The Red Sox spring winning streak extends to three games after another fine pitching performance today against the Twins. This was Clay Buchholz‘s spring debut after he hurt his hamstring on the first drill of spring training, and while he wasn’t overly sharp, he got the job done. Buchholz went 1.1 innings, allowing a hit while striking out two and walking two. Buchholz stated in an interview that he was pleased with his performance even though his control wasn’t in tip-top shape.
The Red Sox got half of their offense with one out in the second inning. That was when J.C. Linares went yard off Twins’ prospect Kyle Gibson. Linares added on to what’s been a very strong spring so far for the 27 year old outfielder, as he has batted .429/.467/.643 in 15 plate appearances so far. Shortly after Buchholz got that little offensive boost, he was relieved by Alfredo Aceves, who went on to post a very strong outing.
It was vintage Aceves in Ft. Myers today as the swingman went 3.2 innings out of the bullpen in his last appearance before leaving to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. In those 3.2 innings, he allowed five hits and struck out three, with his only real mistake being a fourth inning home run surrendered to Justin Morneau.
Aceves would wind up being the winner after receiving some run support on a fifth inning rally. Twins reliever Esmerling Vazquez’s control escaped him when he walked back-to-back men. Those walks came back to haunt him when Ryan Sweeney blooped a single over second baseman Jamey Carroll‘s head to score Jonathan Diaz from second base.
There was excellent pitching even after the departure of Aceves due in part to an impeccable appearance by prospect Allen Webster. Webster went three full innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out two and allowing no runs, leaving Webster with a 1.80 ERA and 6 strikeouts in 5 innings this spring. Jose de la Torre came in to pitch a perfect ninth inning in his last game before leaving to pitch for Puerto Rico in the WBC. This win pushes the Red Sox over the .500 mark for the first time this spring at 5-4.