Final, Pirates 4-2: The Pirates earned a victory over the Red Sox with aggressive baserunning and timely hitting with men in scoring position Friday night in Fort Myers. A double steal in the eighth inning, followed by two singles, helped Pittsburgh break a 2-2 tie and take a 4-2 advantage.
Xander Bogaerts was the Red Sox’s best player with two hits (a double and a single) and an RBI. It was one of his better performances of the spring. Jake Peavy also impressed with four hits and one earned run allowed in 4 2/3 innings.
Boston’s next game is Thursday at JetBlue Park against the rival New York Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
End 9th, Pirates 4-2: Carp grounded out for the first out of the inning. Corey Brown, who replaced Bradley Jr. in center field, drew a walk. Cumpton allowed another walk and was replaced by Cody Eppley. Cumpton threw 73 pitches in 4 2/3 innings. Eppley retired Carlos Rivero on a groundout to end the game.
Mid 9th, Pirates 4-2: After Ramirez was retired, Josh Bell flied out to deep right field for the second out of the inning. Cordero struck out Nevin Ashley to finish the inning.
The Red Sox need to score at least two runs to extend this game. Carp will lead off for Boston in the ninth.
End 8th, Pirates 4-2: Daniel Nava replaced Gomes in left field and led off the inning with a single to left-center field. D’Arnaud tried to make a diving catch, but the ball went off his glove. The ball also appeared to bounce off the turf and hit him in the eye. D’Arnaud was attended to by medical staff and was replaced by Harold Ramirez.
Cumpton retired the next three Boston batters to end the inning.
Veteran reliever Francisco Cordero will replace Hinojosa to start the eighth inning for Boston.
Mid 8th, Pirates 4-2: Dalier Hinojosa replaced Badenhop and began the eighth inning on the mound for Boston.
After Tabata grounded out, Snider picked up his second hit of the game with a single to left field. Chase d’Arnaud replaced Snider as a pinch runner and stole second. Alvarez then drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Robert Andino replaced Alvarez as a pinch runner.
The Pirates attempted a double steal and were successful when Middlebrooks couldn’t handle Butler’s throw to third cleanly. Sanchez drilled a single into center field to score d’Arnaud and give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Andino advanced to third on the hit.
Pittsburgh increased its lead to 4-2 when Lambo drilled a pitch to Carp, who stepped on first base for the out. Andino scored from third on the play. Harrison grounded out to shortstop to end the inning, but the Pirates took the lead with aggressive baserunning.
Cumpton will come back out for his fourth inning of relief.
End 7th, 2-2: Pirates reliever Brandon Cumpton retired the Red Sox in order to finish the seventh inning. Middlebrooks, Bradley Jr. and Gomes were unable to get on base.
Mid 7th, 2-2: Ishikawa, who hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, led off the seventh with a single. Barmes advanced Ishikawa to second with a great bunt.
But the Red Sox ended the inning with a phenomenal double play. After fielding a ground ball to the mound, Badenhop threw to second base, and Ishikawa got caught in a rundown. He was tagged out by Middlebrooks, who sprinted to second base and dove to the bag to make the out on Decker.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the umpire’s call on the Middlebrooks-Decker tag. The call on the field stood, and the inning ended.
End 6th, 2-2: Ortiz leads off the inning and flies out to deep right field.
Napoli drew a walk, but the Pirates escaped without allowing any runs, as Pierzynski struck out to end the inning. Both teams have six hits through six innings.
Mike Carp will replace Napoli at first base, and Dan Butler will take over for Pierzynski behind the plate. Badenhop will start the seventh on the mound for Boston.
Mid 6th, 2-2: Right-hander Burke Badenhop replaced Miller to pitch the sixth inning.
After Alvarez was retired to start the frame, Sanchez lined out to third, with Middlebrooks making a nice diving catch at third base. Lambo then singled to center field. He was 2-for-32 entering that at-bat. Lambo got into scoring position with a steal of second despite getting a late jump because Pierzynski’s throw to second was off-line and went into center field.
Harrison drove in Lambo with an RBI single to right field that tied the game, but he was caught in a rundown and was tagged out to end the inning.
Ortiz will lead off the the sixth for Boston.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Middlebrooks started the inning with a line drive single into left field, then stole second.
After Bradley Jr. struck out, Gomes singled into center field to drive in Middlebrooks for the second Boston run. Victorino and Pedroia were retired to end the inning, but Boston is back on top 2-1.
