Buchholz, facing a lineup that featured the top two hitters in the league in Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, allowed five hits and walked one before being lifted after Denard Span’s broken-bat infield hit to start the ninth.
He also struck out seven. Let us count the ways, courtesy of Inside Edge.
Morneau, called, slider.
Michael Cuddyer, swinging, changeup.
Orlando Hudson, called, slider.
Morneau, called, fastball.
Jim Thome, swinging, changeup.
Jason Kubel, called, slider.
Thome, called, slider.
“Fun to watch the kid pitch like that,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “There were some really dangerous hitters in that lineup that are feeling pretty good about themselves right now, and he really pitched. He used all his pitches, he located, he pounded the strike zone, he stayed down, he did a great job.’’
Buchholz, who has won four of his last five starts and is now 5-3 with a 3.26 ERA, threw 59 fastballs, 6 curveballs, 22 sliders and 17 changeups. His fastball averaged 93 miles per hour at the start of the game, and was 94 when he came out in the ninth after breaking Span’s bat with his 104th pitch, a fastball.
So why did Francona lift him for Daniel Bard after Span reached? The Sox manager had both Bard and Hideki Okajima up in the ninth, so it was pretty much a given that if anyone reached, he was going to the 'pen.
“You start getting four looks,’’ Francona said of the Twins going through their order a fourth time against Buchholz, “he leaves a pitch up, I have a hard time with that.’’