Well, that went a little better than last year.
Mark Buehrle might have had his best stuff of the season, which, as a soft-tossing lefty, isn't saying much. But his change up and curveball were about as crisp as I've seen them, and it showed in the results. Buehrle's 8 strikeouts were a season high, and he could have walked away after 7 innings, having allowed only 5 baserunners and no runs. Ozzie sent Buehrle out for the 8th, however, where he gave up a leadoff single and was pulled to a standing ovation.
Octavio Dotel relieved Buehrle, though he didn't provide much relief. A walk to JD Drew and a HR to Dustin Pedroia put the Red Sox right back in the game just minutes after Buehrle departed. Matt Thornton made easy work of David Ortiz before DJ Carrasco once again had trouble finding the zone. He was on his way towards walking the tying run into scoring position when Mike Lowell decided to help him out by popping up behind home.
Following the inning ending out, cameras caught AJ Pierzynski jawing at Carrasco on his way to the dugout. I can't be sure that it was anything more than AJ being AJ, but it didn't look like your normal fired up for a big out jabbering. It looked like he was genuinely pissed that Carrasco couldn't get anything over the plate.
Offensively, the Sox scratched out most of their runs the hard way before Carlos Quentin added some much-needed insurance with an 8th inning homer. Juan Uribe had a 2-2 night, and contributed to the Sox big inning with a well executed sacrifice bunt, which allowed Orlando Cabrera to drive in two with a double to right.
- The Sox returned Ehren Wasserman to Charlotte to make room for Jose Contreras, who makes his return to the rotation tomorrow. With Contreras being almost an automatic 'L', Friday's win was extra-huge.
- Buehrle's ERA over his last 16 games is 3.10.
- While having Uribe in the lineup every day is certainly a sub-optimal situation, his play, especially defensively, over the last week has shown exactly why he was a much better fit than Pablo Ozuna for the Sox utility role.