Andrew McCutchen leads Pirates past Red Sox
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) Andrew McCutchen had two RBI doubles and also singled in three at-bats to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 in exhibition play Friday night.
McCutchen just missed two homers, doubling off the Green Monster replica in the third and fifth innings.
"I'll take a double," McCutchen said. "(The wall) gave me a couple hits. Anything that gives me hits, I'll take it. I still got the job done. Still got some runs in. So, it worked. I know I got to hit it a little harder next time."
McCutchen singled in the first.
"All the things we talked about him going to work on this spring, he's taken care of," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's been more aggressive on the bases. He worked hard, even as quick and agile as he is, he spent a lot of time to improve that. He's stronger. He put on a few pounds, but there's more strength, he believes."
Right-hander Clay Buchholz started for the Red Sox. He went three innings, allowing two runs on three hits, with a strikeout and also hit a batter. Buchholz was charged with the loss.
"I felt better physically, actually," Buchholz said after his second spring outing. "Pitches felt like they came out a lot crisper. Made two mistakes - actually the second one wasn't a mistake, just first-pitch changeup and he caught it. The first hit I gave up to (Clint) Barmes was a really good pitch, and he just did a good job of hitting. Left a pitch up to McCutchen his first at-bat."
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was satisfied with Buchholz's outing.
"Buchholz's stuff looked sharper than last time, I thought," Valentine said. "He threw a couple sharp curveballs. ... He executed some pretty good pitches. I thought his changeup was sharp. He's not throwing a lot of those curveballs, but he threw a couple of them tonight that were midseason form."
Right-hander Vicente Padilla, competing for the fifth spot in Boston's rotation followed Buchholz. Padilla went two innings, allowing four runs on five hits - all in his first inning.
Right-hander Shairon Martis started for the Pirates. He went two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out one en route to the victory.
"He's in the mix (for the bullpen)," Hurdle said. "We wanted to stretch him out more, but that landscape changed when we acquired (A.J.) Burnett. We're keeping him involved. We like the arm. Our scouts have been on him for a while. He kept the ball down, his pace was quick. He did paint himself into some corners with three-ball counts, but in all three he was able to come back and get the hitter."
David Ortiz homered for Boston.
NOTES: Boston left fielder Carl Crawford, who had a setback in his rehab from mid-January surgery on his left wrist, is progressing, but manager Bobby Valentine said he isn't expected to be ready for the start of the season. "I never try to have the calendar dictate the health of a player and I think Carl understands that," Valentine said. "To tell you the truth, I'm not planning on him (for Opening Day). I think I said that, too, coming in, and then I might have changed my mind when he started hitting and throwing early. But I have to go back to the original." ... Boston left-hander Andrew Miller, scratched from Thursday's game against the Cardinals because of elbow soreness, is expected to throw Saturday.
Updated March 9, 2012