Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, O's 0

June, 7, 2012
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox avoided a possible three-game sweep and beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-0 in the series finale Thursday night at Fenway Park.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz tossed a complete-game shutout and allowed only four hits to lead Boston to victory. He struck out six and walked only one. He also hit two batters. He threw a total of 124 pitches.

His previous complete-game shutout came June 4, 2010, at Baltimore when the Red Sox beat the Orioles 11-0. He allowed only five hits with one walk and two strikeouts in that game. In fact, he has three career nine-inning complete games, all against the Orioles, including his no-hitter on Sept. 1, 2007.

On Thursday, the Red Sox scored two runs in each of the first, second and third innings to give Buchholz a six-run cushion, and then the right-hander handled the rest.

It was his third consecutive solid start.

In his previous outing, he earned a win against the Toronto Blue Jays, working eight innings and allowing only two runs (both solo home runs) on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. On May 27, he had to settle for a no-decision after Boston closer Alfredo Aceves blew the save opportunity and the Sox lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Buchholz had allowed only two runs on eight hits that game and left with a 3-2 lead.

STREAK ENDS: Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks had his eight-game hitting streak snapped with a 0-for-3 night. He entered the game with a .414 average (12-for-29) during his streak. After he walked in the bottom of the first inning, he grounded out to second in the second inning, flied out to center in the fourth and grounded out to third in the seventh.

SPIN CLASS: Buchholz earned himself an error in the top of the fourth inning when he failed to successfully handle a feed from first baseman Kevin Youkilis at first base. Fortunately, the miscue did not hurt Buchholz, and he later made up for the error. With one runner on and no outs in the top of the fifth inning, the Orioles’ Wilson Betemit hit a chopper on the right side of the infield grass before the Sox turned a 3-6-1 double play. Buchholz made it to the bag for a nice stretch to complete the double play.

WEB GEM: The left-field corner at Fenway Park could act as a Bermuda Triangle when it comes to high fly balls down the line. When a ball is heading in that direction, the left fielder has to be aware of the Monster, the garage door and the wall along the left-field line. Boston’s Daniel Nava made a perfect defensive play with one out in the top of the fourth inning when the Orioles’ Matt Wieters hit a ball in that exact location. Nava, in an all-out sprint, made it to the corner and snared the ball for the second out of the inning.

UP NEXT: The interleague schedule resumes as the Red Sox host the Washington Nationals in a three-game set, beginning Friday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. The Sox send lefty Felix Doubront (6-2, 3.75 ERA) to the mound to face the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (6-1, 2.35).

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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