Sunday, December 8, 2013
BOSTON — Clay Buchholz expected to hand the ball to Bobby Valentine when the Red Sox manager made a ninth-inning visit to the mound.
Dustin Pedroia follows through on his home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning on Sunday. Toronto won, 4-3.
The Associated Press
Valentine, however, was only checking on Buchholz, not pulling him from the game.
“I just wanted to make sure he believed like I did, that he had enough. He said, ‘Guaranteed,’” Valentine said of his conference with Buchholz with one out in the ninth. “All year long, Clay’s been totally honest with me every chance. After eight, he felt great. He wasn’t really stressed there in the ninth.”
Buchholz remained in the game until Omar Vizquel hit a sacrifice fly to left, driving in the go-ahead run. Toronto held on for a 4-3 win.
The reeling Red Sox have lost 11 of their last 12 games and are in last place in the AL East.
Buchholz (11-6) allowed four runs on seven hits over 8 2⁄3 innings, walking three and striking out four.
Rajai Davis started the ninth-inning rally with a blooper ,and Anthony Gose followed with another single, prompting Valentine to visit Buchholz on the mound.
After intentionally walking pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson, Buchholz left a cutter over the middle of the plate that Vizquel drove just deep enough to left to score Davis from third, ending Buchholz’s afternoon.
Toronto entered the series in last place in the AL East but left Fenway Park two games ahead of the Red Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia homered for the Red Sox.
NOTES: Boston activated OF Daniel Nava, who had been out since Aug. 25 with a sprained left wrist that has been nagging him this season. Nava pinch hit to lead off the eighth and grounded out. ... David Ortiz is expected to have his protective boot removed on Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald. It is still uncertain if Ortiz, who injured his right Achilles July 16, will play again this season.