Red Sox fall to the Phillies, 11-4


The Red Sox traveled about two and a half hours up the Florida Gulf Coast to take on the Philadelphia Phillies today on the road at Clearwater. Justin Masterson, started the game for Boston while Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a Cuban pitcher signed in 2013, started for Philadelphia. Daniel Nava‘s long two run first inning home run scored Jemile Weeks who had doubled, staking the Red Sox to a quick 2-0 lead.

The early lead was gone before the inning was over. After Masterson’s three perfect innings in his last start, this seemed like the start of another good day for him, but it was not to be. After a one out single in the first, it appeared Masterson was going to get out of the inning unscathed. A two out Ryan Howard double down the right field line, scoring the Phillies’ first run, was the beginning of today’s struggles for Masterson. When Howard rode home on a deep single to right field, the game was tied at 2. Masterson’s struggles continued in the second inning, surrendering a home run to Jordan Danks, the eighth batter in the Phillies line-up.

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The Red Sox rallied in the fourth inning against ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was let down by his defense. Last year’s Spring Training star, Phillies left fielder Grady Sizemore, was unable to handle Nava’s line drive to start the inning. A well placed single by Allen Craig set the stage for the Phillies next miscue. A Garin Cecchini grounder to Howard at first base looked like it might be a double play but his throw seemed like he was aiming for the left fielder. The errant throw scored Nava, advancing Craig to second. A ground single to left field by Blake Swihart, gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. Once again, the lead did not last through the inning.

Masterson’s struggles continued in the fourth  inning. Two singles started the inning, followed by a long three run home run to #9 hitter Cord Phelps, who has seen brief major league time for Cleveland and Baltimore. This was the end of the day for Masterson who surrendered six runs on seven hits, walking two and not recording a strikeout in just 3.1 innings. Dana Eveland came on but could not easily get out of the inning, allowing another run on two hits. Wade Miley came on from the bullpen in the fifth, but his luck was no better. The Phillies poured on another three runs to make it 10-4 and the rout was on. Ryan Howard hit the third home run of the day for Philadelphia to make it 11-4 off the beleaguered Miley, who gave up his first runs of the Spring. Miley’s final line on the day: four innings, four runs and six hits allowed, walking three and striking out two.

Notes: Blake Swihart singled twice in three at-bats and drove in a run. Jeff Bianchi also chipped in with two hits. Tommy Layne pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two. Daniel Nava‘s home run and two RBI were both his first of the Spring. Though he gave up the lead, Papelbon was credited with the win. Deven Marrero made a sparkling diving stop to his right to save a run in the seventh. Marrero had also prevented the run by ranging far up the middle to cut off a ball on the previous play. Marrero’s elite defensive credentials seem to be on the money. The Phillies did not water the infield with the Red Sox sinkerballers Masterson and Miley pitching, resulting in several high choppers in the game which made fielding an adventure.

The 7-5 Red Sox try to return to the win column tomorrow against the 6-7 New York Mets. Joe Kelly (1-0, 11.57 ERA) will toe the rubber at home in Fort Myers against the Mets ace Matt Harvey(0-0, 3.86 ERA) at 1:05.

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