Closing Time: Clay Buchholz hurls complete-game gem, Red Sox win last game of first half

July 13, 2014 - 1:30 pm

It looks like Clay Buchholz might have finally figured things out. Buchholz turned in his best of the start of the season Sunday against the Astros, going nine innings and allowing three hits and no runs with a career-high 12 strikeouts. It led the way in the Red Sox' 11-0 win over the host Astros. It was the first time since Sept. 15, 2013, against the Yankees that Buchholz did not allow an opponent to score. The outing also marked since May 11 against the Blue Jays that Buchholz went more than seven innings.  Buchholz threw his last complete game on Aug. 10 against the Indians, when he allowed two hits and one run (on a home run), with six strikeouts. Since coming off the disabled list on June 25 and heading into Sunday, Buchholz posted a 3.92 ERA with an opponent batting average of .230, an opponent on-base percentage of .260, 11 strikeouts, one walk and nine earned runs in 20 2/3 innings pitched. Also highlighting the Red Sox win was Brock Holt's five hits. The Red Sox capped off the first half of their season with a 43-52 record. Through 95 games in 2013, the Red Sox were 58-37. During the Bobby Valentine-led 2012 season, the Red Sox were 48-47. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Holt continues to be the savior of the 2014 Red Sox and adding to his list of conquests. Against Astros starter Brad Peacock, Holt hit a leadoff home run into the upper deck of Minute Maid Park to give the Red Sox a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning. Holt went 5-for-6. Heading into Sunday, Holt was hitting .277/.306/.340 as the first batter of the game. -- Xander Bogaerts is beginning to produce more at the plate. Bogaerts scored on a Christian Vazquez double play after walking to lead off the second inning. Bogaerts also knocked in a run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Daniel Nava. Since June 1 heading into Sunday, Bogaerts has hit .137/.174/.221 with three home runs, eight RBIs, four walks and 40 strikeouts. -- Here comes Jackie Bradley Jr. The 24-year-old outfielder continued his hot month of July with an RBI single to center field to score Mike Napoli. Heading into Sunday, Bradley was hitting .393/.433/.464 with an RBI, two doubles and six runs scored in eight games in the month of July. -- Vazquez continues to impress at the plate. The stocky catcher knocked in his fourth run of the season on a single up the middle, plating Nava. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve misplayed the ball after a dive, subsequently allowing Bradley to score a second run on the play and put the Red Sox up 6-0 in the fifth inning. Vazquez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Bogaerts in the seventh inning for his fifth RBI of the season. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- David Ortiz went 0-for-3 with one RBI and a strikeout. -- The Red Sox grounded into five double plays.