UPDATE: Today’s excellent rehab outing was enough for Buchholz to secure his return to the majors. According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, his next start will be with the Red Sox. The exact date is still to be determined, but it will presumably be next week.
5:25 p.m. ET: Clay Buchholz struggled in his first minor-league rehab start last week, but fared much better this afternoon by tossing six shutout innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Buchholz, who’s on the disabled list with a hyperextended knee, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five. Before being shut down he was terrible for the Red Sox, posting a 7.02 ERA in 10 starts after having a remarkable 2013 campaign that saw him go 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts.
There’s no word yet on if Buchholz’s performance today was enough to convince the Red Sox he’s ready to rejoin the rotation.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.