SAN DIEGO — As the innings mount, Paul Clemens’ fastball diminishes.
That problem arose again Tuesday when the Boston Red Sox beat Clemens and the San Diego Padres.
“He has a precipitous drop off in velocity,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s at 94-95 (mph) in the first three innings then it’s 86-91 in the fourth and fifth.”
While the Padres scuffled the Red Sox were clicking. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Chris Young homered and Clay Buchholz pitched 6-plus solid innings.
Buchholz (6-10) was making his first start since Aug. 23 as his last three appearances came out of the bullpen. Working exclusively from the stretch, Buchholz allowed a run, eight hits and struck out six in facing the Padres for the first time.
Clemens was starting against the Red Sox for the first time as well. And at first, he looked good. Then the batters got another look at him and Clemens turned passive.
“I’ve just got to be more aggressive,” he said. “I feel like I’m right there, about to turn the corner and get into the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. But then I have a hiccup.”
Green said it’s imperative Clemens “finds the answer” to his declining velocity.
“If he can’t, then he’ll be working out of the bullpen,” Green said. “But he has the stuff.”
Clemens said it’s more about his head than his right arm.
“I think it’s mental,” he said. “I just took my foot off the pedal.”
The Red Sox lead the majors in runs but had scored just once in their past two games, both losses. Previous to that in three straight wins, they had collected 35 runs.
Neither team scored in the first three innings or in the last four. But the Red Sox notched five runs in the middle innings for their 16th win in their last 25 games.
The Padres threatened in the seventh, when Oswaldo Arcia and Luis Sardinas singled. But Buchholz struck out pinch-hitter Jon Jay and Travis Jankowski before being relieved by Matt Barnes to face Wil Myers. Barnes got Myers to expand outside the zone for another strikeout to quell the rally.
Joe Kelly, the third Red Sox reliever, pitched the ninth.
Boston chased Clemens in the fifth when he wasn’t able to record an out. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit consecutive singles, with Ramirez’s scoring Bogaerts. Young’s RBI grounder made it 5-1.
Clemens (2-5) was charged with five runs and nine hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked three in dropping his third straight start.
Ryan Schimpf snapped an 0-for-15 skid when he hit a fourth-inning homer, his 17th, to pull the Padres within 3-1.
In the fourth inning, just after pitching coach Darren Balsley paid his starter a visit, Bradley smashed a two-run homer, which scored Sandy Leon who opened the inning with a bunt single. Young extended Boston’s lead to 3-0 when he went back-to-back with Bradley, hitting his eighth homer and second in two games.
“That’s a good lineup,” Clemens said. “They don’t miss mistakes.”
Red Sox: RHP Steve Wright got a second opinion on his sore right shoulder on Tuesday, which confirmed there was no structural damage and that he is suffering from bursitis. Manager John Farrell said there’s no timetable for Wright’s return.
Padres: Activated Jay (fractured right forearm) from the 60-day DL.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (14-8, 3.92) caps the three-game series in San Diego. Price has a five-start winning streak and has allowed but eight runs in 35 innings over that span.
Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart (0-2, 5.14) has allowed one earned run or less in four of his six Padres starts since coming over in a seven-player trade with Miami in July.