CHICAGO — Clay Buchholz figures a slump will come his way at some point so he’ll enjoy this run while it lasts.
Buchholz pitched five-hit ball over seven innings to improve to 7-0, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox 6-2 Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
David Ortiz delivered a two-run single in the first off Hector Santiago (1-3) and stole third for the first time in his career. Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits, walked twice and made a big catch in center field to back Buchholz and help the Red Sox come away with their sixth win in eight games.
They’re now 9-1 with Buchholz starting, and he’s gone at least six innings each time out.
“You’re going to take your lumps and bumps in the road,” he said.
But it’s been a smooth ride so far for him, although he got some help from his defense in this one.
Jonny Gomes made a sliding catch on Paul Konerko’s line drive to left with two on to end the first, and Ellsbury raced to the center-field warning track to snag Alexei Ramirez’s liner with a runner on and two out in the fifth to preserve a 2-1 lead.
Boston added to it in the eighth when Will Middlebrooks hit a sacrifice fly to right off Nate Jones after the Red Sox loaded the bases against Brian Omogrosso in the eighth, and Mike Napoli scored on a passed ball by Tyler Flowers to make it 4-1. The Red Sox scored two more in the ninth to put this one away.
Even so, Konerko was feeling pretty good about how the White Sox played in this series.
“It’s good for our record, but I think it should be good for our confidence that we belong on the same field as some of these teams,” he said. “I don’t think we doubt that anyway, but it reinforces it.”
Buchholz allowed just one run while lowering his American League-leading ERA to 1.73. He also matched the best start by a Boston pitcher since Josh Beckett in 2007 and joined Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore and Arizona’s Patrick Corbin as the only unbeaten pitchers in the majors with seven or more wins.
“I thought tonight, still, he had very good stuff,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s still pitching in the low to mid-90s with his fastball. The biggest thing is you never can sit on any one pitch in any given count.”
The only run Buchholz allowed came on an RBI groundout in the third by Alex Rios, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 with a single in the sixth.
The White Sox also got a solo homer from Konerko off Andrew Bailey. Otherwise, the White Sox couldn’t get the big hit. They were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position after doing all their scoring with two outs while winning the previous two games 6-4 and 3-1.
Santiago wasn’t quite as dominant after Jose Quintana took a no-hitter into the seventh the previous night, but he gave the White Sox exactly what they needed.
He settled down after the shaky start and threw six solid innings for the White Sox with Chris Sale scratched because of mild tendinitis in his left shoulder. The left-hander allowed two runs and three hits, struck out nine and walked four pitching on three days’ rest in what might be his last start for a while.
That’s because he or Dylan Axelrod could be headed to the bullpen with John Danks expected to return from his shoulder injury.
“It’s tough, but that’s part of being in baseball,” manager Robin Ventura said. “We have to figure out what’s best for us, so we’ll figure that out on Friday.”
BLUE JAYS 4, RAYS 3
TORONTO — Jose Bautista homered twice and drove in the winning run with a 10th-inning single, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
Bautista went 4 for 4 with a walk and four RBIs. Three other players had one hit, but that was it for Toronto’s offense.
Facing Cesar Ramos (1-1), Colby Rasmus reached on an infield single to begin the 10th. Rasmus moved to second on Emilio Bonifacio’s sacrifice, then took third on Munenori Kawasaki’s grounder. Pinch hitter Mark DeRosa walked and Kyle Farnsworth came on to face Bautista, who singled into shallow right for the Blue Jays’ first game-ending hit of the season.
Aaron Loup (2-3) pitched one inning for the win as Toronto took two of three to win a series against Tampa Bay for the first time since August 2010. The Rays had won their past 15 series against the Blue Jays.
The teams were tied at 2 before Tampa Bay got a run in the ninth. Evan Longoria hit a one-out double off closer Casey Janssen, extending his hitting streak to 16 games. James Loney followed with an RBI single.
But Fernando Rodney couldn’t nail down the save, yielding a leadoff home run to Bautista in the bottom half.
ORIOLES 6, YANKEES 3
BALTIMORE — Chris Davis went 4 for 4, including his AL-leading 14th homer, and Baltimore got a three-run shot from Matt Wieters in a victory over New York.
Nick Markakis added a solo home run for the Orioles, who took two of three from New York to pull within three games of the first-place Yankees in the AL East.
Curtis Granderson homered, doubled and singled for New York. Needing a triple to reach the cycle, he drew a walk in the seventh inning.
David Adams hit a ninth-inning homer for the Yankees, his second in three games. The teams combined for 13 home runs in the series, including five in the finale.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda left in the third with a bruised right calf, one inning after he was struck in the leg by a line drive off the bat of Manny Machado. Kuroda (6-3) allowed five runs and eight hits in two-plus innings.
