Published August 23, 2012
| Associated Press
BOSTON – Fenway Park has been kind to Clay Buchholz the past two seasons.
It has been downright cruel this year to the hometown Boston Red Sox, though, and that trouble has now caught up to Buchholz, too.
The Los Angeles Angels tagged the right-hander for seven runs and 12 hits in a 7-3 win Wednesday night over the Red Sox, who lost their third straight and for the sixth time in eight games.
Boston, 29-36 at home, is looking to avoid its first losing season at Fenway since 1997.
"It's different for me, being here the last four or five years and always winning," Buchholz said. "I think it's a little bit different for everybody. You expect to play well everywhere, especially at home, knowing that it's sold out every time we play here. It's frustrating that it hasn't been going the way we want it to go. Like I said, we've got to find a way to get through it."
Despite the team's hometown struggles this year, Buchholz (11-4) had been enjoying a dominant stretch in Boston. He had only one loss in 16 starts, dating to April 15, 2011.
However, his most recent run — both home and away — was perhaps the most impressive of his young career. He was 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA over 15 starts, and had permitted only eight earned runs in six outings.
That changed in a hurry on Wednesday.
Buchholz surrendered consecutive singles to Maicer Izturis, Erick Aybar and Chris Ianneta — the last three batters in the Angels' order — and fell behind 2-0 in the third inning. Los Angeles made it 4-0 in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Mark Trumbo and Izturis.
"The ball is up in the zone," Buchholz said. "Can't throw pitches consistently up there and expect to get away with it with a team like that."
Boston manager Bobby Valentine was curt when he was asked to put the season in perspective with 38 games remaining.
"It's been frustrating so far," he said.
Buchholz echoed those feelings.
"Nobody comes here every day wanting to lose or thinking we're going to lose. It's just been happening that way," he said. "To have a team that everybody knows can be really, really good with the players that run out there every day, it makes it a little bit tougher knowing that also.
"Just got to find our way these last couple of weeks."
Jered Weaver rebounded from a poor start by pitching seven solid innings for Los Angeles.
Howie Kendrick hit a solo homer, and Torii Hunter had a two-run single for the Angels, who have won the first two in a three-game set at Boston after getting swept in a four-game home series against Tampa Bay over the weekend.
Los Angeles slugger Albert Pujols left in the fourth inning with tightness in his right calf. The club said he will have a precautionary MRI on Thursday.
Ryan Lavarnway and Mike Aviles had RBI doubles for Boston.
Weaver (16-3) gave up two runs and seven hits, struck out five and walked one. He was tagged for a season-worst nine runs in three innings during a 12-3 loss to the Rays last Friday.
Los Angeles, which had lost 11 of 14 previous at Fenway before this week, will go for the sweep on Thursday when C.J. Wilson faces Boston's Franklin Morales.
With the Angels leading 4-2 in the sixth, Kendrick homered into the seats above the Green Monster. Izturis and Aybar then singled, chasing Buchholz. Junichi Tazawa struck out his first batter before Mike Trout's single loaded the bases. Hunter followed with a two-run single, making it 7-2.
Consecutive RBI doubles by Lavarnway and Aviles cut Boston's deficit to 4-2 in the fourth.
Pujols pulled up running between second and third on Kendrys Morales' grounder to shortstop before gingerly going into the third-base bag. He then came home slowly on Trumbo's single, limping noticeably as he went to the dugout. He was replaced in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: Valentine wouldn't say what his rotation would be for this weekend's home series against Kansas City. There is speculation that Daisuke Matsuzaka could take Aaron Cook's turn in the rotation. Matsuzaka, on the 15-day DL with a strained neck muscle, was impressive in a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, allowing one hit in seven shutout innings. "The reports were good," Valentine said. "Threw the ball good. Kept it down. Came out of it good — just a sore calf." ... The Angels placed OF Peter Bourjos on the 15-day DL with a sore right wrist, and recalled RHP Garrett Richards from Triple-A Salt Lake. Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said Richards, who went 3-2 with a 4.42 ERA in nine starts before being sent down on Aug. 2, will work out of the bullpen. "It's certainly a chance for him to fit more into a role, but we'll start with him in the middle and see where it goes from there," he said. "He still has that length (to start), but we'll see where it goes from there." ... Carl Yastrzemski, who had a Hall of Fame career with the Red Sox, turned 73 on Wednesday.