September 15, 2013: Red Sox cap sweep of Yankees as Buchholz improves to 11-0

This article was written by Bill Nowlin

BuchholzClayClay Buchholz broke in with the Boston Red Sox in 2007. His best year before the 2013 season was in 2010, when he was an American League All-Star and finished with a record of 17-7 and a 2.33 earned-run average. In 2013 the 29-year-old right-hander won every one of his first six starts, going seven or more innings each time. Three no-decisions followed, but he won his next three starts, including a rain-shortened shutout of the New York Yankees on June 2, to push his record to 9-0.

Buchholz’s ninth win of 2013, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 8, was his last time on a major-league mound for three months. He reported neck stiffness, skipped a start, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 18. He had suffered an injury to his right trapezius muscle and also developed bursitis. He kept trying to come back, but the process was very slow.

After some rehab in the minors, Buchholz returned to duty and pitched five scoreless innings on September 10, picking up a win at Tampa Bay to make him 10-0 with a 1.61 ERA. On September 15 he was back at Fenway Park and ready to go against the Yankees.

In the meantime, the Red Sox had surged to an 8½-game lead in the AL East Division with 16 wins in 20 games since August 24. They were on the cusp of clinching their first division title since their World Series championship season of 2007. They had beaten New York 8-4 on Friday night, and 5-1 on Saturday afternoon. For the Sunday night game, manager John Farrell was going with Buchholz. The Yankees’ Joe Girardi had Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17) pitching. Nova had been 4-0 in his last four decisions.

Before the game the Red Sox had held an on-field ceremony to honor Mariano Rivera, a worthy adversary over the years. He had been 13-7 against the Red Sox, with a 2.86 ERA and 58 saves.1 Rivera was clearly on his way to the National Baseball Hall of Fame; after waiting the requisite five years he was elected to the Hall in 2019, the first unanimous selection in history.

The Yankees got on the board first. Leadoff batter Curtis Granderson walked. Buchholz had him picked off first but threw in the dirt to Mike Napoli and Granderson wound up on third base. As Álex Rodríguez grounded out, short to first, Granderson came home with an unearned run. After another out, left fielder Alfonso Soriano singled – the only hit of the inning – and then Lyle Overbay lined out to short.

The Red Sox responded with three runs in the bottom of the first. With one out, right fielder Daniel Nava doubled off the face of the bullpen in right. With a shift on, David Ortiz slapped a ball right through where the shortstop normally would have been and into left for a single; Nava scored.

Napoli hit a “towering” two-run homer to center field, one that disappeared behind the television camera position in the bleachers.2 It was the 22nd home run of the season for Napoli, who had homered twice, including a walk-off shot in the 11th inning when the Red Sox hosted the Yankees on a Sunday night in July. The two RBIs gave him 20 against the Yankees in 2013.

With Buchholz inducing groundball double plays to halt potential rallies in the third and fourth innings, the score remained 3-1 until the bottom of the fourth. Napoli led off with a walk. He was forced at second when catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out. A passed ball let “Salty” move up 90 feet, and then he took third on a groundout.

After a walk to third baseman Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox pulled off a delayed double steal with center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at bat. Bogaerts “took off for second, then hesitated, Catcher Chris Stewart came up throwing and Saltalamacchia scored without a play.”3 The New York Times reported that “as soon as [Stewart] made the throw, Saltalamacchia broke for home. The shortstop Brendan Ryan could not gather Stewart’s throw and both runners were safe.”4

In 587 career major-league games, it was just Saltalamacchia’s fourth stolen base – three of which had occurred since September 1.5 The Red Sox led 4-1.

Though Buchholz walked one and threw a wild pitch, there was no New York scoring in the fifth, and the Red Sox added to their lead in the bottom of the inning. Nova walked Dustin Pedroia. Nava hit a ground-rule double that hopped into the right-field seats. Ortiz was walked intentionally, loading the bases with nobody out.

On a two-strike count, Nova hit left fielder Mike Carp, forcing Pedroia across the plate. Manager Girardi replaced Nova with Adam Warren, who struck out both Napoli and Saltalamacchia and got Stephen Drew to line out. It was 5-1, Red Sox.

Buchholz set the Yankees down in order in the sixth, and his teammates produced two more runs in their half. Bogaerts, a 20-year-old rookie appearing in his 13th big-league game, doubled to the gap in right-center. After one out, Pedroia walked again. Nava singled up the middle, driving in Bogaerts. Nava finished the game 4-for-5.

César Cabral relieved Warren to pitch to David Ortiz. His first pitch was a wild pitch, allowing the runners to move up to second and third. Two pitches later, Ortiz dropped a single into center-left and Pedroia scored. Joba Chamberlain replaced Cabral and got two outs to end the inning, but now it was 7-1, Boston.6

Buchholz had thrown 91 pitches, his most in a game since his injury. Farrell turned the six-run lead over to his bullpen, starting with Matt Thornton in the seventh. After two one-out singles, Thornton got a double play and out of the inning.

