Red Sox 5, Cardinals 3

Jon Lester is eager to put last season behind him. His first

spring training outing was a good start.

Lester pitched two scoreless, leading the Boston Red Sox to a

5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

Lester retired all six batters he faced, striking out one. He

needed 24 pitches – 17 strikes – to get through the two innings,

six in the second. All but one of Lester’s pitches were

fastballs.

”It was good to go through the whole routine of getting ready

for a game, from stuff in (the clubhouse), to a full long toss,

stretch, full bullpen, and then obviously get into a game and get

up and down a couple times,” Lester said.

Lester struggled in 2012, going 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA – the

highest of his career. He’s been working to keep his hand on top of

the ball during his delivery.

”I was trying to just get my feet under me, get back into the

rhythm of pitching, get the ball down in the zone – all the things

we talk about that I didn’t do last year,” Lester said.

That improvement so far has impressed new manager John

Farrell.

”He’s made some tangible adjustments in camp, and I think those

were started last season, and they’ve carried over into spring

training,” Farrell said.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal served as the Cardinals’ designated

hitter in his first game experience of the spring, and he led off

the bottom of the first by lining out to first. He’d later ground

out to short.

The 35-year-old is recovering from a strained ligament in his

throwing elbow that cut his season short last year. He recently

received a cortisone shot in that elbow to help with a painful bone

spur.

After the game he said the elbow, ”feels good – a little heavy

right now.”

Furcal expects it to be at least a few more days before he is

able to play the field.

Even without a player expected to appear in the opening-day

starting lineup, the Red Sox found enough early offense.

Back-to-back second inning singles from Mauro Gomez and Mark

Hamilton put runners on the corners.

Pedro Ciriaco’s bloop to center field fell in front of Justin

Christian, bringing home the first run. The Red Sox scored another

on Jose Iglesias’ grounder to second base.

Daniel Descalso got the Cardinals on the board with a solo homer

to right in the fifth inning.

Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig made his Grapefruit League

debut by pinch hitting for Furcal in the sixth. He lined a

broken-bat single up the middle that drove in the Cardinals’ second

run. He’d come around to score the Cardinals’ third run on a

sacrifice fly.

Craig has been dealing with a sore shoulder. He missed all of

last spring and the first month of the season because of a knee

injury but still hit .307 with 22 homers and 92 RBIs.

Daniel Nava went 2 for 3 for the Red Sox.

NOTES: Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright will get his first start of

the spring on Monday against Houston. Jaime Garcia draws the start

on Tuesday at Boston, with Lance Lynn going on Wednesday at the New

York Mets. … Sunday was originally slated to be Shelby Miller’s

first start of the spring, but shoulder soreness earlier in the

week changed those plans. Miller will throw batting practice on

Monday and should make his first start of the spring later in the

week. … Catcher Mike Napoli stayed behind at Boston’s Fort Myer’s

complex and ran the bases. Manager John Farrell said Napoli could

get some game at-bats later in the week. He’s been dealing with a

hip injury. … Pitcher Clay Buchholz will throw a simulated game

on Tuesday and if all goes well will make his Grapefruit League

debut on Saturday against Minnesota. Buchholz has a slight

hamstring problem.