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Red Sox 3, Angels 8: Clay Buchholz falls apart in fifth, takes Red Sox with him

This feels familiar, somehow...

Jim Rogash

After two strong starts, it's more or less back to the drawing board for Clay Buchholz, who surrendered five runs in a disaster fifth en-route to a 3-8 loss.

For four innings, this very much looked like the third start in the Clay Buchholz comeback tour. Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout went down via first-inning strikeouts, and only one of the first eleven Angel batters managed to so much as reach base. He was throwing strikes, the changeup he's shied away from for so long was doing work, and all was well in Fenway Park.

Then came the fourth, and a quick burst of offense saw Buchholz lose the shutout on a Josh Hamilton double and Howie Kendrick single up the middle, both players jumping on early strikes to bring a run home. That, however, was just a warning shot.

The fifth? The fifth was where everything fell apart. The Los Angeles assault wasn't nearly so fast as it had been in the fourth. Instead, it was a long, slow death for Clay Buchholz. Four straight batters reached base to start the inning on two hits and two walks, and forced Buchholz to throw some 27 pitches in the process. Of note, while Buchholz went to the changeup for a pair of early strikes, he abandoned it when he needed an out pitch. He would finally get the first out of the inning on a change, with Mike Trout popping the pitch up to right. The ball fell in front of Daniel Nava, but Kole Calhoun had been forced to stay close to first, and Boston's right fielder was able to throw him out at second.

The out was a brief respite for Clay Buchholz, with the Angels immediately picking up another pair of singles to go with a sacrifice fly, bringing two more runs home. By the time Buchholz finally got that third out, the Angels had six runs on the board. To be fair to Buchholz, there were positive signs in the early innings, but on a night where he could have established a hot streak with a third straight positive outing, leaving with six runs to his name in six innings of work is not what he needed or wanted.

The good news for the Red Sox is that, even with six runs against them, they were not completely out of it. A Yoenis Cespedes sacrifice fly in the first had put the Red Sox ahead 1-0, and David Ross had knocked in Kelly Johnson from second in the second to double the lead. Then, in the third, David Ortiz had jumped all over the first pitch he saw, taking it over the right field wall for his 30th homer of the season.

The Angels, meanwhile, had been forced to turn to their bullpen early. In the second, while attempting to cover first, Garrett Richards collapsed to the ground with an apparent knee injury in clear pain. Los Angeles' starting pitcher was carted off the field only after being attended to by trainers for around 10 minutes--a terrible turn of events for one of the games promising young arms.

Even with the Angels running into such awful luck, however, the Red Sox were unable to mount any offense after Ortiz' homer. A parade of six different relievers held Boston's bats in check for the last six innings, while Los Angeles' lead only grew larger, with both Burke Badenhop and Craig Breslow allowing a run in their respective innings of work. When all was said and done, the Angels had an 8-3 win, leaving the Red Sox facing down the possibility of a four-game sweep against a team they took 2-of-3 from two weeks past.