Clay Buchholz pitched well but was a tough-luck loser Tuesday night against the Twins. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Red Sox offense silenced to spoil another strong Clay Buchholz start in loss to Twins

Ryan Hannable
May 26, 2015 - 8:07 pm
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The Red Sox remain stuck in the mud. While they make progress in getting out, they then seemingly fall right back in. After winning the final two games over the weekend against the Angels, the Red Sox have lost their first two games of a seven-game road trip, falling to the Twins, 2-1, Tuesday night in Minneapolis. The game was delayed at the start by 81 minutes due to rain. Their latest defeat came at the hands of Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who entered with a career ERA just under 4.50. Pelfrey limited the Red Sox to one run on five hits over seven innings. Between the third and seventh inning, he limited the Red Sox to only two hits. The visitors had a chance to tie, or take the lead in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and two outs for Hanley Ramirez, but the left fielder flew out to right field to end the threat. Over the first 24 games in May, the Red Sox are averaging just 2.75 runs per game. Mike Napoli drove in the Red Sox' only run of the game, a single up the middle in the second inning. "Not much to get going. A lot of early outs, put the ball on the ground, a couple of ground-ball double plays," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I'd like to think our approach can be a little bit more concerted, a little bit more concentrated. You never want to take away credit from a guy that's throwing the ball well this year in Pelfrey. But still, I think we're capable of more than we showed here tonight." Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz continued his season-long trend of starting slow, but settling in. After allowing two first inning runs, and not having his best overall stuff, Buchholz went 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out four. Over his last four starts his ERA is 2.17, but the Red Sox are 1-3 in those games. Buchholz continues to struggle in the first inning, as he allowed two runs once again. For the season he's allowed 13 first-inning runs in 10 starts. It hasn't just been Buchholz, the Red Sox as a team struggle in the first inning, being outscored 35-14 in the opening frame. "Yeah, I didn't have much tonight," Buchholz said. "I didn't have command of any one pitch. As the game went on, I found a couple pitches and was able to throw a couple strikes and make some big pitches in some big situations. As far as stuff goes, I feel like that's the worst that I've had. To be able to go out there and have the first inning and pitch out of some jams against a team that's swinging as well as they are right now, I feel like I did a pretty good job. It seems like we're running into a lot of guys throwing the ball well right now." SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Buchholz. The right-hander delivered his fourth straight quality start, but the offense couldn't help him out, as his record dropped to 2-6. He's thrown three straight starts of at least seven innings. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid. Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox' loss: WHAT WENT WRONG -- Dustin Pedroia had a tough night both in the field and at the plate. Batting leadoff for the fourth straight game, the second baseman went 1-for-4, including hitting into a double play. He also made his fourth error of the season in the field -- this comes after having just two all of last year. "I don't see anyone pressing," Pedroia said. "Pelfrey was good tonight. It's not like we're going up there and they're putting the ball up on the tee. This is the Major League. He threw the ball great. He's been throwing the ball great all year. He's just, we didn't get to him." -- Sliding up into the No. 4 spot in the order, Ramirez went 0-for-4, including flying out with the tying run on third base in the eighth inning. Since missing a few games with a shoulder injury in late April, he's hitting just .206 and having trouble hitting for power to his pull side. -- Xander Bogaerts and Rusney Castillo combined to go 0-for-7 in the No. 7 and No. 8 spots. Bogaerts also tried to bunt with no one on and two outs in the seventh inning. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- David Ortiz snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a double in the second inning. The designated hitter finished the night 1-for-4 after being dropped to fifth in the order. -- Sandy Leon went 2-for-3. He came into the game with only two hits the entire month of May. -- Although Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-4 in the No. 3 spot, his only hit came left-on-left in the eighth inning against closer Glen Perkins. It's the second time in three days he's got a hit against a lefty, both coming when hitting from the left side. -- Castillo made two web gem catches in right field. Rob Bradford contributed to this report.