BOSTON (AP) One run was all the support Clay Buchholz needed to lead the Boston Red Sox out of a three-game skid and put a dismal month of May behind them.
Rusney Castillo’s RBI single in the seventh broke a scoreless tie and Buchholz pitched eight strong innings in a 1-0 shutout of the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Buchholz stuck out eight and allowed three hits and walked two against the Twins, who swept Boston last week in a three-game series at Minnesota.
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”It’s not fun getting swept by any team. We knew that this was going to be a big series,” said Buchholz, who took the loss exactly one week before when the Twins edged the Red Sox 2-1.
Buchholz (3-6) said he and the Red Sox hadn’t forgotten the sweep, but he was still recovering from a weekend illness and wasn’t up for a complete game on Tuesday.
Koji Uehara took over in the ninth and picked up his 11th save to preserve the shutout.
”I was gassed and I’d rather give Koji a clean inning to work with,” Buchholz said.
Mike Pelfrey (4-2) had a solid start as he and Buchholz both carried a shutout into the seventh inning, when the Red Sox broke the tie. Xander Bogaerts hit a two-out double off the wall in center and scored easily on Castillo’s single up the middle.
”That was most frustrating part of the whole game – 0-2, two outs and nobody on and I hang a split right down the middle,” Pelfrey said. ”I didn’t quite get in well enough on Rusney and he was strong enough to get it up the middle. That’s the kind of night it was.”
Sandy Leon, who walked after Bogaerts’ double, was thrown out at third to end the inning, but the run counted and Buchholz put the Twins down in order in the eighth. Castillo saved a run in the top of the eighth with a catch on Aaron Hicks’ long fly to the base of the wall in right.
Pelfrey allowed one run and six hits, walking two and striking out one.
”I think Clay Buchholz was obviously good on the other side and he was on tonight,” Pelfrey said. ”When you’re going up against a guy like that, hopefully it’ll bring the best out of you. He was just better tonight.”
The Red Sox went 10-19 in May, closing the month 1-6 on a road trip that included the sweep at Minnesota. Red Sox owner John Henry spoke to reporters before the game with his team stuck in last place at 22-29 after the first two months of the season.
”Very disappointed. It’s been an unacceptable 51 games,” Henry said.
The sentiment was the same in Boston’s clubhouse.
”We all share in where we are today,” manager John Farrell said after the game.
Just a few minutes after putting the Red Sox ahead, Castillo prevented the Twins from tying it right back up when Hicks led off the eighth with a hit that was headed into the Boston bullpen.
”That was a scary moment there for a second,” said Buchholz, who got his first win since Boston beat Toronto 6-3 on May 10.
The Twins were shut out for the fourth time this season and first since a 2-0 loss at Seattle on April 24.
Minnesota went 20-7 in May and had the second-best record in the American League entering Tuesday night’s game.
”We’ve been good at bouncing back, hopefully we will,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Twins: Molitor said an MRI on RHP Ricky Nolasco’s right ankle showed no damage, but his return to the rotation remained uncertain. Molitor said Nolasco will do some throwing Thursday and the Twins will see how it goes.
Red Sox: RHP Justin Masterson (right shoulder tendinitis) is scheduled for his second rehab start Friday for Double-A Portland.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (4-4) makes his team-high 11th start to open a double-header set up when heavy rain Monday caused the series opener to be postponed. RHP Trevor May (3-3) starts the night game.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0) makes his second big-league start after throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings against Texas and winning his debut. Rodriguez scattered three hits and didn’t allow any runs.