Boston tries to win two of three from the host Kansas City Royals on Sunday when Buchholz makes his season debut.
With manager Terry Francona using a different lineup for the first time this season, Boston matched a season high with 12 hits and had a season-best five home runs in Saturday’s 8-3 win. It was the Red Sox’ first win since a 9-7 season-opening victory over the Yankees.
Making his first start this season Saturday, Jeremy Hermida(notes) had his first home run with his new team in the fifth inning and Red Sox captain Jason Varitek(notes) hit the next pitch out of the park. Varitek added a solo shot in the ninth for his 10th career multihomer game.
“It’s nice to contribute, absolutely,” he said.
Buchholz takes the ball nine days after his final spring training outing, but he has no problem with waiting for his first start. He didn’t get called up from Triple-A Pawtucket last season until mid-July.
“They told me with a week to go in spring training, what I was doing and I didn’t care about the wait in between,” Buchholz told the Red Sox’ official Web site. “I get a start in the five-day rotation. I was happy that they were giving me the ball.”
Buchholz is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two career starts versus Kansas City.
The Royals (2-3) will likely counter with veteran right-hander Gil Meche(notes). Placed on the disabled list earlier this month with shoulder bursitis, Meche had an 81-pitch outing Tuesday in Surprise, Ariz., against Royals minor leaguers.
“He’s built up over 80 (pitches), so we’ll keep him under a 100 probably,” manager Trey Hillman said Saturday.
Meche went 6-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 23 starts last season, but back and shoulder injuries limited him to four appearances after the All-Star break.
In his final start before last season’s midsummer classic, Meche was tagged for eight runs and six hits over 3 2/3 innings in a 15-9 loss in Boston on July 11.
With Meche on a pitch count, the Royals’ bullpen will likely have to improve. After Kansas City relievers went three scoreless innings in Friday’s 4-3 series-opening win, they yielded four runs in 2 1/3 innings Saturday after ace Zack Greinke(notes) was pulled. The Royals’ bullpen has blown three saves and an 11.05 ERA.
First-year Royal Rick Ankiel(notes) looks to continue his hot start at the plate after getting two hits Saturday and raising his batting average to .400. He is 6 for 8 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs in the series.