Rapid reaction: Orioles 4, Red Sox 1

April, 26, 2011

BALTIMORE -- Are you starting to think that maybe Theo Epstein should have consulted Clay Buchholz before allowing Victor Martinez to leave?

Who knew that when Martinez left town, so would the pitcher who burst into prominence last season and was rewarded with a four-year, $30 million contract earlier this month.

So far, Buchholz, the 2011 version, at times looks like the uncertain character who spent a chunk of the 2009 season trying to find himself in Pawtucket.

In Tuesday night's 4-1 loss at Oriole Park in Camden Yards, Buchholz gave up a dozen hits, the most allowed in his 67 career starts, and fell to 1-3. Red Sox manager Terry Francona thought that a second helping of Jason Varitek behind the plate might be just the thing for Buchholz, who was credited with his first win of the season with Varitek catching him last Wednesday in Oakland.

But that's not how it played out, as Buchholz did not have a clean inning among the seven he started. It could have been a lot worse -- the Orioles left 10 men on base -- but three sacrifice flies and a dribbler down the line by Matt Wieters generated enough runs to make a winner of Orioles lefty Zach Britton.

Britton is as good as advertised, with a 95 miles-per-hour fastball, diving sinker and good changeup. He held the Sox to five hits and a run in six innings, and Jim Johnson and Kevin Gregg held the Sox scoreless over the last three innings, allowing one hit while striking out five to nail down the win.

Last season, Martinez caught 27 of Buchholz's starts, and Buchholz put up a 2.13 ERA with the Venezuelan behind the plate. It's still early, but it looks like Buchholz may have to go into the shop for some repairs.

The Sox had won eight of their last nine before arriving here. The Orioles had lost 11 of their last 13.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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