.
David Ortiz got things started in the 6th when he led off with a 442 foot home run to right field. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a double and Will Middlebrooks reached on an infield single. Jarrod Saltalamacchia moved the runners up a base with a ground out. Daniel Nava's sac fly brought the Red Sox to within a run.
With Marlon Byrd at the plate, Middlebrooks scored the tying run after Orioles starter Tommy Hunter was called for a balk when Middlebrooks faked like he was stealing home and Hunter tired to do a quick pitch that ended up being called a balk.
With the bases loaded in the 7th, Gonzalez drove in a run with a sac fly and Middlebrooks picked up his third hit of the night with an RBI single. The Red Sox added an insurance run in the 8th on a Dustin Pedroia single that scored Che-Hsuan Lin who had reached earlier in the inning on his first career MLB hit.
As much as the offense was the story, it was also the bullpen.
The birthday boy Andrew Miller took over for Buchholz in the 6th with runners on first and second and got both of the batters he faced in the inning. He then struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 7th.
Rich Hill had a rare off night on the mound allowing a run after three consecutive hits. But Vicente Padilla, pitching for the third straight game, bailed him out by getting the final two batters he faced. With stranding two runners on base, Padilla has now not allowed 15 inherited runners to score. Alfredo Aceves finished it off with a perfect 9th inning.
Hopefully this was just an off night for Buchholz and it was something mechanical that can be corrected before his next outing. He had come so far after his bad start only to regress last night.
The Red Sox also got some bad news before the game as it was learned that Cody Ross has a broken foot that he suffered on Friday night. He'll be placed on the DL before tonight's game with Kevin Youkilis coming off the DL. The Red Sox could also lose Ryan Sweeney to the 7-day DL after it was learned that he didn't pass his concussion test.
And considering all of these injuries, things could be a lot worse for the Red Sox. Instead they are playing some inspired baseball.
Let's hope that continues tonight in the Charm City.
We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Win in Baltimore helps Sox even the score [Boston Globe]
Ground to cover in outfield [Boston Globe]
Broken foot shelves Ross [Boston Globe]
Ailing Sox stage rally to beat Orioles [Boston Herald]
Broken foot for Sox' Cody Ross [Boston Herald]
David Ortiz leads by example [Boston Herald]
Injuries open third door [Boston Herald]
Sox bullpen holds off O's, win 8-6 [CSN New England]
Despite injuries, Red Sox offense keeps chugging [CSN New England]
Sweeney could hit seven-day DL after failing concussion test [CSN New England]
Bullpen cleans up Buchholz's mess in win [CSN New England]
Matsuzaka back on DL with strained right trapezius muscle [CSN New England]
Despite injuries, Sox don't come up short [ESPN Boston]
Bogaerts making the adjustment at Salem [Projo Sox Blog]
Dice-K gets shot in trapezius muscle [RedSox.com]
Cook's knee still healing, skips rehab start [RedSox.com]
Middlebrooks may stay when Youk returns [RedSox.com]
Red Sox honor wounded soldiers [RedSox.com]
Sweeney takes concussion tests; DL possible [RedSox.com]
Padilla continues to be key cog in bullpen [RedSox.com]
A Will and a way: Middlebrooks makes statement that he belongs [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]
photo credit: AP Photo