The Red Sox improved to 6-5 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following an 8-4 win over the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach for their third consecutive victory.
Hector Velazquez got the start in this one five days after his last outing, which also came against the Nationals.
This time out, the right-hander had a bit of an easier time of things, limiting Washington to one run on four hits, no walks, and one HBP while striking out three over two-and-two-thirds innings of work.
After allowing two of the first four hitters he faced in the third to reach base and plate the Nationals’ first run of the afternoon, Velazquez’s day came to an end and in came right-hander Trevor Kelley.
Kelley retired the only hitter he faced, Victor Robles, to end Washington’s rally in the third, which ended up being good enough to notch his first winning decision of the spring.
From there, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Jenrry Mejia, Domingo Tapia, and Josh Taylor combined to surrender three runs on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts.
Mejia, who last pitched five days ago like Velazquez, allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base in the seventh, which resulted in the Nationals scoring their second and third runs of the day on an Austin Vloth two RBI single.
The ex-Met finished the inning without surrendering another run with the help of a double play, but it was far from the three-strikeout performance he put together in his Red Sox debut.
Taylor, who was responsible for the ninth and final inning, wrapped things up on Tuesday by allowing another Nats run to score on an additional two hits before securing the victory for Boston by getting Chuck Taylor to line out to Cole Sturgeon.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was once again matched up against ace right-hander Max Scherzer for the Nationals.
After shutting the Boston bats out over three frames of work last Thursday, the three-time Cy Young Award winner did not have that dominating of an outing today.
Instead, Scherzer finally cracked in the fourth inning this time around, as leadoff man Tzu-Wei Lin got the scoring started for the Red Sox by launching a solo home run, his first of the spring.
That homer would turn out to be the catalyst of a seven-run inning from Boston, as Bobby Dalbec, Chad De La Guerra, and Tate Matheny went back-to-back-to-back with RBI base knocks, all while chasing Scherzer from this contest.
And the cherry on top of this offensive onslaught came from Lin as well, who drove in De La Guerra and Matheny on a two RBI single off of journeyman hurler Vidal Nuno.
Fast forward all the way to the top half of the seventh, and a Blake Swihart leadoff single would later result in Boston’s final run of the afternoon coming around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Oscar Hernandez to essentially put this contest away at 8-3.
As the final score indicates, the Nationals would score another run in their half of the ninth. So, in case you are confused, the final score of this one was 8-4.
Some notes from this win:
Through 16 at bats this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .438/.500/.813 with one home run and five RBI.
In his first game back since leaving Red Sox camp for a few days to remember his brother, Blake Swihart went 2/4 with a pair of singles and two runs scored batting second and playing first.
Next up for the Red Sox, they head back to JetBlue Park to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
RHP Nick Kingham will make the start for Pittsburgh, while fellow right-hander will do the same for Boston.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. Again, ESPN is the way to go.