Two pitchers have given up five homers in a game this season. Both have been Red Sox.
Clay Buchholz joined Josh Beckett in the exclusive club Friday, surrendering five solo homers in a 6-2 loss to the Yankees on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park’s opening.
On the plus side, Buchholz’s start was pretty good for someone who allowed five homers. He allowed just the five earned runs overall. He also allowed one unearned run after Dustin Pedroia lost Derek Jeter’s game-opening popup in the sun and had it go off his glove. Jeter later scored on an Alex Rodriguez single.
The homers came off the bats of Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez (two), Rodriguez and Russell Martin. A couple of the earlier ones were wind-aided. The shots hit by A-Rod and Martin didn’t need any assistance. Rodriguez’s homer was his 631st, moving him past Ken Griffey Jr. and into fifth place on the all-time list.
Buchholz was probably the Red Sox starter least likely to give up five homers in a game. He allowed just nine all year on his way to 17 wins in 2010. Overall, he had allowed 44 in 458 career innings, an average of one every 10.4 innings.
Buchholz is now 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA this season. That his three starts have come against the Tigers, Rays and now the Yankees certainly has something to do with that.
On a happier note, Chavez’s two-homer game was his first since April 11, 2006.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.