PAWTUCKET- Clay Buchholz was once again spectacular on the mound and the offense hammered out 13 hits, as the PawSox had little trouble handling the Richmond Braves, 10-1, tonight at McCoy.
Buchholz pitched 6 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits, striking out seven and walking two. His only blemish came in the top of the seventh when he surrendered a lead-off homer to Braves 1B Barbaro Canizares. That run ended a 17-inning scoreless streak by Buchholz dating back to his last two starts.
“He pitched tonight”, said PawSox Manager Ron Johnson, “I liked the composure on the mound. When he needed to make a quality pitch he did it.”
“I felt like I got a lot more confidence now than I had about a month and a half ago” said Buchholz, “Just knowing that I can throw it to get an out when I need to is basically what I’m supposed to be doing right now.”
Buchholz was helped by a pair of slick double plays made behind him in the field…one from Joe Thurston in the fourth and another by Sean Danielson in the fifth.
There was no lack of offensive heroes for the PawSox tonight. Bryan Pritz drove in three runs, going 3 for 4 with two doubles. George Kottaras (2 for 4) drove in a pair of runs on two solo homers. Chris Carter (3 for 4) also drove in a pair. Keith Ginter extended his hitting streak to six games with a 2 for 5 night at the plate.
The PawSox began their offensive onslaught with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second off Braves starter Jerome Gamble (0-2). Chris Carter led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Keith Ginter. After Kottaras grounded out to first, Bryan Pritz laced a double to left, plating Carter and Ginter..
Control problems did in Gamble and the Braves in the bottom of the fourth as Pawtucket added five runs. With one out Kottaras belted his 13th homer of the season deep down the right field line. Pritz followed with his second double of the game. Gamble then walked three of the next four batters to force in a run.
Gamble was replaced by Zach Schreiber, who didn’t fare much better, giving up another bases loaded walk, to Jed Lowrie, and a two run single to Chris Carter.
Kottaras added his second homer of the game off Schreiber in the bottom of the fifth.
The PawSox added more two runs in the seventh off Braves relievers Jeff Ridgeway and Jorge Julio. Carter led off with a walk Ginter singled and Kottaras walked to load the bases. Pritz drove in his third run on a single to center, scoring Carter. After Sean Danielson struck out Ginter scored on an infield single by Jonathan Van Every.
Eric Hull and Lincoln Holdzkom pitched in relief of Buchholz and pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.
Canizares and LF Carl Loadenthal had two hits apiece for the Braves
With the win, combined with another Scranton/Wilkes Barre loss, the PawSox are now three games on top of the IL North Division.
The two clubs wrap up the series tomorrow night (7:05 pm). LHP Chuck James (3-2, 1.88) starts for Richmond. He’ll be opposed by RHP David Pauley (9-2, 3.78) for the PawSox.
NOTES: The Red Sox have announced that reliever Mike Timlin will make a rehab appearance tomorrow night with the PawSox at McCoy. He is expected to throw one inning.
The PawSox have had unbelievable success against the Braves. Along with taking the first three games of this series, the PawSox are 23-5 against Richmond dating back to 2004.