CHICAGO — It has become a tradition in baseball that the starting pitcher gets to choose the music playing in the clubhouse before the game on the day he pitches.
Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz puts some thought into what is usually an eclectic playlist. His selections on Wednesday included some of Journey’s greatest hits, a few top 40 hip-hop tunes, and even a selection from the soundtrack of the old Broadway hit “Grease.”
Buchholz brought the same variety to the mound. He threw six different pitches against the Chicago White Sox over seven innings, getting weak swings on all of them over the course of the game. The result was a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The White Sox scored one run on five hits against Buchholz. He walked three and struck out four to improve to 7-0. Buchholz has been more overpowering in some starts this season, but he never let the White Sox string hits together.
Buchholz threw a four-seam fastball, a sinking two-seam fastball, a cutter, a split-finger fastball, a changeup, and a curveball.
“The biggest thing is that no one can really sit on any one pitch in a given count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “That’s what really defines who Clay is.”
The Red Sox are 9-1 when Buchholz has started this season. He has gone at least seven innings nine times.
“When any starter is throwing the ball well and getting deep into games, good things are going to happen,” Buchholz said. “You’re going to take your lumps and bumps in the road. But it’s been fun. Hopefully, just keep on striding.”
David Ortiz was 2 for 5 with two RBIs, a run, and a historic stolen base for the Red Sox, who were 6-3 on their trip. They were two games behind the Yankees when the trip started, and they return home a half-game out.
The Red Sox start a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians and manager Terry Francona on Thursday night. It will be Francona’s first time managing at Fenway Park since the Red Sox fired him after the 2011 season.
Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 3 with two walks and a run. He got on base six times in the final two games of the series and may be working out of what has been a long slump. His on-base percentage climbed from .303 to .318.
Daniel Nava added a two-run single in the ninth inning.
Koji Uehara and Andrew Bailey pitched the final two innings for the Red Sox. It was Bailey’s first appearance since coming off the disabled list on Monday. He allowed a home run by Paul Konerko.
The White Sox scratched their ace, Chris Sale, because of shoulder tendinitis. Hector Santiago, another lefthander, started in his place.
The Red Sox did not catch much of a break with the switch. Santiago allowed two runs on three hits over six innings and struck out nine.
The Red Sox took their first lead of the series in the first inning. Jonny Gomes was hit by a pitch and went to third when Dustin Pedroia doubled to left field.
Ortiz then dropped a soft single into left field, scoring two runs.
Mike Napoli drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with one out. Nava struck out looking and Ortiz stole third without a throw. It was the first stolen base for Ortiz since June 21, 2011, and the first time in his 17-year career he stole third.
Will Middlebrooks struck out swinging to end the inning.
“I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Ortiz said about getting the steal sign. “But it happened. I don’t have a zero in that category anymore.”
Santiago was finished after 107 pitches. The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out against righthander Brian Omogrosso in the eighth inning. Ortiz and Napoli singled before Nava drew a walk.
Righthander Nate Jones replaced Omogrosso. Middlebrooks lined to right field, deep enough to score Ortiz without a play. Napoli tagged and went to third.
After Drew walked to load the bases again, a passed ball scored Napoli to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
Buchholz had an action-packed seven innings but allowed only one run. Chicago was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position against him.
Buchholz walked Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios in the first inning, but struck out Adam Dunn and got Konerko on a line drive to left on which Gomes made a diving catch.
Buchholz said the long top of the first inning affected him.
“I couldn’t really get into synch there. I felt like I threw a few good pitches and didn’t get the benefit of the call,” he said. “I battled through that one. After that, I felt pretty good.”
Tyler Flowers singled to start the third inning before Alejandro De Aza walked. When Ramirez grounded to shortstop, the Red Sox got an out at second but could not complete the double play.
Flowers went to third and scored when Rios grounded to second base. All 11 runs the White Sox scored in the series came with two outs.
Buchholz did not let another runner advance to third. Ellsbury helped that in the fifth inning when he raced back in center and stole a hit from Ramirez to end the inning and leave a runner stranded.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia helped out, too, by throwing out two runners attempting to steal. Opponents had been 19 of 20 against him.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.