Mid 5th, 1-1: Ishikawa led off the inning with a solo home run to tie the game 1-1. Peavy left a ball low and over the plate, and the Pirates’ designated hitter crushed it over the right field wall. After Barmes was retired, Decker hit a double off the left field wall. Gomes couldn’t make the catch at the wall, and Bradley Jr. came over to fire the ball back into the infield.
Tabata flied out to right field for the second out, and then Peavy departed after throwing 74 pitches. Left-handed reliever Andrew Miller took over.
Miller ended the inning by striking out Snider.
End 4th, Red Sox 1-0: Pedroia led off the inning with a double off the left field wall. The ball hit the netting on the green monster at Jet Blue Park.
Ortiz moved Pedroia to third base with a groundout to first. After Napoli was retired, Bogaerts drove in Pedroia with a single into right field. The young shortstop protected the plate well and went the other way to get the Red Sox on the scoreboard.
Pierzynski nearly reached first base safely after Lambo bobbled a ground ball down the first base line, but Lambo recovered in time to make the out.
Ishikawa will lead off the top of the fifth inning for the Pirates.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Alvarez flied out to Gomes for the inning’s first out. After Sanchez was retired, Lambo drew a walk, but he was stranded when Harrison flied out to Bogaerts toward the foul line in shallow left field.
Pedroia will lead off for Boston in the bottom of the inning.
End 3rd, 0-0: After Pierzynski and Middlebrooks were retired, Bradley Jr. doubled off Rodriguez for the second Red Sox hit of the game. Gomes drew a walk to give Boston runners on first and second, but they were stranded when Victorino’s line drive up the middle was caught by Rodriguez.
Alvarez will lead off for Pittsburgh to start the fourth inning. Peavy will come back out for his fourth inning of work.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Middlebrooks made a great diving play at third to rob Barmes of a base hit. Peavy retired Decker on a flyout to left field for the second out. Tabata reached base safely after Middlebrooks bobbled a grounder at third, but he was stranded at first as Snider flied out to shallow center field.
Pierzynski will get his first at-bat when we return for the bottom of the third.
End 2nd, 0-0: Rodriguez struck out Ortiz with a high fastball for the first out. The Red Sox slugger tried to hold up on a check swing but was unsuccessful. Napoli grounded out to Barmes at second base.
Bogaerts crushed a pitch off the left field wall but was thrown out at second base to end the inning. The young shortstop didn’t touch the base on his initial slide and was tagged out when he got back to his feet. Tabata played the bounce off the wall perfectly and made a fantastic throw to second base.
Barmes will lead off the top of the third for the Pirates.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Lambo led off the inning with a flyout to left field. Peavy struck out Harrison with a high fastball for the second out, then struck out Ishikawa to end the inning. Peavy has three strikeouts through two innings and is using his fastball very effectively. His four-seamer has been strong so far.
Ortiz will lead off the bottom of the second inning for Boston.
End 1st, 0-0: Rodriguez retired the side, as Gomes, Victorino and Pedroia failed to reach base.
Lambo will lead off the top of the second for Pittsburgh. Peavy is expected to return to the mound.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Decker led off the inning with a flyout to Gomes in left field after fouling off three pitches. Tabata grounded out to shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Mike Napoli made a nice play at first base to scoop the ball on one hop from the young shortstop.
Snider singled to right field, and he advanced to third on a ground rule double from Alvarez, who made great contact on a pitch down and in from Peavy. They both were left stranded, as Peavy retired Sanchez.
Gomes will lead off for the Red Sox against Wandy Rodriguez in the bottom half of the inning.
7:10 p.m.: Jake Peavy delivers a ball to Jaff Decker, and we’re underway in the first inning.
6:30 p.m.: The Boston Red Sox will continue spring training play Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Fort Myers.
The Pirates are one of the best young teams in baseball and ended a 20-year playoff drought last season. They were eliminated by the eventual NL champion St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series. Pittsburgh has even higher hopes for the 2014 season, and the team will get a good look at several of its best young players against the Sox.
Boston will field a starting nine consisting mostly of veterans. One position to watch is center field, where top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. will start. Veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore has been playing exceptionally over the last two weeks, creating an intriguing position battle in center field as spring training winds down.
Jake Peavy will take the mound for Boston, and Wandy Rodriguez will start for Pittsburgh.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game.
Jonny Gomes, LF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jake Peavy, P
Jaff Decker, CF
Jose Tabata, LF
Travis Snider, RF
Pedro Alvarez, 3B
Tony Sanchez, C
Andrew Lambo, 1B
Josh Harrison, SS
Travis Ishikawa, DH
Clint Barmes, 2B
Wandy Rodriguez, P
Photo via Twitter/@RedSox