ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Boston manager John Farrell thought Clay Buchholz might be a little rusty after a long layoff. Turns out that wasn’t the case for the Red Sox right-hander.
Buchholz allowed three hits over five innings in his first start since early June and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Tuesday night.
“A healthy Clay Buchholz is going to be a great addition,” Farrell said. “He showed it tonight. To see him walk to the mound, I think it gave everybody a boost in confidence.”
Buchholz (10-0), sidelined by a strained neck, hadn’t pitched in the majors since beating the Los Angeles Angels on June 8.
“He looked great … looked like he hadn’t missed a day,” Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “To be able to go into a game like this after not pitching in a big league game for that long, keep your poise and just make it look like it’s any other game, it’s tough to do.”
Buchholz, who made three rehab starts in the minors, struck out Jose Molina with two on to end the second. He admitted that he was anxious before the game
“It felt pretty good,” Buchholz said. “A long time coming for me, so I’m definitely happy to be back out there.”
Jonny Gomes and Saltalamacchia both drove in a run for the Red Sox, who extended their lead over second-place Tampa Bay to 8 1/2 games in the East. Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara finished a four-hitter. Uehara got the final four outs for his 19th save.
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price (8-8) lost his third straight start despite giving up just two runs and three hits in eight innings. The left-hander struck out nine.
The Rays, 4-12 since August 25, are leading the race for the second AL wild-card spot.
“You can’t dwell on it,” Price said. “We’ve got 19 games left, so you go now or we won’t be hanging around in October.”
Price retired 12 in a row before Mike Napoli doubled off the center field fence to open the fifth, a drive that Desmond Jennings jumped too early on.
“It’s a play that should be made,” Jennings said.
Gomes followed with a single that drove in Napoli to put the Red Sox up 1-0.
Gomes, who has 15 RBIs over his last 17 games, scored to make it 2-0 later in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Saltalamacchia that required a leaping catch near the wall by Jennings.
YANKEES 7, ORIOLES 5
BALTIMORE — Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking shot in the eighth inning, and New York rallied past Baltimore to end a six-game losing streak at Camden Yards.
Mark Reynolds also homered for the Yankees, who won for the second time in six games to bolster their postseason hopes. New York still trails Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cleveland in the hunt for the final AL wild-card slot.
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 49th home run for the Orioles and raised his RBI total to 126. Baltimore led 4-1 in the fifth inning before faltering.
ROYALS 6, INDIANS 3
CLEVELAND — Jeremy Guthrie got a major assist from his defense in pitching six innings, Alcides Escobar hit a rare home run and Kansas City snapped a six-game losing streak in Cleveland to close on the Indians and two others in the cramped wild-card scramble.
Guthrie (14-10) allowed just one run and nine hits, but was helped by three double plays.
Kansas City pulled within three games of a wild-card spot. The Royals also got a game closer to the Indians, who dropped to 6-3 in September.
ANGELS 12, BLUE JAYS 6
TORONTO — Mark Trumbo matched a team record with four extra-base hits, including back-to-back home runs with Josh Hamilton, and Chris Iannetta and Erick Aybar also went deep as Los Angeles beat Toronto.
Trumbo had a career-best five hits and became the first player in Angels history to collect five hits and score five runs in the same game. He went 5 for 5 with three doubles and two RBIs as the Angels won for the eighth time in 11 meetings with the Blue Jays.
TWINS 4, ATHLETICS 3
MINNEAPOLIS — Josh Willingham hit two home runs, including a two-run shot in the eighth inning that put Minnesota in front for good against Oakland.
Oswaldo Arcia also homered for the Twins, who snapped Oakland’s three-game winning streak and prevented the A’s from stretching their two-game lead over Texas in the AL West. Minnesota also spoiled a solid outing by Jarrod Parker, who tossed six strong innings and stretched his unbeaten streak to 19 starts.
TIGERS 9, WHITE SOX 1
CHICAGO — Rick Porcello pitched his first career complete game, Prince Fielder homered among his four hits and Detroit snapped a three-game skid by beating Chicago.
Alex Avila added four hits and two RBIs as the Tigers increased their AL Central lead over Cleveland to 5½ games.
Porcello (12-8) scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked one. The 24-year-old right-hander retired 14 straight after Chicago scored its only run in the fourth.
