With the win, the Red Sox (2-0) picked up their second win in the Grapefruit League and moved a top the standings. Boston also can now clinch at least a tie for the Mayor's Cup with one more win over the Twins (2-2). The two teams don't play each other until March 16 at JetBlue Park.
While there was big offense in the game, the night was all about Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who returned to the mound for the first time since last July. In his Spring debut, Buchholz looked solid in his two innings. He had control issues in the first inning with a lead off walk to Denard Span, but quickly settled down and got out of the inning. In the second, Buchholz lead off the inning by plunking Josh Willingham, but got out of the inning, courtesy of back-to-back strikeouts. A very encouraging sign from Buchholz for Red Sox fans.
Jason Marquis however, struggled in his first Spring outing of the year, which is nothing but good for the Sox. Marquis was all over the place, and it resulted in four Red Sox runs. Darnell McDonald got it all started with a leadoff triple (I'm not kidding) thanks to a botched play by left fielder Ryan Doumit, who's a catcher by trade. Josh Kroeger drove home the first run (McDonald) with an RBI single to center. Jason Repko brought home Kroeger with a force play out.
Marquis and the Twins continued to help the Red Sox out, as the Twins hurler thew a wild pitch that scored Nick Punto from third, who got on base earlier in the inning. A Justin Morneau throwing error brought home the fourth run of the inning. That's three out of the four runs, handed to the Red Sox by the Twins. Yeesh.
The Red Sox didn't need any help from Twins fielders for their fifth run, as David Ortiz crushed a Jeff Manship into the bleachers for his first spring homer of the season to make it 5-0, Sox. Ortiz was playing at first base for Boston on Monday night.
After Buchholz departure after two inning, fifth starter hopeful Vicente Padilla came on for his first appearance of the Spring. He, like Andrew Miller did yesterday, impressed me. Padilla displayed remarkably good control, as he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two. Padilla started out in the third with a 1-2-3 inning, but did run into some trouble in the fourth. He allowed singles to Morneau, Doumit and Joe Mauer to begin the inning, but was able to out of inning thanks to a pop up and a ground ball.
The same success couldn't be said for the next Boston pitcher, Will Inman, as he relinquished the only two Twins runs of the night. Inman started the bottom of the fifth by allowing four straight singles, which resulted into RBIs by Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
Boston went on to double their run total to 10, thanks to RBIs by Will Middlebrooks and Nate Spears and a three-run homer by minor league catcher Daniel Butler.
Brandon Duckworth and Jesse Carlson kept the Twins off the scoreboard, to preserve the 10-2 win for the Red Sox. The Red Sox will head back home on Tuesday, as they will welcome the Baltimore Orioles to JetBlue Park at 1:35 p.m.
Clay Buchholz's return to the mound was better than I really ever expected. He looked fresh and pain free and was able to keep the ball in the strike zone. Buchholz's health during the season will be very key for the very questionable pitching rotation... After a quiet first game against Boston College, David Ortiz made some noise on Tuesday night, going two for three including his towering home run. The 36-year old slugger looked to be that same threatening presence he's been for years in the Boston lineup... In the battle for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, Vicente Padilla showed some good and some bad in his showcase. After breezing through the third inning, Padilla ran into some trouble in the fourth, but he was able to pull himself out of it and get out of the inning, unscathed. Should be an interesting competition as the Spring progresses.