It's a strange day indeed when a 5-0 win is somewhat of a letdown, but here we are. Clay Buchholz held the Rays hitless through seven full innings this afternoon at Fenway Park before surrendering a broken-bat single to Rays' left fielder Kelly Johnson to lead off the eighth.
Buchholz was sharp, though not perfect, as he finished his outing with eight innings pitched, two hits, four walks, and a creer-high eleven strikeouts in 106 pitches. The pitch count had John Farrell somewhat concerned, as Buchholz's walk and strikeout totals caused the total pitches to climb.
Farrell admitted in the post game press conference that he was somewhat relieved when Johnson finally earned a hit in the eighth - it's early in the season, and no one wants to have to decide between yanking a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter and leaving him in too long and possibly damaging his arm for the rest of the season. Luckily Farrell didn't have to, and Andrew Miller came in with a scoreless ninth inning to finish things off.
It was truly a team effort, as the offense scored five times to give Buchholz a comfortable lead (though they waited until the third inning), and there was some fine work on the defensive side of things as well. Today's win guarantees a series win for the Sox, and since tomorrow's Patriot's Day morning contest is the third straight day game, it's nice to go into it with confidence.