Renewing their interleague rivalry a bit early, the Red Sox and Braves squared off in Fort Myers on Friday with a tight game that Boston broke open in the seventh inning, leading to a 4-1 victory, despite a home run from Atlanta leadoff hitter Jason Heyward.
Braves starter Alex Wood spun three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits while walking none and striking out two. Boston countered with four strong innings from Felix Doubront, who struck out three, walked none and allowed two hits. The entire Boston staff pitched well, with Koji Uehara, Edward Mujica, Burke Badenhop and Francisco Cordero joining Doubront on the scoreless side of the ledger, while Junichi Tazawa gave up the lone run to Atlanta. Doubront stretched his start to four innings despite only being scheduled for three thanks to efficiency with his pitches.
Heyward's home run was about all the offense Atlanta could muster as it notched four hits against Red Sox pitchers. Boston knocked Braves relievers around for nine hits, as Cody Martin gave up three runs on three hits in only ⅔ of an inning. Grady Sizemore continued his comeback campaign, registering two hits out of the leadoff spot as the only Red Sox to tally more than one base knock, and David Ortiz snapped an 0-8 spring training funk with his lone hit of the ballgame.
Tulo twofer leads Colorado
Troy Tulowitzki made the most of his time in the field on Friday, leaving the yard twice and making some dazzling defensive plays as well—quite a way to bust out of an 0-5 stint to start spring training. Tulo wasn't the only one teeing off against Angels starter Joe Blanton, though; Blanton yielded two more blasts, one each to Mike McKenry and Josh Rutledge, as the Rockies piled on 11 hits, scoring all seven runs in the first four innings.
The offensive onslaught said more about Blanton Friday than it might have the Rockies' offense, as they were shut down the rest of the way by the trio of Wade LeBlanc, Clay Rapada and Brandon Lyon. On the mound, the Rockies looked good as well with Jorge De La Rosa rebounding from a rough start to throw three innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out two. Rockies closer candidates LaTroy Hawkins and Rex Brothers both went an inning, with each allowing a hit and Hawkins recording a strikeout.
Fister scratched, Harper blasts
Doug Fister, Washington's prized offseason acquisition (no offense to Nate McLouth), was scratched from his scheduled start on Friday due to inflammation in his elbow, but the Nationals' offense didn't skip a beat. They poured in six runs in the opening frame with outfielder Bryce Harper launching a majestic shot off of left-handed starter Brett Oberholtzer and catcher Wilson Ramos following suit three batters later. The home run was the first of the spring for the supremely muscled Harper, who is looking forward to a healthy season after dealing with knee trouble that was resolved with offseason surgery.
The Astros fell behind quickly and never recovered, though they did tally nine hits off of Nationals pitchers. First baseman Marc Krauss notched three hits and scored two runs for Houston, which scored five in the losing effort. Fill-in starter Tanner Roark, a contender for the fifth spot in the Nationals' rotation, gave up four hits and one earned run, striking out three in 2-⅔ innings. Rafael Soriano made his spring debut, allowing three hits and two runs in his sole inning.
Scores from around MLB
Cardinals 5 (split squad), Mets 5
Cubs 3 (split squad), Angels (split squad) 2
Indians 7, Cubs (split squad) 2
White Sox 4, Reds 3 (split squad)