Clay Buchholz pitched like the ace the Red Sox hope he can be on Saturday against the Twins, twirling three hitless innings against the Minnesota Twins, leading a dominant Red Sox staff to victory. Buchholz notably gave each of the starting rotation shirts saying “He’s The Ace” to wear when they are not pitching and “I am the Ace” on days that they are starting. As senior member of the Red Sox starting rotation, Buchholz walked one and struck out four, earning a win in his second outing of Spring Training, but first against a major league team. His inconsistency throughout his career has prevented his assumption of the ace role, but more outings like the one Saturday might quiet persistent rumors about the Red Sox trading for Cole Hamels to become the Red Sox so-called ace.
Dustin Pedroia continued his hot Spring start with another two hits in three at-bats. David Ortiz recorded his first RBI of the season, singling in Mookie Betts who had reached on an error. Betts scored again later after tripling on a ball to left field. His aggressive baserunning to reach third in a ball hit to left may be a sign of success to come this season. The story for this game’s offensive attack was squandering opportunities. Six for 20 is a .300 batting average with runners in scoring position, but it indicates a wealth of missed chances. The Red Sox notched 16 hits, but only managed four runs, despite also getting three walks on the day. Hanley Ramirez and Mike Napoli, each singled twice in three trips to the plate.
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The Red Sox pitchers actually had a no-hitter going until the seventh, when lefty Dana Eveland allowed two hits and an unearned run, his second straight appearance with an unearned run. Minor league hopeful Noe Ramirez was the only other Red Sox pitcher to surrender a hit, allowing a run on a single and booming double off the high wall in left field. Ramirez managed to secure the last out for the save and Red Sox win. Ex-Cardinal Mitchell Boggs may have had the most impressive relief inning of the day, striking out two in his perfect inning. The Red Sox staff allowed only one earned run on four hits and two walks for the game.