Red Sox Spring Training 2012: Play At The Plate Saves Sox Win In Final Spring Training Game

The Red Sox will head to Detroit on a winning streak, taking their final game of spring training 8-7 with the last out coming at home plate.

Clay Buchholz started the game off in rare form. Finding consistency with most of his arsenal and especially his curveball, Buchholz would pitch a clean first, then a clean second, third, and fourth inning, striking out three batters without allowing even one baserunner in the process.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, had grabbed him an early lead in the fourth, with Dustin Pedroia doubling Jacoby Ellsbury home and then scoring himself on a ground out. They would extend that lead in the fifth, adding four runs on three singles, a walk, and another Dustin Pedroia double to make it 6-0.

Buchholz would respond poorly to the long wait in the fifth, however, and lost his perfect game in a hurry. While the first baserunners came on groundballs, with one not even so much as escaping the infield, with two outs Buchholz allowed Wilson Ramos to take him out of the park, cutting the Sox' lead in half. The very next inning, it was Ian Desmond leading off with a homer of his own to make it 6-4.

Buchholz would still prove more effective than Justin Thomas, however. Finishing off the sixth for Buchholz, Thomas fell completely apart in the seventh, giving up three straight singles and a sacrifice bunt to score a run and put two more batters in scoring position. A pair of walks would lead to another run with Michael Bowden entering the game, and a sacrifice fly made it 7-6, Nationals before the inning was over.

The Sox would not be down long, however. The eighth would see Daniel Nava find his home run swing to equalize things in the first at bat, and with Alfredo Aceves making things look easy in the bottom of the eighth, the Sox entered the ninth still tied. Jason Repko would ultimately be the one to break it, doubling home Dan Butler after a leadoff single to put the Sox ahead 8-7.

The bottom of the ninth would not go smoothly, with a two-out walk and a stolen base making for a very important final at bat. Danny Espinosa would even manage to come through, ultimately, finding a hole up the middle for a single that could have tied the game. But with Jason Repko and Dan Butler again playing the heroes, the ball quickly found its way from center field to Butler at home, leaving the tying run as the final out at the plate.

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