Jason Hammel (6-2) gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings to even his lifetime record against the Yankees to 3-3. After Kuroda retired the first two batters he faced, Markakis homered. Adam Jones followed with a single and Davis hit a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center.
RANGERS 3, ATHLETICS 1
ARLINGTON, Texas — David Murphy and Adrian Beltre homered in a three-run first inning, Ross Wolf was strong in his first major league start and Texas avoided a sweep with a victory against Oakland.
The 30-year-old Wolf was making his first big league appearance since Oct. 1, 2010, as a reliever with Oakland. He retired the first nine hitters and gave up one run with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings.
Neal Cotts preserved Wolf’s lead by striking out the side with no outs and two runners on in the sixth. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for this 14th save.
Jarrod Parker (2-6) was down 3-0 just four batters into the game, but went seven innings.
Parker retired 11 of the next 12 Rangers after falling behind 3-0 and allowed six hits and five strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
ANGELS 7, MARINERS 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. — C.J. Wilson struck out 10 in eight innings, Josh Hamilton had a two-run single and Los Angeles handed Seattle its season-worst sixth straight loss.
Wilson (4-3) allowed a run and six hits in his longest outing since June 8, 2012, when he also went eight innings in a 7-2 interleague victory at Colorado. The left-hander won for the first time since May 1 at Oakland after losing his previous three starts, including back-to-back 3-0 decisions against Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.
Seattle rookie Brandon Maurer (2-6) made his first major league start near his hometown of Newport Beach, and it was a disaster. The right-hander, who played his high school ball a few miles away from Angel Stadium, gave up seven runs and 11 hits in three innings.
ASTROS 3, ROYALS 1
HOUSTON — J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer off James Shields, Jordan Lyles pitched six effective innings and Houston beat Kansas City.
Lyles (2-1) allowed one run and six hits in his 50th career game. Travis Blackley and Hector Ambriz each got three outs before Jose Veras pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save one night after the bullpen struggled in a 7-3 loss.
Houston took two of three from Kansas City for its fourth series win this season.
Shields (2-5) struck out seven in seven innings while yielding two runs and seven hits. He has gone seven or more innings in each of his last six starts, but hasn’t won since April 30 due in part to his offense providing him with just five runs combined in his last four starts.
TIGERS 11, INDIANS 7
CLEVELAND — Justin Verlander overcame a rocky start and rain delay to get his fifth win and Miguel Cabrera hit another homer as the Detroit Tigers beat Cleveland, sweeping the two-game series between the AL Central’s top teams.
Verlander (5-4) was two outs from qualifying for a victory, when the game was stopped with the Tigers leading 9-5 in the fifth. The right-hander came back after the weather break and finished the inning to get the win, ending a run of five straight victories by the Indians over former Cy Young winners.
The game was delayed 62 minutes by rain in the fifth and another 48 minutes in the eighth.
Victor Martinez hit two sacrifice flies off Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3).
Cabrera connected for a two-run homer in the eighth, his fifth in three games and 13th this season. The shot was helped over the wall by center fielder Michael Bourn, who ran back to the warning track and was in position to make the catch but had the ball bounce out of his glove and into the stands.
DODGERS 9, BREWERS 2
MILWAUKEE — Dodgers manager Don Mattingly criticized his team and benched All-Star right fielder Andre Ethier, then watched Los Angeles beat the Brewers 9-2.
Mattingly, in the third and final year of his contract, discussed his club’s lack of mental toughness and said he wanted a balanced team that has grit and fight. He benched Ethier for the third time in six games and said he was “putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest.”
Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke had two RBIs apiece and Ramon Hernandez hit his first home run with the Dodgers, who took two of three from the Brewers but remain in last place in the NL West. Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2) allowed two runs and six hits in a season-high 7 1-3 innings.
Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (3-5) gave up six runs — four earned —and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings.
NATIONALS 2, GIANTS 1, 10 INNINGS
SAN FRANCISCO— Ian Desmond singled in Bryce Harper in the 10th inning, helping Washington avoid a three-game series sweep.
Harper hit his 12th homer in the sixth and sparked the winning rally with a one-out double. Ryan Zimmerman was walked intentionally before Desmond came up with his big hit against Jeremy Affeldt (1-1).
Tyler Clippard (3-1) pitched a perfect 10th for the win and Rafael Soriano got three outs for his 14th save. He failed to convert each of his last two chances, including Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss.
Buster Posey hit a tying RBI single for San Francisco in the eighth. Marco Scutaro went 0 for 3 with two walks, ending his 19-game hitting streak. He flew out to deep left to end the game.
ROCKIES 4, DIAMONDBACKS 1
DENVER — Carlos Gonzalez homered and drove in two runs, Jorge De La Rosa pitched effectively into the sixth and the Rockies took two of three from the Diamondbacks.
