PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Patience appears to be paying off for Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Bogaerts homered and drove in four runs, Rick Porcello pitched three innings and the Red Sox beat the New York Mets 6-3 Sunday.
Bogaerts hit an early RBI single off starter Jonathon Niese. Then after a lengthy at-bat in the fifth, Bogaerts turned on a full-count curveball from Oscar Robles and hit a three-run homer that broke a 2-all tie.
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”He put a great swing on the only breaking ball he saw in the sequence. He recognized it and put a great swing on it,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Bogaerts hit .240 last season in his first full year, playing in 144 games.
Farrell said he’s noticed a different approach by the 22-year-old Bogaerts.
”He?s staying back and hitting balls the other way. Yesterday it was a long fly ball the other way that moved the runner. Today, an RBI single the other way when he?s down in the count,” Farrell said.
”He looks balanced and waiting for pitches to get to him rather than rushing out there and jumping a little bit,” he said.
Porcello gave up an unearned run and four hits. He struck out two and walked none.
Acquired in an offseason trade that sent slugger Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit, the 26-year-old Porcello faced big league hitters for the first time in a Boston uniform. He pitched two perfect innings earlier against Northeastern.
”They hit some balls hard, for sure, but overall I felt good. I feel ahead of where I was last year,” said Porcello, who had a mediocre spring last season with the Tigers.
Niese gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 2 2-3 innings.
Mets manager Terry Collins was perturbed with his pitchers walking 10 batters.
”(Nerves are) not an excuse for not being able to throw the ball over the plate. You?re going to get noticed by pounding the strike zone. I?d rather see guys get hit than 10 base on balls,” Collins said.
”They?re all known to have been strike-throwers. I know (pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) is trying to get them to calm down. We?ll run them back out there,” he said.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis got three hits for the Mets and Juan Lagares had two.
Red Sox: Porcello said he was ”pleased with the amount of strikes I threw. Most of my misses were around the plate. The changeup was a little iffy. Overall I felt very good.”
Mets: Niese spent much of last spring injured and stayed behind when the team broke camp. He liked his spring debut vs. Boston. ”The arm felt great. I just ran out of gas at the end. It was good to get those 50 pitches in. I haven?t thrown that many pitches in a while.”
Red Sox: Boston continues its east coast swing of Florida, taking on St. Louis in Jupiter. LHP Wade Miley is set to start against St. Louis RHP Michael Wacha.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler is scheduled to start Monday against Miami.
Red Sox: INF Sean Coyle took a grounder to the mouth in batting practice and had to get three stitches. Jemile Weeks replaced him in the lineup. … Farrell said OF Shane Victorino, who had soreness in his legs, will be pushed back a day and miss Monday?s game in Jupiter. … OF Rusney Castillo is increasing his activity and was throwing up to 90 feet. The hope is to get Castillo, ruled out indefinitely with an oblique injury, to start hitting off a tee soon.
Mets: Collins pulled Travis d?Arnaud when trainers could not stop the bleeding on the catcher?s left ring finger. D?Arnaud was spiked while breaking up a double play but did not need stitches.
BEING A FAN
U.S. Rep. Peter King attended the game with his family and sported a white ”King 44” New York jersey. A lifelong Mets fans – ”I go back to 1962,” King said, laughing – the Republican congressman from New York spent time taking photos with Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey.
Farrell said relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara would continue to pitch ”high leverage innings late in the games.” When asked by a reporter from a Japanese publication if he was pleased with the duo?s work, Farrell was quick to reply. ”Oh yeah, you got any more over there?” he said.