By HOWARD ULMAN, AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Clay Buchholz didn’t allow a hit until Kelly Johnson’s broken-bat single leading off the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 on Sunday.
Buchholz, who threw a no-hitter in just his second career start in 2007, allowed two hits and four walks in eight innings and struck out a career-high 11.
Johnson singled with an 0-1 count on Buchholz’s 101st pitch, sending the ball over first baseman Mike Napoli while the top part of the bat landed near the front edge of the infield between first and second. Buchholz induced Sam Fuld to ground into a double play and then allowed Desmond Jennings’ double off the left-field wall. Ben Zobrist flied out to left fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
Buchholz (3-0) lowered his ERA to 0.41, allowing one earned run in 22 innings He left after 109 pitches, and Andrew Miller finished with a one-hit ninth.
Buchholz’s performance came one day after the Mets’ Matt Harvey pitched 6 2-3 innings at Minnesota before Justin Morneau homered off the right-field foul pole in New York’s 4-2 win.
Alex Cobb (1-1) allowed four runs _ three earned _ and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, and Tampa Bay lost for the fifth time in six games. The Rays have eight runs in their last six games, including four in their last four, and are batting .212 this season.
Boston took a 4-0 lead in the third. Mike Napoli hit a two-run double to deep right-center and a Stephen Drew hit into a run-scoring, bases-loaded forceout. After first baseman James Loney threw to second, shortstop Yunel Escobar threw wildly past Loney trying for a double play, and Daniel Nava scored from second as the ball wound up in Boston’s dugout for an error.
Will Middlebrooks added a sacrifice fly in the eighth against Jamey Wright.
NOTES: The Rays have 33 runs in 11 games and no homers in their last six. … The teams finish the rain-shortened series Monday when Jeremy Hellickson (0-1) pitches for Tampa Bay against Ryan Dempster (0-1). The opener of the four-game series was postponed by rain on Friday night. … Buchholz has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of 15 starts against the Rays. … Red Sox starters have held opponents to three or fewer runs in all 11 games.
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