The Red Sox made it four straight run-scoring innings in the bottom of the seventh. After Chamberlain got the first out, lefty Mike Zagurski replaced him, making his Yankees debut.7 Drew flied out deep to right, but Bogaerts singled to center. Zagurski hit Bradley with a pitch and Girardi called in David Phelps to pitch to Pedroia. On the seventh pitch of his at-bat, Pedroia grounded a double to the wall in left and drove in two more Red Sox runs, boosting their lead to 9-1.

Craig Breslow pitched the eighth, striking out Curtis Granderson and Vernon Wells, and then got Robinson Canó to line out to Bogaerts at third base.

Dellin Betances faced three Boston batters in the bottom of the eighth, striking out the first two and getting the third to ground out, short to first.

Red Sox rookie Allen Webster pitched the top of the ninth. With two outs around a base on balls, baserunner Mark Reynolds took second base on defensive indifference and scored when right fielder Ichiro Suzuki singled to left. That made the score 9-2. The Red Sox remained indifferent, and Ichiro took second base. On the next pitch, Brendan Ryan popped up to Pedroia at second base and the game was over.

Completing the weekend sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox closed the 2013 season with a 13-6 record against their main rivals. Boston’s lead in the division was a season-high 9½ games over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees had still been in the hunt before the weekend series, and still remained just three games back in the wild-card standings, but there were only 12 games left on the schedule. Joe Girardi said, “We stunk here. We didn’t play well here. We have options, continue to stink or play better.”8

With the win, Buchholz improved to 11-0.9 He had walked four in six innings but given up only two base hits and one unearned run. “Not as sharp as his last time out,” allowed Farrell. “But he has such an ability to manipulate the baseball and make a pitch in key spots.”10

Buchholz’s streak ended when he lost his next outing, against Toronto on September 21. He won his final game, in Baltimore on September 27, to finish 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA. He started four games in the postseason, including Game Four of the World Series, but did not have a decision in any of the four. He spent 10 seasons of his 13-year major-league career with the Red Sox, leaving Boston in 2016 with an 81-61 record and a 3.96 ERA in 206 appearances.



This article was fact-checked by Ray Danner and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com, Retrosheet.org, and two sets of highlights on YouTube.







1 There was some thought that the Red Sox may have lingered a little too much on Rivera’s blown save during Game Four of the 2004 American League Championship Series. Among other things, he was presented a painting depicting the ovation he had received at Fenway Park the first time the Yankees appeared in 2005. The Red Sox were frank about it, calling it “less of a toast and more of a roast.” The ceremony can be seen on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRKpBpeWS0Q. Derek Jeter said, “I’m sure Mariano could remind them of a few things, but I thought it was funny.” Nick Cafardo, “Rivera Has His Moments,” Boston Globe, September 16, 2013: C1.

2 Peter Abraham, “Farewell Party,” Boston Globe, September 16, 2013: C1. It was Napoli’s seventh home run of the season against the Yankees; he had hit 22 at this point in the season. In 1936 Jimmie Foxx hit eight homers against the Yankees, which remained the team record.

3 Saltalamacchia said after the game, “It’s definitely something I never thought would happen. I want to thank all the little people who made it happen. … My speed, it took over. Jackie Robinson, Ellsbury. I’m in a pretty elite category.” Peter Abraham, “Farewell Party.”

4 David Waldstein, “Yanks’ Last Crack at Red Sox Leads Only to Dull Thud,” New York Times, September 16, 2013: D1.

5 In 895 career ballgames, Saltalamacchia stole only five bases. Four of them were in 2013, the other in 2011. The four in 2013 were all in a cluster – on September 1, 12, 15, and 17.  The first two were steals of second; the one on September 17 was a steal of third base. He was caught stealing seven times, though just once in 2013, on April 15. As a catcher, he threw out 150 batters, though 536 successfully stole on him (and the pitcher at the time).

6 The third and final out was a strikeout of Mike Napoli, who was ejected for arguing the call by umpire Ron Kulpa. In striking out for the 178th time in the season, Napoli had broken the team record previously held by Mark Bellhorn in 2004. Napoli finished the year with 187 strikeouts, but with 92 RBIs.

7 In fact, it was the only game in which Zagurski ever appeared for the Yankees, though he appeared in 90 games for other teams over the years.

8 Waldstein. The Yankees split their final 12 games and finished third in the AL East, missing the postseason for only the second time since 1995.

9 The last time a Red Sox pitcher had enjoyed that dramatic a won-lost record was in 1986, when Roger Clemens started 14-0.

10 Abraham.

Additional Stats

Boston Red Sox 9
New York Yankees 2

Fenway Park
Boston, MA


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