Entering today’s split squad games, featuring the Red Sox on the road against the Orioles and at home against the Twins, the home game certainly appeared to be the one to follow. And while that half of the squad held up their end of the bargain, winning 4-2 on the strength of an excellent outing by Clay Buchholz, the more inexperienced Red Sox also played a good game and took home a win on the road in Sarasota.
The Red Sox offense got off to a quick start, as leadoff hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. ripped a single into right field and promptly scored on a triple by Jemile Weeks. Three batters later, after Allen Craig (perhaps the lone major leaguer in the lineup) drew a walk, top prospect Blake Swihart capped the inning with a monster three-run homer to right field to give the Red Sox a 4-0 advantage before taking the field.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright received the start for the Red Sox and an unearned run on a Chris Davis single in the first was the only blemish in an otherwise solid outing as he struck out two and walked none in a two-inning outing.
After Wright exited the game, pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, who came to Boston in the Andrew Miller trade last July, received a chance to face his former team. And Rodriguez absolutely delivered on that opportunity, punching out three batters over three perfect innings.
The Red Sox would give their pitching staff a bit more support in the top of the fourth, when outfielder Bryce Brentz homered to right field. However, the Orioles would soon make the game close again, picking up a pair of runs in the sixth inning against southpaw Edwin Escobar.
Boston took those runs right back in the top of the seventh, though, putting together a two-out rally. Though non-roster invitee Jeff Bianchi walked to start the inning, the Red Sox wouldn’t put together anything concrete until Allen Craig doubled to put the Red Sox on top 6-3. Craig would then score himself as another non-roster invitee, Bryan LaHair, pulled a single into right field to give the Red Sox another run.
The Red Sox got a pair of scoreless innings from Escobar and Zeke Spruill before turning the ball over to Dalier Hinojosa for the ninth inning. Unfortunately, Hinojosa had a bit of trouble escaping the inning, allowing two base runners before allowing a three-run homer to Dariel Alvarez, which cut Boston’s lead to 7-6. After walking Jimmy Paredes, Miguel Celestino entered the game to close things out and ultimately succeeded, inducing an easy fly ball off the bat of Rey Navarro.
The Red Sox picked up the 7-6 win and then minutes later, a 4-2 win from Fort Myers, bringing them to 2-2 in Grapefruit League competition. NESN will televise its first Red Sox game of the season tomorrow as the Red Sox take on the Mets in Port St. Lucie, with Rick Porcello scheduled to start. Stay tuned to all the news from Red Sox spring training at BoSox Injection!