BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz turned in his fifth straight quality start, an eight-inning gem, to lift the recently reeling Red Sox to a 1-0 victory over the Twins in the opener of a four-game series on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
With the Boston bats continuing to struggle, Buchholz needed to be brilliant, and he was, giving up three hits while walking two and striking out eight.
"Yeah, an outstanding performance by Clay tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Particularly on the heels of him probably being a little bit under the weather the last couple of days. He gave us everything he had and a timely, very good performance."
Mike Pelfrey matched Buchholz for most of the night, but Rusney Castillo broke the scoreless tie with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
Koji Uehara's 11th save sealed a much-needed win for the Red Sox after a 1-6 road trip.
"Much-needed. Probably the biggest win of the year, coming off a tough road trip, starting off the homestand on a positive note," said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. "Tomorrow we have two games. Just come in here with the same exact plan, ready to go tomorrow again."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Castillo comes up clutch: Castillo has been pretty quiet with the bat since coming up from Triple-A Pawtucket on May 22, but he provided the big hit in this one.
"I thought it was a good at-bat for me, especially given the situation in the game," said Castillo. "I was able to drive in the go-ahead run after some tough at-bats prior to that. I'm just happy I was able to drive in the run to win the game."
In the top of the eighth, Castillo also made a nice catch at the wall in front of Boston's bullpen in right field on what could have been a game-tying homer by Aaron Hicks. More >
Pelfrey undone by late mistake: Needing just one more out to complete a seventh scoreless inning, Pelfrey left an 0-2 splitter high and over the plate to Bogaerts, who hit it off the wall in center field for a double. Bogaerts went on to score the lone run of the game, hanging Pelfrey with a tough-luck loss in what was otherwise an impressive outing. The right-hander finished allowing six hits and two walks in seven innings of work.
"It was probably the most frustrating part of the whole game," Pelfrey said. "0-2, two outs, nobody on [base]. I throw a split belt-high down the middle." More >
Buchholz on a roll: Don't let Buchholz's 3-6 record fool you. The righty has been superb of late, posting a 1.47 ERA over his last four starts. In this one, he threw only 92 pitches over eight innings.
"Every game is big from here on out," said Buchholz. "Obviously we haven't played up to the caliber of players we have on this team. The bar is set pretty high for this club. There's nobody in this clubhouse that doesn't expect that. I don't think anybody would want it any other way. We're going to try and get on a roll after today. We're moving on into a doubleheader tomorrow, so hopefully we can get on track." More >
Dozier does it on defense: Pelfrey held the Red Sox scoreless for the first six innings, but not without some excellent glovework from Brian Dozier. In the sixth, the second baseman flashed excellent range when he fielded a David Ortiz chopper up the middle and began a key double play that ended a scoring threat. He also capped off the fourth inning by making a full-extension dive, then throwing from deep in the hole at second for the out.
"With David up there, you got the double-play ball. Dozier made a really nice play -- a lot of good plays, defensively," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. More >
"You know, this is a tremendous coaching staff. I think every player here feels lucky to have this set of coaches. So there's no issue with them. No issue with the players, no issue with coaches. The issue has been with the production on the field, and that's either going to change or this is going to be a terrible year." -- Red Sox owner John Henry More >
"Usually I have a hard time sleeping after games. Being 0-2, two outs, hanging a [splitter] is going to kind of eat at me. I might have to take something to go to sleep so I can get up early tomorrow." -- Pelfrey, on allowing Bogaerts' seventh-inning double
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Right-hander Phil Hughes (4-4, 4.59 ERA) starts Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday, with first pitch set for 12:35 p.m. CT, and faces Boston for the second game in a row after giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings last Wednesday. Despite a high ERA, Hughes sports an exceptional 6.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season. Righty Trevor May takes the hill in Game 2 at 6:10.
Red Sox: Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second Major League start, and first at Fenway, in Game 1 at 1:35 p.m. ET. Right-hander Rick Porcello (4-4, 5.37 ERA) draws the assignment in Game 2 at 7:10.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.