The usual story lines early in Spring Training are that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters. It may have held true in the Red Sox first two warm up games against Boston College an Northeastern in which they managed only three runs, but in tonight’s game, the Red Sox swung the bat like fans hope they will during the season.
After starter Joe Kelly could not get out of the second inning, allowing four runs on seven hits in just an inning and two-thirds, the Red Sox were in an early 4-1 hole. Despite the absence of David Ortiz, the Red Sox offense had no trouble producing. Xander Bogaerts clubbed the Red Sox first homer of the Spring, knocking in Christian Vazquez who had singled. Dustin Pedroia hammered his first extra base hit of the Spring, doubling, then coming home on a Mike Napoli single. In the bottom of the third, the Twins came right back. A poor throw by Bogaerts which Napoli could not scoop out of the dirt, which was magnanimously scored a hit, was followed by a homer off Alexi Ogando to put the Twins back ahead 6-4. The Red Sox came back in the top of the fourth with a grand slam home run by Pedroia, to make it 8-6. In three at-bats on the night, Pedroia singled, doubled and scored.
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This game was marked by pitcher-catcher crossups, passed balls, throwing errors, baserunning miscues which should be expected in the first game of Spring Training. Red Sox rookie Brian Johnson did not allow a ball out of the infield but allowed a run on a walk, passed ball, ground out and his own throwing error in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 9-8, which saddled him with the loss. The Red Sox managed just three singles over the last five innings. Keeping with the sloppy theme, Red Sox pinch runner, minor leaguer Matty Johnson, was picked off first for the last out of the game.
Matt Barnes looked the best of any pitcher, hitting 97 on the radar gun. Barnes allowed just one hit while striking out three in his two innings of work. Allen Craig‘s supposed resurgence has started slowly. Craig struck out twice, leaving three runners on base in an 0-4 night. Despite running into an out on the bases, Jackie Bradley Jr. looked solid at the plate, with a booming double and a single in three at-bats.
The Red Sox make their Spring Training home debut at Jet Blue Park tomorrow against the Miami Marlins at 1:05 p.m. Stay tuned to BoSoxInjection.com for all your Spring Training game recaps.