May 22, 2018
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Beckett solid in his return, Red Sox beat Astros

The Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Josh Beckett was solid for 3 2-3 innings in his first start since getting hit in the head by a line drive and the Boston Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 3-2 Tuesday in a split-squad game.

Former Red Sox and Astros star Roger Clemens watched from a suite as his minor league son, Koby, went 0 for 4 as Houston’s first baseman.

Boston’s spring training sellout streak at City of Palms Park dating to 2003 ended at 109. This exhibition game was a late addition to the Grapefruit League schedule.

Beckett had been out since getting struck in the left temple during batting practice on Feb. 28. The Red Sox ace allowed one run — on a wind-aided double — on three hits and walk and struck out four.

“My curveball was good,” he said. “We changed a couple of things in my delivery, and we’re still making adjustments with it. The adjustment came faster with the breaking ball. I threw some good changeups.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was pleased.

“Pretty good,” he said. “I thought he threw his fastball downhill. Stayed out of the middle. Especially coming off a missed outing. He looked pretty strong.”

Dennys Reyes earned the win, pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Matt Fox got the save, with three swinging strikeouts in the ninth.

The Red Sox scored the go-ahead run in the eighth as Nate Spears singled home Paul Hoover.

Aneury Rodriguez, a Rule 5 pick from Tampa Bay, started for the Astros, going three scoreless innings, giving up four hits and a walk.

“Just had to keep the ball down,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the first thing, because the last game I threw too many balls. And I come today into the game and say, ‘Just try. I don’t care if it’s in the middle. Just try.'”

Lance Pendleton, a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees, came in after Rodriguez, pitching two innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks.

“Good and bad,” Pendleton said. “Obviously it was good to get out of the situations with only giving up one run that inning. But I’m walking these guys and that is just not acceptable. Walks kill you.

“But what I think I was happiest about is towards the middle of that second inning I started feeling comfortable. I’ve been uncomfortable on the mound. It’s spring training and you’re trying to get used to it. So I can take some good out of that. I just need to stop walking some people,” he said.

Rodriguez and Pendleton are vying for a spot in the Astros’ rotation.

“(Rodriguez) was around the plate but just couldn’t get that consistency of being able to throw all his pitches for strikes,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “His fastball, I think, really had a lot of movement. He had trouble controlling that.”

“The thing that’s been a bugaboo for (Pendleton) has been the command of his pitches and that’s what got him in trouble today again as well,” he said.

NOTES: Astros OF Jason Michaels was a late scratch because of back spasms. “It’s a spasm, just a little stiff,” Michaels said. “I don’t think it’s serious but we decided to play it safe.”

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