Buchholz dominant once again for Red Sox

The SportsXchange

Clay Buchholz is becoming the Red Sox's only sure thing.

Since the middle of May, Buchholz has been the Sox's best pitcher, to say nothing of one of the elite

starters in the American League. And over the past month, as Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have continued to

falter, Buchholz has been nearly unhittable.

It was more of the same Friday night. Seeking to snap a three-game skid, the Red Sox gave the ball to

Buchholz, and the rail-thin right-hander spun a 104-pitch, complete-game gem in a 3-2 victory over the

Cleveland Indians on a chilly, wet night at Progressive Field.

"That was just what the doctor ordered," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He was terrific."

Buchholz has been this good for five starts, during which he has allowed only five earned runs in 39

innings for a 1.15 ERA. This time, he allowed only two hits, both by Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and

retired the final 12 batters after Jason Donald reached on an error to open the seventh inning.

"That's probably as good as he's been all year," said Cody Ross, whose two-run homer in the sixth inning

broke a 1-1 tie and provided the winning margin. "He's really turned it around and pitched his butt off. He

was outstanding."

It marks a dramatic improvement after a dreadful April. Through six starts, Buchholz had a 9.09 ERA. But

he rediscovered his signature changeup, developed a hybrid splitter-changeup and regained his confidence.

Since May 11, he has a 2.80 ERA in 13 starts.

"I knew that some of the pitches that were getting hit usually don't get hit," Buchholz said. "If you

don't have a little bit of luck on your side every now and then, it's tough to make it work out for

yourself. Everything feels good. It's fun to go out and compete right now."

But Buchholz can only pitch every fifth day. Without similar performances from the other starters,

namely Beckett and Lester, the Red Sox can't go on the extended winning streak required to make a surge for

the wild card.

"I'll stand here and say it again: We have a ton of confidence in all of our pitchers," outfielder Cody

Ross said. "Hopefully guys watching Clay can get on that roll."
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