Red Sox 5, Pirates 2

Mike Napoli was tested immediately at first base in his spring

training debut with the Red Sox.

Darren Ford bunted the first pitch of the game, but Napoli

fielded the ball and won a race to the bag in Boston’s 5-2 win

Friday night over a Pittsburgh Pirates split squad.

A converted catcher, Napoli joined the Red Sox as a free agent

in the offseason. He had been slowed in camp because of a hip

problem that was discovered during his team physical, but Boston is

looking for him to be its primary first baseman.

”I felt good,” Napoli said. ”I was comfortable over there. I

should, after all the work we put in on the back fields and just

working on it. Everything felt good. My legs felt good and I was

happy to be in there tonight.”

Napoli also hit an RBI single off pitcher Jeff Locke’s right leg

and scored on a wild pitch in Boston’s three-run first inning.

Jon Lester pitched three scoreless innings for Boston in his

second spring outing. He gave up one hit, struck out two and walked

one.

”There were a lot of good things tonight,” Red Sox manager

John Farrell said. ”I thought, first with the pitching, each time

Jon gets on the mound, whether it’s inside work or game action,

he’s been down in the zone consistently. That was the case again

tonight.

”And then when you consider how many plays Mike had over at

first base, we couldn’t draw it up probably any better in the four

innings of work he had there.”

Locke went three innings, giving up three runs on four hits and

two walks. He struck out three and threw a wild pitch.

He faced seven Boston batters in the first inning and the first

five reached base, although leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury was

thrown out at second trying to stretch a single. Locke walked

Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino before Napoli’s RBI single and a

run-scoring double by Stephen Drew.

A wild pitch scored Napoli before Locke struck out Daniel Nava

and Ryan Lavarnway to end the inning. Locke faced just six batters

in his next two innings.

”I felt fine,” he said. ”It was good to get back out there

and compete again. Obviously a very rough first inning. I don’t

know if it was just trying to aim it too much or not being

aggressive enough. But I felt like after the storm there the sun

came out a little bit and I started to throw better pitches. I was

able to get out of the first and then I settled down. Still fell

behind some guys but it’s spring training still, we’ve got a long

way ahead of us. Just got to take the positive from today and move

on.”

The Red Sox added two runs in the fifth off Phil Irwin.

Pittsburgh scored two in the eighth off knuckleballer Steven

Wright and had the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth,

but could not score.

”Came up a little short,” manager Clint Hurdle said. ”Gave

ourselves an opportunity in the eighth and ninth with the tying run

to the plate. But I thought we settled down. Jeffrey got a little

sideways early, a couple walks and a ball off the shin. The game

could have gotten away from him, but he was able to settle down. He

got through the first and then put two zeros up there.

”We just have to keep battling, keep getting at-bats, get some

rhythm, get some games in. We’ll be fine.”

NOTES: Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks was given another night off

to rest his right hand. He left Wednesday’s game in the middle of

his first at-bat, fearing he had hurt the hand that was broken when

he was hit by a pitch Aug. 10, ending his rookie season. He is

expected back in the lineup Saturday against the Twins. … LHP

Craig Breslow, who has not pitched yet this spring because of

shoulder soreness, is scheduled to begin a throwing program

Saturday. … LF Jonny Gomes was given another day off after

requiring three stitches to close a gash on his left knee sustained

when he crashed into the outfield wall Wednesday. He is day to day.

… Three of Felix Pie’s hits this spring have been for extra

bases. … The Pirates lost to the Orioles 6-5 in their other

split-squad game. … A day after issuing 15 walks to the Red Sox,

the Pirates allowed a total of three walks in their two split-squad

games.