Clay Buchholz pitched six gritty innings in his Fenway Park debut as the Red Sox clipped the LA Angels, 8-4, in the first of a doubleheader this afternoon.
Unfortunately, the Sox lost Doug Mirabelli to a calf injury as he was rounding third base in the first while scoring the sixth run of the inning. He will be placed on the 15-day disabled list. Jason Varitek had to go in to catch the game, and will probably catch Game 2 as well. The Red Sox have recalled catcher Kevin Cash from Pawtucket to take Mirabelli's slot.
Buchholz gave up four runs (three earned) while walking three and striking out five. He looked shaky to start the game, as he walked Chone Figgins on four pitches. But he settled down, allowing just one unearned run that inning (courtesy of a J.D. Drew error). The Sox came out firing in the bottom of the first, scoring six runs including a two-run shot by David Ortiz off John Lackey.
Buchholz showed some good poise, as he was under pressure in most innings, but pitched his way out of most of it. It is not surprising to see why the Red Sox think so highly of him, and why he is the top rated prospect in the Red Sox system. Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon finished up for Clay to wrap up the win, which extended the Sox lead in the AL East to 6 games.
Buchholz now returns to Pawtucket, where we'll see him back in September, when the rosters are expanded. He could definitely be another power arm who can help the Red Sox reach the Promised Land this October.