Clay dominates north of the border
TORONTO -- Clay Buchholz doesn't have a grand theory to explain his career success pitching at Rogers Centre, but he's willing to take a stab at it.
"I like the mound here," Buchholz said after he picked up his 10th career win in Toronto, pitching eight innings to lead the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays. "I've said it before. I'm just comfortable on it."
Whatever the reason, the right-hander's numbers north of the border -- especially since 2009 -- are impressive by any standard. Buchholz has made 13 starts over that span, going 10-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 92 1/3 innings. His 10 career wins here are the most by a visitor among active players and tie him for second-most all time with Mike Mussina. Buchholz's career 2.30 ERA is the best among pitchers with at least 14 starts at the venue.
It was more of the same Monday, as Buchholz delivered his team-best 11th quality start, limiting the Blue Jays to five hits and one run without walking a batter. He extended his streak without allowing a home run to 53 2/3 innings, a span of seven starts, and allowed one earned run or less for the third straight outing.
"He's been on a really strong run through the entire month and tonight tops off the month he's had," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He was outstanding."
Buchholz cruised early save for a second-inning hiccup that saw the Blue Jays threaten, only to have Russell Martin run himself into an out as he rounded third and through a stop sign, getting caught up in a rundown to end the inning. That seemed to provide Buchholz a boost as he made it through the next three innings facing the minimum amount of batters before the Blue Jays finally got on the board in the sixth. Not even that could shake Buchholz, as has breezed through the seventh and eighth, allowing only a single, before turning the ball over to closer Koji Uehara in the ninth.
"He's been very consistent," Farrell said. "You know he's going to give you six, seven, possibly more. It allows you to be more aggressive with the bullpen the day before he starts."
Buchholz, the Red Sox's longest-tenured member of the pitching staff, has been the subject of recent trade rumors, which will likely only ramp up if the club is unable to contend in the American League East. Buchholz said he does his best to keep it out of mind, though he knows that trade talks are part of the game.
"I understand the business side of it, but this is the only place I've ever been and I'd like to be here as long as I can," he said.