BALTIMORE -- The Boston Red Sox, and Clay Buccholz in particular, put on a good show for three members of the team ownership committee who ventured to Camden Yards to get a firsthand look at their struggling ballclub.
Buchholz shook off a rocky start to earn his 11th win, Dustin Pedroia singled in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
Principal owner John Henry, chairman Thomas Werner and president and CEO Larry Lucchino were all in attendance following a rough stretch in which Boston lost six of eight to bring up questions surrounding the job security of first-year manager Bobby Valentine.
The trio visited the clubhouse before the game and showed up again afterward.
"They said they were bringing us luck," Valentine said. "After we started [behind] 2-0, I was looking for an early flight home."
After giving up three runs and six hits over the first two innings, Buchholz (11-3) kept the Orioles at bay while the Red Sox rebounded from a 3-1 deficit. The right-hander ended up allowing three runs, eight hits and three walks over eight innings. He struck out seven.
"He brought the competitive spirit to a new level tonight," Valentine said. "They were jumping on his early pitches, he got down early. But when he saw we had some resiliency in our offense, he shut the door. He shut it quick."
Buchholz was delighted to
"They are the ones that put the team together," he said. "It was good to see those guys here. It added motivation. They’ve got busy lives, so they could have been somewhere else. Instead, they were here showing us they were behind us and supporting us."
Alfredo Aceves worked a perfect ninth for his 24th save.
Adrian Gonzalez had two RBIs and Cody Ross chipped in with three hits for Boston. Serving as designated hitter for the first time this season, Jacoby Ellsbury went 0 for 4 to end his 38-game hitting streak against Baltimore.
Mark Reynolds homered and Adam Jones had two RBIs for the Orioles, now 8-4 against Boston this season. Reynolds has four homers in his last six games after going 20 straight without one.
Despite the loss, Baltimore finished 7-3 on a homestand against Seattle, Kansas City and the Red Sox.
"Our guys wanted to win all 10. That’s the way we approached it," manager Buck Showalter said. "Tonight they took advantage of some of our pitching struggles."
The Red Sox took a 6-3 lead with a three-run sixth against Luis Ayala (4-4). With runners at the corners and two outs, Pedroia hit a short chopper toward third that a charging Manny Machado couldn’t handle. Gonzalez and Ross followed with run-scoring singles.
Before the game, talk in the Boston clubhouse centered around Ellsbury, a fixture in the Boston outfield playing DH for the first time since July 18, 2011. Valentine said, "The last couple days we have been concerned about a leg situation. This is just being overcautious and aware of the situation."
Ellsbury, however, said, "My leg feels good. I played the last two nights on it."