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BOS@MIN: Buchholz solid to earn second win of season

Boston (10-11) could not sweep its road trip, losing only the seventh and final game Sunday to the White Sox.

On Monday, the Red Sox come home for the opener of a three-game set with the A's (11-12) at just a game under .500, and in much better shape than when they left.

First pitch at Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, with right-hander Clay Buchholz going for Boston against 25-year-old lefty Tommy Milone.

"It's great to go home. It's always great to go home," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said at the conclusion of the road trip, which had seen the Sox win six in a row before Sunday. "Guys are playing their butt off. This was a tough seven days. We battled the travel, battled the weather. They're a tough group."

Boston took three games from the Twins and three more from the White Sox, taking advantage of teams with lesser expectations. The Sox were 4-10 when the trip began.

"We all are really confident in each other," outfielder Cody Ross said. "I knew it would just take a good winning streak like we had to get back where we needed to be. We're figuring ourselves, each individual guy, how we're capable of doing stuff with certain guys -- certain guys hitting and running, stealing. It's starting to come together now. We've played, what, 21 games or so, and we're starting to figure out our team. Hopefully, now we can start rolling."

The A's dropped their last two against the Orioles after they had won three straight -- two over the White Sox, as well as the series opener with Baltimore.

Oakland may have some help at third base as soon as Monday. Brandon Inge is set to join the A's, pending a physical. Turning 35 next month, Inge was released last week by the Tigers.

"It'll be good to get a fresh start with another team," Inge said last week. "I don't have any doubts. I'm a team player. I'm not selfish. I'm not going to talk bad about anyone. I'm going to go out and do my job."

A's: Milone goes late into games
Southpaw Tommy Milone (3-1, 2.00) reaches an early milestone of sorts with Monday's game: it'll be his 10th career big league start. In two of his four outings this season, he's gone eight innings, including his last time out, when he blanked the White Sox for eight innings in a 2-0 Oakland win. During that game, on Tuesday, Milone gave up just three hits and no walks while striking out five.

Milone will be on an extra day's rest this turn.

"Probably the best my arm's felt so far this year," Milone said after his last start. "Just being able to make pitches and starting hitters off with a strike, and keeping the offspeed pitches low. The changeup felt good, and getting that cutter inside was important, too."

Red Sox: Buchholz still in search of dominant start
Buchholz (2-1, 8.87) has been the winner in two of his last three starts, but he allowed five earned runs in all three of them. In his only other outing of the year, his first, he gave up seven runs.

Against the Twins in a 7-6 Boston win on Wednesday, Buchholz didn't rely any more on his changeup than he had previously, but his cutter and curve appeared strong.

"I executed pitches a lot better today than I have in the last three starts," Buchholz said. "It's been a struggle with location, command of each pitch. I had really good command of a couple of offspeed pitches tonight. I missed with one cutter [over the] middle. That was the first hit to [Ben] Revere. Other than that, I felt like the ball was coming out good. I felt like I was able to manipulate a couple of pitches. The few changeups I threw, I felt like I threw them really well. It was one of those days."

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