It took 20 pitches in the top of the ninth inning to undo Clay Buchholz' strong outing. It took only 13 in the bottom of the inning to undo that collapse.
Buchholz had already thrown eight shutout innings on 98 pitches when Terry Francona sent him out to try and finish things in the ninth. Thanks to some early offense off of Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Buchholz was in line for the win if he could hold the 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, it was not to be. A tough hop to Jed Lowrie off the outfield grass resulted in a leadoff infield single before a walk to Ryan Raburn brought Terry Francona out from the dugout, and Jonathan Papelbon in from the bullpen.
With his first pitch, Papelbon gave up a ringing double high off the wall in centerfield to Miguel Cabrera, scoring the two runners he inherited from Buchholz. After striking out Brennan Boesch on three more pitches, Jhonny Peralta took the first one he saw and singled up the middle, tying the game at three before a double play ended the inning.
As has been the case lately, though, the Red Sox had no problem coming up with some ninth inning offense of their own. Jed Lowrie reached on his own infield single, before Eric Patterson pulled back the bunt on four straight balls from Brad Thomas. With runners at first and second, Jim Leyland turned to rookie Robbie Weinhardt. Marco Scutaro dropped down a bunt, Weinhardt fielded, and threw the ball past the first baseman and into right field, letting Darnell McDonald (pinch running for Jed Lowrie) come around to score the winning run.
The Sox start a four game series against the recently depleted Cleveland Indians tomorrow.