81-55: Buchholz no-hits the Orioles

Anyone who wasn’t impressed with Clay Buchholz (2-0) in his first start, just be quiet. Anyone who ever advocated trading him, shut up. Debate’s over. This kid is special, and that might be the understatement of the year. By 10 AM tomorrow morning, the whole world will know who Buchholz is, and that’s a good thing for the Sox.

Forced to find a spot starter after Tim Wakefield was scratched from his start yesterday, the Sox called up the 23-year old righty. If Boston ever needed a pick-me-up, it was now. Buchholz was rushed up from Pawtucket and stunned the Orioles 10-0, finishing with a line of 9 IP, 0 H and 9 Ks on 115 pitches. He mixed a good fastball, curve and changeup all night long, showing confidence and a swagger that didn’t befit a rookie in his second ever big league start. He ended the game by freezing Nick Markakis, the Orioles’ best young hitter, with a curveball on the outside corner. And he did this in front of a packed house at Fenway, rabid Red Sox fans who were angry over the sweep by the Yankees and the loss last night.

He’s the first ever Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter, and you’ve heard all the numbers. But there were a lot of other performances that should be mentioned:

Dustin Pedroia saved the night in the seventh on a tough grounder by Miguel Tejada. Ranging far to his right, Pedroia dove, popped back up, an, pinwheeling to his left, fired a strike to first to nab the sliding Tejada. That was simply an amazing play, and it really opened my eyes to the quality of defense we’re getting on the right side of our infield.

The lineup did a great job against Baltimore, tallying 14 hits and 7 walks on the night. They chased starter Garrett Olson (1-3) after 5 1/3 innings and 104 pitches, and scored off of both Oriole relievers.

David Ortiz delivered a bases-clearing double in the fourth to break it open, and the Sox also got three hits from Mike Lowell, who batted cleanup. Brandon Moss went 1-3 with a walk, and Jacoby Ellsbury stroked a two-run double in the eighth to push the offense into double digits. I told you that September would be a lot more interesting with these guys around.

Manny is still out, but Bobby Kielty was able to play and contribute today.

Boy, Buchholz sure is making it harder and harder for Theo Epstein to justify bringing Curt Schilling back next season. But again, this is a good problem for us to have. A good problem.


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