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Final: Red Sox 2, Reds 1

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  March 25, 2009 03:27 PM

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IT'S OVER (3:27, END 9, 2-1 RED SOX)
The Red Sox scored two in the ninth and notched a comeback victory at Ed Smith Stadium.

Jonathan Papelbon has replaced Buchholz. His stellar start was marred a bit by the strange and sloppy sixth inning, but overall it was another positive outing for Buchholz. He allowed one unearned run on three hits and no walks to go with three strikeouts. He threw 73 pitches, 47 of which were strikes. Papelbon has two quick outs.

Buchholz has had a great spring throwing to home plate. Not so throwing to fist base. In his last start, Buchholz sent a runner to third with a bad pick-off throw. In the sixth inning, he sent TWO runners to third from first on pickoff throws. Paul Janish led off and reached on an error by Argenis Diaz, who let the ball roll right through the wickets. (Not a good spring for him defensively, you'll recall.) Buchholz -- who in the first picked off Taveras -- made a quick move to first, but the ball skipped into right field.

Buchholz struck out the pinch-hitting Johnny Gomes and got Taveras to pop foul to Lowell. Keppinger rolled a ball up the middle, which bounced off Buchholz and then off Pedroia's glove. Pedroia somehow snagged it out of the air and chucked to first, but the throw was a late by a minute, allowing the game's first run to score. Buchholz tried picking off Keppinger, and AGAIN the ball bounded into right field, Youkilis chasing it down. John Farrell came out for a chat, and Buchholz ended the inning by striking out Joey Votto.

The Red Sox went in order in their half of the fifth, including a strike out of Varitek by Cueto. Since Youkilis led off the second with a single, Cueto has retired 11 batters in a row. Thing is, Buchholz has been ever better -- after Taveras led off the game with a single, Buchholz has put down every batter he's faced.

CLAY AT THE BAT (1:38, MID 3, 0-0)
With two outs and no one on, Buchholz came to bat. (He's a lefty at the plate, interestingly.) Buchholz popped the first pitch he saw over the netting behind the plate, took the second, then dribbled the third back to Cueto. Cueto lofted the ball softly to first, perhaps not realizing Buchholz's speed -- in high school, Notre Dame recruited Buchholz to play defensive back, and, Buchholz said, he once ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash. Buchholz was out by half a step.

Kevin Youkilis led off the second with a single down the third base line, but he was erased when Mike Lowell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Jason Varitek roped a deep fly to right while batting left handed, but Jay Bruce caught it on the warning track.

Buchholz retired Adam Rosales, Bruce, and Ramon Hernandez in order. Buchholz has been very aggressive in the strike zone today.

FAST FIRST (1:17, END 1, 0-0)
The Red Sox and Reds each smacked one hit in the first, but each went down in order, too. Johnny Cueto blew away Jason Bay -- making a cameo leadoff appearance -- with a fastball for strike three. Dustin Pedroia nearly knocked off Cueto's head with a line drive single up the box. J.D. Drew, making his return after a nasty contusion on his right, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Willy Taveras led off with hit off of Clay Buchholz, but Buchholz picked him off with Jeff Keppinger at the plate. Keppinger grounded to Argenis Diaz at short, and Joey Votto flied to left.

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