Sunday, April 27, 2014

North of the border, a roller coaster win for Red Sox

When Clay Buchholz gave up three runs in the bottom of the first inning yesterday at Rogers Centre, all I could think was, Here we go again.

But Buchholz got himself out of the inning - and through six more without giving up another run. It's a testament to Buchholz that he didn't melt down completely, even though it was clear early on that he didn't have his best stuff.

It certainly helped that Buchholz's teammates regained the lead for him in the top of the third, led by a grad slam by the often-frustrating A.J. Pierzynski, and a solo home run by prodigal son Will Middlebrooks.

Interestingly enough, it was only after Buchholz left the game that things got tense. The bullpen has so far been the most reliable part of the Red Sox season, but yesterday was an exception. Junichi Tazawa came in for the eighth inning, and promptly gave up a home run.

Traditionally, Tazawa has not pitched well at Rogers Centre (his ERA in Canada is 9.00 - the second worst of anywhere he's pitched after the 27.00 ERA he put up in the third of an inning he pitched at Dodger Stadium).

After Tazawa gave up his second run, John Farrell called out to the bullpen for Chris Capuano, who managed a strikeout and a walk before being replaced by Koji Uehara. The ever-reliable Uehara got the final out in the eighth, and then closed out the ninth - albeit with the slight hiccup of giving a home run to Jose Bautista.

It was a wild ride from start to finish - but even the ugly wins count. Jon Lester takes the mound tonight against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, giving the Red Sox a chance to sweep the series and get back to .500 on the season.

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