The Red Sox came into Tuesday night's game in Baltimore on a four game winning streak, and were just one win away from reaching .500 for the first time in 2011. Much of this momentum was built on solid starting pitching, and the team turned to Clay Buchholz to continue that trend. Buchholz did not look on his game all day, although he managed to pitch well enough to win had the team provided some offense. After throwing just seven pitches in the first inning, Buchholz allowed hits to three of the first four batters in the second and allowed a run. He struck out the final two batters to escape more trouble. After the Sox went down 1-2-3 in the top half of the third, the Orioles came back out and loaded the bases in the bottom half. Adam Jones came up with a sac fly to put Baltimore up 2-0. The Red Sox led off the following inning with a single from Dustin Pedroia. After a fielders choice and stolen base advanced Pedroia to third, Kevin Youkilis came through with a sac fly of his own, and the Red Sox cut the deficit to one. However, it would be the only run surrendered by Orioles starter Zach Britton. The rookie southpaw went six innings of one run baseball, allowing just five hits and walking two on his way to his fourth win of the year. Buchholz would end up pitching 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on a career high 12 hits allowed. He was able to get out of jams, and saved runs in the process, but Buchholz just did not seem dominant in any sense of the word on Tuesday. In the top of the 8th, Alex Gonzalez led off the inning with a double and the Red Sox trailing 4-1, but the next three batters went down and the deficit stuck. Kevin Gregg shut down the Sox offense in the 9th, and the Red Sox dropped the first game of the series 4-1.
News and Notes
- After going 4 for 8 in his last two games, Carl Crawford was finally looking like he was ready to break out of his slump. However, the expensive offseason acquisition regressed again on Tuesday night, turning in an 0-4 performance. He struck out twice in the game, but put some solid wood on the ball in the 6th when he flew out to deep center.
- Zach Britton looks like the real deal for the Orioles. After picking up the win on Tuesday, he improved to 4-1 and became the first rookie in franchise history to win four games in April. He has been the team's most valuable pitcher thus far, picking up wins in nearly half of the Orioles wins (9). He only threw 94 pitches tonight, and it will be interesting to watch how they deal with his pitch count later in the year.
The Red Sox will look to even the series tomorrow night at 7 PM ET. Boston will send red-hot Josh Beckett to the mound against Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie.