Ortiz ends 0-for-8 start; Red Sox beat Braves 4-1
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) David Ortiz ended an 0-for-8 spring training start with a double in the fourth inning as the Boston Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 Friday.
Ortiz had struck out four times and walked once before his first hit of the exhibition season.
Left-hander Felix Doubront, making his second start, allowed two hits in four scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Alex Wood, a left-hander trying to become Atlanta’s fifth starter, gave up two hits with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings.
Jason Heyward hit his second home run of spring training, a sixth-inning drive against Junichi Tazawa.
A three-run Boston rally off right-hander Cody Martin in the seventh gave the Red Sox a 4-1 win.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was encouraged by Doubront’s outing.
”The one thing we’ve seen in Felix’s two starts is that when he’s misfired on a given pitch, he’s making the adjustment on the very next one,” Farrell said. ”That’s to me probably as encouraging a sign as any so far. But he’s ahead in the count. He’s been efficient. He was originally scheduled for three innings today, but the pitch count was so low we sent him back out for a fourth. He’s in a comfortable place right now.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was happy with Wood’s performance.
”Woody was outstanding,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ”We think really high of him.
”He gets excited, and he competes. He’s a bulldog on the mound … He’s a guy that likes to compete. He pounds the strike zone and he just keeps giving you good outings after good outings.”
Wood retired Ortiz on a called third strike in the first inning for his first strikeout.
”Breaking ball,” Wood said. ”I threw him some good fastballs in and out early, and I ended up throwing him a really good breaking ball. That wasn’t the only good one I threw today; if anything, I was probably most excited about that. I was able to throw my breaking ball consistently for strikes. If I can continue to do that it’s going to be really huge for me.”
Red Sox: Catcher David Ross returned to the lineup after being sidelined since March 2 with inflammation in a tendon in his left foot.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynksi, who has been sidelined since rolling his left ankle Monday, is expected to be in the starting lineup on Saturday.
Jake Peavy, who cut his left index finger with a fishing knife on March 1, is expected to have an extended bullpen session on Saturday and could make his first start March 13.
Right-hander Matt Barnes, who has been sidelined since Feb. 27 with shoulder stiffness, has begun a throwing program.
Outfielder Shane Victorino, who has been delayed after thumb surgery in December, could get into a game early next week.
FOR THE RECORD:
Heyward, who went 2 for 3, has two of the Braves’ three home runs this spring.
Grady Sizemore, attempting to come back after being sidelined for more than two years by injuries, went 2 for 3 with a leadoff infield single for Boston.
”He did a number of things today that we hadn’t seen yet,” Farrell said. ”He advances 90 feet on a ball in the dirt. First time he’s been forced to slide. So with each day out and each game played there’s other situations that are emerging that he’s responding to.”
Jonny Gomes hit a tying single off Anthony Varvaro in the bottom of the sixth, and Boston went ahead in a three-run seventh against Cody Martin on Jonathan Herrera’s RBI double with two outs and Ryan Lavarnway’s two-run single.
Edward Mujica earned the win and Francisco Cordero a save. Martin was the loser,