BOSTON (AP) — Clay Buchholz is hoping mixed results are good enough to keep him in Boston’s rotation.
The veteran right-hander returned from a stint in the bullpen with his first start in nearly a month, taking the loss when the Red Sox lost to the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Tuesday night.
“Overall I felt pretty good,” Buchholz said.
Buchholz (3-7) recovered nicely after a rocky start. Tim Anderson drove the first pitch for his first career homer, then Adam Eaton doubled on pitch No. 2 during Chicago’s two-run first inning. Buchholz regained his composure and pitched five solid innings, allowing four hits and striking out five with only one walk.
“They’ve got a good lineup. It’s a tough lineup to pitch to, especially when you’re going up against Chris Sale,” Buchholz said. “You know runs are going to be at a minimum every time he goes out there.”
Buchholz said he was able to minimize the damage in the first inning and felt good overall. The only other run scored on him came on Todd Frazier’s 20th home run of the season, putting the White Sox up 3-1 in the fourth.
“Somebody jumps up on you first pitch of the game, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. He put a good swing on it,” Buchholz said of Anderson’s leadoff homer.
“The Frazier home run, I felt like I had him set up for in,” Buchholz said. “Apparently I didn’t. Pretty good swing on that.”
Buchholz had the combined misfortune of hardly any offensive support and facing Chris Sale (12-2), who became the majors’ first 12-game winner. Sale tied a season high with nine strikeouts and shut down Boston’s potent lineup as the White Sox won consecutive games for just the second time in June.
The Red Sox left eight runners on base and were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“He kept everybody off balance, mixed up pitches throughout counts and did what he does a lot of times,” said Mookie Betts, who drove in Boston’s only run.
Sale also had a 2-0 lead before even throwing a pitch. His biggest challenge came after Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon started the third inning with back-to-back singles. Shaw scored on a sacrifice fly by Betts, and the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs before Sale struck out Hanley Ramirez swinging.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Betts said. “We’re not scoring five or six like we usually do, but honestly I feel like we’ve been hitting the ball well. Just a lot of lineouts, especially in big situations.”
Betts said the Red Sox weren’t going to panic after their sixth loss in nine games. Boston was still in second place in the AL East with more than half a season still to go.
And Betts noted Boston isn’t going to be held to one run and six hits very often.
“Maybe we can bloop one in or something at some point and get a rally going that way,” he said. “You’ve just got to stick with it. I think we’ve been hitting the ball just fine, though.”
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz was not in the starting lineup, almost getting the night off before pinch hitting in the ninth and drawing a walk. Ramirez was the DH and struck out three times.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 2.63) has gone 0-6 with one no decision over his last seven starts.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 6.97), who was moved back a day in the rotation for an extra bullpen session, will start his fifth game of the season.
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