ASTROS 13, MARINERS 2
SEATTLE — Jonathan Villar homered on the first pitch of the game and Houston coasted to a lopsided victory over Seattle.
Villar connected off Joe Saunders (11-14) for his first career homer. The Astros scored six times in the first three innings to chase Saunders. The left-hander has lost six of his last eight decisions.
Chris Carter and Jose Altuve each had three of the Astros’ 17 hits. Houston’s 10 extra-base hits were a season high, eclipsing the previous mark of nine — also set against the Mariners.
PIRATES 5, RANGERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Francisco Liriano pitched six innings for his career-high 16th victory, Andrew McCutchen had three RBI singles and Pittsburgh held on to beat slumping Texas.
A night after victory No. 82 ensured the Pirates’ first winning season since 1992, the NL wild-card leaders added a series-clinching victory.
Pittsburgh scored three runs with four consecutive two-out hits in the fifth off rookie Martin Perez (9-4), who had won his previous six starts.
Dodgers trump Diamondbacks
LOS ANGELES — Pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Van Slyke lined the homer off Josh Collmenter (4-3) into the lower left field seats, scoring Mark Ellis who singled just ahead of Van Slyke.
It was the Dodgers’ fifth consecutive win over the D-backs. They hit six homers, including three by Juan Uribe, in winning the series opener on Monday.
Chris Withrow (1-0) got the victory, striking out four in 1 1-3 innings.
NATIONALS 6, METS 3
NEW YORK — Jayson Werth kept up his power surge with a home run and two doubles, leading the charging Nationals to their fourth straight win.
The Nationals have won six of seven, and have 18 games left this season. They closed within six games of Cincinnati for the final NL wild-card spot.
Jordan Zimmermann wound up with his NL-leading 17th victory and Rafael Soriano closed for his 40th save as Washington tries to make a late run to the postseason.
ROCKIES 9, GIANTS 8
SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Cuddyer hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the ninth inning to go with his three-run shot, and the Rockies rallied from an early six-run deficit to beat the Giants.
Cuddyer sent a 3-2 pitch from Sergio Romo into the left-center seats for his 20th homer of the season, 10th career multihomer game and second this year. He also connected in Colorado’s five-run fifth to spark the comeback.
Hunter Pence produced some impressive slugging himself, hitting a three-run homer in the first, an RBI double in the fourth and a tying, two-run single in the eighth against winner Wilton Lopez (3-4).
Pence matched his career high with six RBIs.
Sergio Romo (4-7) gave up Cuddyer’s go-ahead homer.
BRAVES 4, MARLINS 3
MIAMI — Julio Teheran, working on 10 days’ rest, overcame a rough first inning and pitched into the seventh to help the Braves beat the Marlins.
Teheran (12-7) gave up three runs in the first, then none after that, and he left with a 4-3 lead. Craig Kimbrel pitched around a one-out double by Placido Polanco in the ninth for his major league-leading 46th save in 49 chances.
Atlanta went 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position, but Evan Gattis had his third straight two-RBI game.
CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 2
ST. LOUIS — Matt Holliday’s two-run home run in the sixth inning stunned Wily Peralta with the Cardinals’ first hit and rookie Shelby Miller blanked the Brewers into the seventh inning.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams added RBIs in the seventh and eighth for the NL Central leaders.
The 22-year-old Miller (13-9) emphasized more off-speed deliveries to keep the pitch count down and allowed five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 6 2-3 innings.
CUBS 9, REDS 1
CINCINNATI — Welington Castillo drove in three runs with two home runs, Donnie Murphy added a two-run shot and even pitcher Edwin Jackson connected as the Cubs rolled to a victory over the suddenly punchless Reds on Tuesday night.
Jackson (8-15) hit his second career home run in the seventh inning on his way to his first win in seven starts since July 31.
PADRES 8, PHILLIES 2
PHILADELPHIA — Jedd Gyorko and Chase Headley each had three hits to back Andrew Cashner’s strong pitching in the Padres’ victory over the Phillies.
Gyorko, who entered in a 3-for-28 slide, scored three runs and drove in another. Headley added two RBIs for the Padres, who have won four straight and six of seven.