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Game 146: Clay Buchholz, bullpen make easy work of Orioles

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I'm feeling good about Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz went 6 strong innings and led the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Orioles Friday night. Buchholz allowed just one run, five hits and three walks in the outing.

While it wasn't Buchh's best outing, he was solid. Dennis Eckersley probably put it the best: Buchh is evolving. He didn't have his best stuff tonight, but he worked with what he had and he got the outs. The old Buchholz wouldn't have done that. The new Buchholz, however, can do that. It's great to see -- especially with October right around the corner.

The key to the offense was provided by an unlikely person: Casey Kotchman. Kotchman, who got the start at first base, went 3 for 4 with an RBI single in the 2nd inning. Jacoby Ellsbury also had an RBI single, while Jason Bay, who left the game due to "flu-like symptoms," hit his 34th home run of the year in the 4th inning.

The bullpen was strong, too. Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon combined for three scoreless, hitlessinnings of relief. Bard allowed a walk, but that was the only damage. Paps notched his 37th save of the season (strikeout) by working an effective 9th.

This was a solid victory by the Sox. They are now 10-5 in September, and have won 8 of their last 10. While this team clicks, it's coming at the perfect time -- only 16 games left in the regular season.

Now we just have to make sure those Rangers continue to loss ballgames. Oh, and the Yankees could do the same. That'd be great, too.