Dexter Fowler had two hits in his first start in the cleanup spot and Nolan Arenado added an RBI double as the Rockies caught the Diamondbacks in the standings. Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco are now tied atop the NL West with 26-21 records.
De La Rosa (6-3) allowed a run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. Edgmer Escalona and Matt Belisle bottled up Arizona to get the ball to Rex Brothers, who closed the ninth with Rafael Betancourt sidelined by a groin injury. It was Brothers’ first save of the season.
Arizona right-hander Trevor Cahill (3-5) was charged with four runs and seven hits in six innings.
CARDINALS 5, PADRES 3
SAN DIEGO — Tyler Lyons pitched seven solid innings in his major league debut on the same day St. Louis lost Jaime Garcia for the season.
Lyons, who was promoted from Triple-A Memphis after Garcia went on the disabled list, allowed one run and four hits. The 25-year-old left-hander was a ninth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Oklahoma State.
The Cardinals announced before that game that Garcia will have season-ending shoulder surgery this week. The lefty went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts this year, helping St. Louis bolt to the majors’ best record at 30-16.
Yadier Molina had four hits and Carlos Beltran finished with three as the Cardinals took two of three from the Padres.
San Diego rookie Burch Smith (0-1) failed to record an out in the second inning for the second time in three major league starts. The right-hander struggled with his command, walking three before he was lifted with no outs in the second.
REDS 7, METS 4
NEW YORK— Brandon Phillips bounced a bizarre double over first base to snap a ninth-inning tie, and the Reds completed a three-game sweep.
Joey Votto homered and Zack Cozart had a career-high four hits, all off Matt Harvey, in a game that featured a little bit of everything — including a testy exchange in the dugout between Cincinnati starter Mat Latos and teammate Jay Bruce.
Still, the Reds regrouped and won for the 10th time in 12 games. They finished a 7-2 trip against the bottom three teams in the NL East, moving a season-best 11 games over .500 at 29-18.
Daniel Murphy had three hits and two RBIs in the leadoff spot for New York. Bobby Parnell (4-1) got the loss.
Alfredo Simon (4-1) worked the eighth for the win, and Aroldis Chapman got three outs for his 10th save in 12 tries.
Latos and Bruce had an animated argument in the dugout after the fifth inning. Latos wouldn’t comment on the exchange, and Bruce called it a “non-issue.”
PHILLIES 3, MARLINS 0
MIAMI — Cliff Lee pitched a three-hitter for his 12th career shutout and Delmon Young homered for the second straight game for Philadelphia.
Lee (5-2) struck out five, walked two and hit a batter in his first shutout since Sept. 5, 2011. The Marlins were blanked for the ninth time this season.
Lee also helped himself by getting two hits.
Young hit a solo home run off Kevin Slowey (1-5) in the fourth. It was Young’s third homer, including a drive off Miami’s Jose Fernandez on Tuesday night.
Slowey exited before the sixth inning with a strained left lat muscle. The Marlins said he was day to day.
Philadelphia scored twice off Wade LeBlanc with two outs in the sixth.
PIRATES 1, CUBS 0
PITTSBURGH — Francisco Liriano continued his torrid start, scattering two hits over seven innings to help Pittsburgh to the win.
Liriano (3-0) struck out nine and walked one to remain unbeaten since making his season debut against the New York Mets two weeks ago. Mark Melancon survived a bumpy ninth inning for his first save of the season.
Andrew McCutchen doubled twice for the Pirates and scored the game’s only run on a single by Garrett Jones in the first. Pittsburgh has won 10 of 12 to move 10 games over .500 (28-18).
Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (2-6) nearly matched Liriano pitch for pitch, giving up just three hits in seven innings, but received no help. The Cubs have dropped four of five.
BRAVES 8, TWINS 3
ATLANTA — Evan Gattis kept up an amazing rookie season with his first grand slam, and Atlanta finished off a sweep of woeful Minnesota.
B.J. Upton and Ramiro Pena also homered as the Braves stretched their winning streak to six games with a second straight series sweep, making things easy for starter Paul Maholm (6-4). The left-hander held the Twins to an unearned run in 7 1-3 innings.
With the Braves already leading 4-0, Gattis struck again less than 24 hours after his two-out, pinch homer in the ninth allowed the Braves to pull out a 5-4 win over the Twins in extra innings.
He was swinging away on a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded in the fourth and launched an opposite-field drive just inside the right-field pole for the 10th homer of his improbable debut season.
Vance Worley (1-5) had another dismal outing for Minnesota, failing to make it through the fourth as the Twins lost their eighth in a row. He surrendered eight runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings, and was demoted to Triple-A Rochester after the gam