The Boston Red Sox have been successful despite a mountain of injuries and a sub-par pitching staff. Today, in their series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays, they relied on one of their replacements and their only consistent pitcher, riding the momentum train started on Saturday by Jed Lowrie’s game winner.

On paper, the team has one of the better pitching rotations in baseball. But currently they only have one efficient pitcher, Clay Buchholz, whom they have been close to trading multiple times over the years.

And, with his play this season exemplified in his start against Toronto, he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. He entered with the best earned run average in the American League, and he only lowered it with another brilliant outing.

The 26-year-old right-hander worked out of a first and third, one-out jam in the opening inning, struck out the side in the second, then pitched around a one-out walk in the third to strike out two more.

He allowed some hits, issued a few walks, but was as crisp as he has been all year long, and especially all month long. He hadn’t allowed a run in his previous two starts, blanking the Angels over seven innings and these same Blue Jays over eight. Total in the month of August, he had relinquished just four earned runs in 30 1/3 innings.

That earned run total remained the same following Sunday’s performance, as Toronto was once again blanked by Buchholz, this time over six sparkling innings in which seven Jays were struck out.

Buchholz wasn’t given any support in the first four innings, as Shaun Marcum matched him zero for zero. Buchholz ran into some trouble over the course of his outing, but he wouldn’t allow that big hit. Marcum, however, eventually succumbed to the opposition.

Buchholz had just thrown his 22nd consecutive inning without an earned run when David Ortiz strode to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning to face Marcum. Ortiz took a changeup for a strike then turned on a curve that hung in the zone, stinging it into the left-center gap. Center fielder Vernon Wells was shaded over to right-field, playing Ortiz to pull, and could not cover enough ground to snag Ortiz’s liner, which resulted in a triple.

Adrian Beltre, Boston’s top RBI-man and one of the better overall hitters in the American League this year, wasted no time in scoring the game’s first run, lacing a double down the left-field line to plate Ortiz.

Marcum collected himself to retire Mike Lowell, who will retire after the season, and the aforementioned Lowrie, but then had to face Hall.

Hall, 30, played his first seven-plus seasons in Milwaukee, becoming a very well-liked player there. He was versatile, with the ability to play all three outfield positions as well second base, third base, and shortstop. His best season average-wise came in 2005, when he hit .291 with a .342 on-base percentage, and his best all-around season was in 2006, when he socked 35 homers, drove in 85 runs, and scored 101 runs.

From there, though, it was all downhill. He lost his ability to hit and increased his ability to strike out, and his struggles to carry a batting average above .250 and an on-base percentage above .300 led him to Seattle, where he mustered only 24 hits in 104 at-bats.

Still, despite a poor bat, his relative youth, great character, and versatility found him a home in Boston on a one-year contract. His average is nothing to jump up and down about, but his overall statistics are very satisfactory.

He entered the game with 15 homers, a solid amount for someone with his recent history, and especially so for a utilityman. And he ended with 16, a majestic drive that flew over the Green Monster in left and completely out of Fenway Park. A two-run homer, giving Buchholz and the bullpen all the support they needed.

Two insurance runs were scored in the eighth in run-scoring singles by Victor Martinez and Ortiz, but it was the six shutout innings tossed by Buchholz—which resulted in a 14th victory and lowered his ERA to 2.26—and Hall’s timely longball that propelled Boston to their fourth victory in their last six games.

Buchholz has been stellar all year, as have the replacements, including Hall, who was the latest unsung hero for a team remarkably still in the playoff hunt.

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