The Sox and the Jays were locked in a classic pitcher’s duel with a combined six hits and one run between the two teams. The temperamental Alfredo Aceves had a solid five innings of work, striking out five and only allowing four base runners (two hits, two walks). The Blue Jay’s J.A Happ was equally impressive, going six complete innings and allowing only 2 hits. Jose De la Torre, fresh off his run with the Puerto Rican WBC team that finished runner-up, relieved Aceves. Reminiscent of his dominant effort in the WBC (12 K’s, 1 BB, in 5 2/3 innings), de la Torre struck out two in his two scoreless innings of work.
Naturally, the Sox failed to reward the strong pitching performances by once again surrendering the lead late. JD Durbin gave up back-to-back singles to start off the eighth. After two quick outs, third baseman Drew Sutton, who has had his share if mistakes in the field this spring, misplayed what should have been the final out of the inning, and allowed the go-ahead and eventual winning run to score.
Offensively, it was a quiet day for the Sox bats, with only two hits for the afternoon. Unsurprisingly, Jackie Bradley Jr. provided one of the few sparks, when he hit a double in the first inning off Jays’ starter JA Happ. Other than that, the bats never really woke up, striking out eight times and failing to push off a run.
It should be noted that Bradley Jr. spent his first time this spring in left field, a possible foreshadowing of things to come. Bradley Jr., a natural center fielder, has a shot to make the Opening Day roster in left with Jonny Gomes likely filling David Ortiz‘s DH role.
Saturday afternoon offers up some baseball to combat the current basketball frenzy, with Clay Buchholz scheduled to start against the Pirates at 1:35 p.m. EST.