Takeaways: Sox 5, Jays 3; Buch rolls along

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
5:57
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from an overcast afternoon in the Fort where pitcher Clay Buchholz continued his good work, Pedro Ciriaco flashed some leather and the rain stayed away.

Buchholz pitched four shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out one in the Red Sox's 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays before a sellout crowd of 9,855. He didn’t walk a batter. Buchholz has pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings this spring and has allowed only six hits, walked two and struck out nine.

[+] EnlargeClay Buchholz
AP Photo/David GoldmanClay Buchholz has pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings this spring and has allowed only six hits, walked two and struck out nine.
“Everything is starting to fall together,” Buchholz said.

He intends to pitch five innings in his next outing.

Buchholz said the key to the spring has been a basic of element of pitching.

“Able to throw a fastball for strike one,” Buchholz said.

He threw 45 pitches, 30 for strikes, on Tuesday.

“I’ll take a low pitch count over high strikeouts,” said Buchholz, who earned the win and improved his Grapefruit League record to 2-0.

Buchholz got seven ground-ball outs. The Blue Jays had one fly-ball out and slugger Jose Bautista ripped a double off the center-field wall.

Red Sox manager John Farrell liked what he saw of the righty.

“Better tempo once again,” Farrell said. “Anytime you see Clay put the ball on the ground -- he’s got a sinker, action down in the zone, and that was working today.”

By the end of spring training, Buchholz hopes to get his pitch count up to 100.

* Farrell talked in his postgame news conference about the development of Andrew Bailey, who allowed one hit in a scoreless inning.

“Today more than his last couple of outings I thought he did a better job of attacking the hitter,” Farrell said. “He might have had some pitches on the middle of the plate his last outing. I think his secondary pitches were probably more advanced. He’s been aggressive and more than anything he’s pitching with no physical restrictions.”

Bailey, whose spring ERA is 3.60 ERA, missed most of the 2012 season while he recovered from right thumb surgery. He pitched in only 17 games and had a 7.04 ERA.

“He’s feeling pretty good about himself from his health standpoint,” Farrell said.

Bailey has closing experience from his days with the Oakland A’s and could be a bridge to closer Joel Hanrahan.

“You shorten the game,” Farrell said. “I think it puts us in a better situation obviously.”

[+] EnlargeCiriaco
AP Photo/David GoldmanPedro Ciriaco reacts after snaring a line drive in the second inning.
* The defensive highlight of the game was a diving grab by shortstop Pedro Ciriaco to close the top of the second inning. Toronto's Andy LaRoche laced a liner between short and third that seemed headed to left field. But Ciriaco leapt and speared the ball as he was parallel to the ground. “He’s a great athlete,” Buchholz said.

* More Ciriaco: He started an inning-ending double play in the third with a quick flip to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who turned it smartly. “Key double play,” Farrell said.

* One more Ciriaco note: He batted ninth and was 1-for-3 and is hitting .321.

* Allen Webster earned the save. He pitched three innings and allowed one run on three hits and struck out three. His ERA is now 1.64.

“He’s pretty damned good,” Farrell said of Webster, who was acquired in last year’s big trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

* After the game, Farrell gave the same basic update on shortstop Stephen Drew’s comeback from a concussion as he did in the morning.

“Continues to improve,” Farrell said.

* Outfielder Jackie Bradley continues his amazing spring. Although he didn’t start, he replaced Jonny Gomes in the order and played right and center field. Bradley singled in his only at-bat and is now hitting a Grapefruit League-leading .536 on the spring.

* First baseman Mike Napoli was 2-for-3 with a double and RBI. He raised his batting average to .429 (6-for-14).

* Former Red Sox first base prospect Lars Anderson was 1-for-3 with a double and scored a run.

* The Red Sox reassigned right-handed pitcher Pedro Beato to minor-league camp after the game.

With this move, the Red Sox now have 51 players in big league camp.

* Toronto got on the board in the fifth when No. 9 hitter Jim Negrych blasted a homer to right off reliever Andrew Miller. Never heard of Negrych? The 28-year-old infielder has never played in the majors and in seven minor-league seasons has hit 29 homers.

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