BOSTON -- When manager Bobby Valentine visited Clay Buchholz on the mound in the first inning on Friday night, he came with a message.
"I just wanted Clay to understand that I believed in him and everyone behind him thought he was a good pitcher. Prove it to the guys in front of him," Valentine said. "Now he can look at his record of four wins and say that he's really building on something. He's coming off a good outing the next time he goes out there."Buchholz pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and Dustin Pedroia had three hits and three RBIs as the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 7-5 to snap a three-game skid.
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Will Middlebrooks hit a two-run double off Ubaldo Jimenez, and Daniel Nava, called up from the minors Thursday, made a pair of outstanding defensive plays to help the last-place Red Sox (13-19) win for only the second time this month.Boston had lost 11 of its previous 12 home games and eight of nine overall.David Ortiz went 1 for 3 and scored a run but left in the seventh because of a sore left heel. Ortiz was involved in a minor car accident on his way to Fenway Park but said before the game that he was uninjured.Valentine said he thought Ortiz got hurt striding toward the bag on his infield hit in the fifth.Buchholz (4-1) allowed four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked three and did not have a strikeout."It still wasn't easy tonight. There were still times when things could have gotten bad," said Buchholz, who had given up five or more earned runs in each of his first six starts this season.Five relievers followed Buchholz, with Alfredo Aceves earning his sixth save in eight chances.Buchholz got off to a shaky start. He retired his first two batters but allowed a walk and consecutive base hits by Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.The right-hander then hit Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch, and Valentine went out to the mound. Buchholz retired Michael Brantley to end the inning."I think our opportunities were early in the game, but then after that, he got into a very good groove and he moved his fastball in and out and used that changeup of his. It's a very good pitch," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's as tough as it gets when he's going well."Buchholz toyed with trouble in the second and third, but Nava made two excellent plays in the outfield. In the second, he came up firing after Jason Kipnis' single to cut down Jack Hannahan at the plate. Nava was aided by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who blocked the plate and tagged out Hannahan after he missed it.In the third inning, with runners on second and third, Nava made a running catch near the left-field stands to end the threat."In the losing streak, that ball drops and it's a continuation inning," Valentine said.Buchholz retired 10 of 11 hitters before loading the bases on consecutive singles and a walk in the seventh. Rich Hill and Andrew Miller closed out the inning, but not before the Indians cut the lead to 7-4.Aceves allowed one run in the ninth.Leading 1-0 after Santana's RBI in the first, Jimenez (3-3) walked Pedroia and Ortiz, and hit Adrian Gonzalez with a pitch to load the bases. Middlebrooks drilled a double into left field to give the Red Sox a 2-1 advantage.Pedroia doubled home Nick Punto, who singled to snap an 0-for-19 slide, and Ryan Sweeney to extend Boston's lead to 4-1 in the second.The Red Sox chased Jimenez in the fifth. Nava walked and scored on a double by Cody Ross, who scored on a base hit by Ryan Sweeney to put Boston up 6-1. Pedroia's sacrifice fly off reliever Dan Wheeler made it 7-1."It's obviously been tough for us, but it's good to get back in the win column and get something going," Ross said. "There is a sense of urgency to play like we're capable of."Jimenez, who has struggled with control problems this season, walked five, hit a batter with a pitch and allowed nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. He has walked 30 batters in 40 innings this season."He's human, just like you and I. I wish every single one of them could go seven innings, two hits, no runs. But that's not reality," Acta said. "He's going through some mechanical adjustments. How long is it going to take? I don't know. He's going to have some good ones and some bad ones."Santana had two RBIs, and Hafner was 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Indians, who dropped to 10-4 on the road this season.
Indians third-base coach Steve Smith was ejected for arguing the play at the plate in the second inning. Cleveland manager Manny Acta replaced Smith. ... Johnny Damon's run in the seventh was the 1,647th of his career, tying him with Cal Ripken Jr. for 34th place. ... Henry Mahegan was the public address announcer. The Red Sox went without one Thursday in tribute to former PA announcer Carl Beane, who died Wednesday. ... Boston RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, recovering from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Pawtucket against Columbus. ... The Red Sox acquired OF Scott Podsednik from the Philadelphia Phillies for cash. He will report to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Boston traded 1B-3B Jeff Larish to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.