A few hours later, the Red Sox looked very smart for hanging on to Atchison. On a night Boston needed to rest closer Jonathan Papelbon and setup man Ramon Ramirez, Atchison came up large, throwing three perfect innings and striking out a career-high five in a 10-6 win vs. the Dodgers.
Yes, a career high, a member of the media informed Atchison.
"I don't know," said Atchison. "I guess it is. I don't know that I'm necessarily a strikeout pitcher. I'll get my strikeouts here and there. Some nights they happen. I don't really try, I guess, to strike guys out. I'm trying to attack the zone. Tonight was just one of those nights where it happened to work out."
It is the second time in the last week Atchison has been vital to a Boston victory. When Daisuke Matsuzaka was scratched just moments before his start last Saturday against the Phillies, it was Atchison who filled in on short notice, pitching three innings and allowing two runs.
"The way Atch pitched was exactly what we needed to win that game," said manager Terry Francona. "He did a great job. I think that start the other day ended up being really good for him. He was able to get stretched out and use all his pitches, [and] then he had some down time. His ball was as crisp as we've seen."
Atchison has pitched 11 times for the Red Sox this season, posting a 4.05 ERA.
"I felt really good the other day in the start, too," Atchison said. "I felt like I made some good pitches. Guys hit a couple of pitches for base hits in that game, scored a couple runs, but I really felt like from there I shut it down after that. Then I felt good tonight. Hopefully we can just keep building on that."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.