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Farrell sees a more mature Buchholz getting similar results.“Pretty similar [to 2013],” Farrell said.

“Any time you talk about a guy that’s going to go seven, eight innings every time out with low runs allowed, it’s a very similar run.”Of note has been Buchholz’s ability to make a big pitch at the right time.

Buchholz then got Colby Rasmus on three pitches, the last a changeup on the outer half.

Three came with runners on base, two of them in the second with a man in scoring position.

Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena led off that frame with a bloop double and moved to third on a productive out to the right side.

The true leader of an up-and-down rotation, Buchholz was well aware of his skipper’s desire.“First thing in my mind coming out today was to get as deep into the game as I could,” said Buchholz, who has won four straight starts while posting an ERA of 0.87 and eating up 31 of 36 possible innings. You have to have a lot of things go right for a complete game to happen, but I could throw just about any pitch I wanted to today. I was able to locate curveballs and throw changeups in the dirt whenever I needed swings and misses.”The two-time All-Star struck out eight and did not issue a walk for the second straight time.

He also had his eighth consecutive start without allowing a home run, no small feat against the Astros, who lead the majors by a good margin in that category.


The impressive run has reached another level in the past few weeks, but Buchholz is still 5-2 with a 1.99 record over a 10-start stretch dating back to mid-May.

Terms such as “ace” and “stopper” and “anchor” are being thrown around with greater frequency, harkening back to Buchholz’s other career peaks, such as 2010, when he fought for the ERA crown with eventual Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, and 2013, when he opened 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA before injuries surfaced.

BOSTON -- After a lengthy, wacky and often ugly loss Friday night, the Red Sox produced a July 4 win that was a marvel of efficiency.

For that, the credit goes largely to Clay Buchholz, whose roller coaster of a career is currently climbing another impressive peak.“I’ve had almost every pitch working for a good stretch now,” he said after recording his ninth career complete game in Saturday’s 6-1 win over Houston.

That was another one of Farrell’s pregame talking points, and it played out to perfection once the game began.

Five of Buchholz’s eight strikeouts Saturday ended an inning.


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