The above picture of Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia tells you most of the story from last night. It was a miserable, dreary evening that could have resembled one in England, Scotland or Ireland. But a short time later after the picture was snapped, I'm sure you could find Pedroia smiling in the Red Sox clubhouse.
For the better part of the game, the Red Sox offense was stymied by Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Phil Coke who allowed just three hits, all singles, over the course of the first seven innings. Ryan Perry came in the 8th and got the first two batters he faced before Daniel Schlerleth came in and walked Carl Crawford.
Enter the light-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I should say he has been stroking the ball a little better as of late and like he did the other night in New York, Salty came through in the clutch, hitting a double to bring in Crawford all the way from first in what turned out to be the only run of the night for either team.
The Red Sox stayed in the game because of another fine start from Clay Buchholz. He didn't get the win, that went to Daniel Bard, but he definitely deserved it. He had been looking for his fourth straight win in as many chances but instead he'll have to settle for another quality start.
When Buchholz did get in trouble, he was able to get around it. His fastball had good life and he commanded all of his pitches well. But the 7th inning was key to his success last night.
He entered the 7th having thrown 100 pitches. By the time all was said and done, Buchholz had thrown a career-high 127 pitches.
He got his former batterymate Victor Martinez to ground out. He followed that up by plunking Jhonny Peralta before allowing a single to Alex Avila. He struck out Ryan Raburn for the second out and had Brandon Inge in a hole before he hit him as well. But Buchholz recovered and the 127th pitch of the night he threw was a swinging strike to Austin Jackson to end the threat.
Jonathan Papelbon worked around a leadoff double by VMart in the 9th to pick up the save for Bard and Buchholz.
Everyone expects tonight's game between Justin Verlander and Josh Beckett to be a pitcher's duel. No one expected that when they walked into Fenway Park last night. Coke hadn't been exactly lights out this year. But what you saw was two pitchers who both had excellent stuff and kept the hitters at bay.
The Red Sox will look to keep the momentum going tonight in the finale before the Chicago Cubs come rolling into the Fens for the first time since the 1918 World Series.
We'll be back later with tonight's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. But for now, enjoy the overnight links by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click
Buchholz, Saltalamacchia clear the way for a win [Boston Globe]
For now, idea is to hang on with two hands [Boston Globe]
Matsuzaka may miss a month [Boston Globe]
Cubs almost twins [Boston Globe]
Red Sox soak up win on a rainy night at Fenway [Boston Herald]
Red Sox made right call in letting Victor Martinez go [Boston Herald]
No surgery for Daisuke Matsuzaka [Boston Herald]
Jarrod Saltalamacchia's coming around [Boston Herald]
Red Sox shut out Tigers, 1-0 [CSNNE.com]
Depleted Sox show interest in Kevin Millwood [CSNNE.com]
Saltalamacchia breaks through in the clutch [CSNNE.com]
V-Mart gets warm welcome from ex-mates [ESPN Boston]
Rapid reaction: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0 [ESPN Boston]
Tito stops counting for Buchholz [ESPN Boston]
Efforts clouded by tough conditions [ESPN Boston]
Salty spices up Sox win [Extra Bases]
Red Sox exploring rotation depth alternatives [Full Count]
Who Has Been the Red Sox' MVP So Far? [NESN.com]
Saltalamacchia's RBI double is deciding factor [Providence Journal]
Sox were in catch-22 with Martinez [Providence Journal]
Red Sox Journal: Matsuzaka will be out indefinitely [Providence Journal]
V-Mart misses Boston, happy to be with Tigers [RedSox.com]
Cubs' return kicks off Interleague Play [RedSox.com]
'Softened' changeup Beckett's biggest weapon [RedSox.com]
Scutaro feeling better, but still has oblique pain [RedSox.com]
Photo credit: AP Photo