Boston's Buchholz gets nod in finale with Rays

( - Boston Red Sox hurler Clay Buchholz tries to avoid a third straight losing start on Thursday night as he takes the mound for the finale of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Buchholz is coming off a 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. However, despite allowing 11 hits over six innings, he was able to limit the damage to a pair of runs while also striking out seven. The 30-year-old fell to 1-2 on the year with a 6.06 earned run average.

"(Buchholz) kept the game in check," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "They are aggressive, they swung the bat early in the count, but he did a good job of minimizing the damages."

The right-handed Buchholz is 8-6 in his career versus the Rays, posting a solid 2.45 ERA over 18 starts.

Taking the mound tonight for the Rays will be Jake Odorizzi, who got zero run support in a 9-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday after winning his first two starts of the season.

The right-hander gave up three runs over six innings, charged with five hits and two walks while striking out nine. He is pitching to a 1.74 ERA through his three starts.

"A good ballgame that turned somewhat ugly. I thought (Odorizzi) really threw the ball well," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Odorizzi is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in five career starts versus the Red Sox.

The Rays halted a four-game slide by rallying for a 7-5 win last night. Brandon Guyer capped a four-run sixth inning with a two-run single and Jake Elmore homered in his first at-bat with Tampa Bay to highlight a two-run seventh.

Elmore's solo homer came after he was recalled from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day.

"That was a huge hit to give us a two-run lead," said Cash. "We knew he gave good at-bats in spring training, but the gap power kind of surprised us a little bit."

Steven Souza Jr. also hit a solo homer for Tampa Bay, but left the game with a right forearm cramp apparently suffered when he struck out swinging to end the sixth inning.

Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer and David Ortiz added a solo blast for the Red Sox, who had won two in a row.

Boston right-hander Joe Kelly escaped trouble until the sixth inning. He was charged with five runs on eight hits and a walk and had seven strikeouts in his first career appearance against the Rays.

"The sixth inning has become a challenge for our rotation," Farrell said. "We can't shut the inning off."

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, who was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning, was taken out for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. He is unlikely to play today, but was already in line for a game off.

Tampa won 10 of its 19 matchups with the Red Sox a season ago.