FORT MYERS, Fla. — In a matchup of two of the American League’s top young pitchers, neither Max Scherzer nor Clay Buchholz had his best stuff.
Scherzer was a bit better, though, allowing two runs and two hits while pitching into the fifth and the Detroit Tigers beat a Boston Red Sox split squad 8-3 on Friday.
Scherzer allowed three walks and struck out two.
“He didn’t have good command, but he was alright,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.” Behind too many hitters, I’m sure he’d tell you that. But he threw the ball well, made some good pitches, just was behind too much. But he’ll get that going. I’m not worried about that.”
Buchholz went four innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with one strikeout.
“I struggled with command with every pitch,” Buchholz said. “I could never get comfortable on the mound. Trying to make adjustments with my release point and went to both ends of the spectrum. Definitely not one of my best outings. Faced a little bit of adversity with runners on in just about every inning. You learn from it. Still spring. Have a couple more outings and I’ll go from there.”
Buchholz threw 76 pitches, 42 for strikes.
“I thought he fought his command a little bit today, right from the beginning,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “But he increased his workload by about 20 pitches, which is good. He’s got two more starts. I just think he didn’t command as good as he normally will.”
For Detroit, Ryan Raburn went 1 for 4 with a three-run home run of Hideki Okajima. Brennan Boesch had a solo homer off Buchholz, and Andy Dirks had a two-run homer off Brandon Duckworth. All three Detroit players are vying for a spot in the Tigers outfield.
“You just keep watching,” Leyland said. “You don’t go by somebody getting a hit one day and not getting a hit the next day. You try to evaluate and make a decision for what’s best for the club.
“If you hit like Dirks did, doesn’t matter who you hit it off of. He smoked it. Don’t want to take anything away from that. Boesch hit one off a pretty good big league pitcher.”
Boesch was happy to face Buchholz, who Francona recently named Boston’s No. 3 starter.
“It’s good to face those guys in spring, prepare for the season,” Boesch said.
Ryan Kalish went 2 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and two stolen bases for Boston. He leads the team with five stolen bases.
Rays 7, Red Sox 3
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez hit consecutive home runs off Tim Wakefield, and the Tampa Bay Rays battered the 44-year-old knuckleballer Friday night in a 7-3 victory over a Boston Red Sox split squad.
Kelly Shoppach and Ben Zobrist also connected as the Rays built a 6-0 lead after three innings against Wakefield, who gave up seven hits.
Tampa Bay starter Andy Sonnanstine dodged trouble for the first four innings before Boston got to him for three runs in the fifth. None of them came on a hit, however.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out before Carl Crawford pushed the first run across with a walk. Kyle Farnsworth relieved Sonnanstine, but walked J.D. Drew and allowed another run to score on a wild pitch to Jed Lowrie.
Mets 3, Braves 0
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — David Wright hit a two-run homer and an RBI single in the New York Mets’ 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
Wright, who was batting just .200 entering the game, drove in a run on a base hit in the fourth inning, then hit a long homer over the left field wall in the sixth inning. It was his first home run of the spring.
Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens gave up three runs — two earned — on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks in six innings. He was perfect through the first three innings, but Jose Reyes reached on an error in the fourth.
Oliver Perez, contending for a lefty specialist role in the Mets’ bullpen, walked one but retired the side in the sixth.
Cards 10, Nationals 4
VIERA, Fla. — Jamie Garcia pitched four effective innings, drove in two runs and scored on a wild pitch for St. Louis.
Garcia allowed two runs and five hits, walked two and struck out one. He also had an RBI single and an RBI groundout in two at-bats.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann was hit hard, giving up six runs and eight hits in four innings. He walked two and threw two wild pitches.
Phillies 3, Pirates 2
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Pirates right-hander Brad Lincoln was struck in his pitching arm by Jimmy Rollins’ line drive and forced to leave early with a bruise.
Lincoln, a big part of the Pirates’ future, was hit in the third inning and quickly tracked down the ball near the first-base line. Rollins appeared startled by the accident and slowed down, and Lincoln tapped the Phillies star with his glove for the out.
Phillies starter Roy Oswalt gave up two unearned runs and five hits in six innings, striking out five without a walk.
Astros 9, Marlins 2
JUPITER, Fla. — Ricky Nolasco gave up seven runs in his second spring start for Florida.
Nolasco, whose start to spring training was delayed because of a sore right thumb allowed eight hits in two innings. In his first start in March 13, he was tagged for four runs in 1 2-3 innings against the Nationals.
Left-hander J.A. Happ allowed an unearned run on four hits in five innings for Houston, his longest start of the spring.
Wilton Lopes, Houston’s setup man, pitched another scoreless inning. He hasn’t allowed a hit in six innings this spring.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5
DUNEDIN, Fla. — A.J. Burnett was hit by a line drive in the first inning then was hurt by his own wildness and catcher Russell Martin’s sloppy play in New York’s loss.
Burnett was struck on the upper part of his right buttock by Juan Rivera’s liner but remained in the game. He then had the same control problems that plagued him last season, throwing two wild pitches while giving up four runs and five hits in four innings.
Martin committed two errors and allowed a passed ball, and threw poorly on three Blue Jays stolen bases.
Toronto’s Brandon Morrow worked five shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out six.
Twins 3, Orioles 2
SARASOTA, Fla. — Baltimore left-hander Brian Matusz had eight strikeouts over 4 2-3 innings in a pitching duel with Francisco Liriano.
Matt Tolbert had three hits and accounted for the only run off Matusz with his first spring homer.
Liriano allowed one run and three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
Rockies 9, Brewers 7
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ty Wigginton and Ben Paulsen each drove in two runs and Greg Reynolds went six innings for Colorado.
Reynolds, who got through the third unscathed, gave up six runs and nine hits.
Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Spilborghs and Jose Morales also drove in runs for the Rockies, who won their 10th in the last 12 games.
Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer and Ryan Braun had two hits and drove in a run for the Brewers.
Diamondbacks 8, Mariners 5
PEORIA, Ariz. — Mariners closer Brandon League blew a one-run lead in the top of the ninth inning.
The Diamondbacks scored four runs off League with only one hit and a sacrifice fly. League walked three and the Mariners made an error in the inning.
Milton Bradley hit a two-run homer in the third inning.
Former Mariner Willie Bloomquist had two hits and a game-tying RBI, and Tony Abreu doubled twice and scored twice. Gerardo Parra added a hit and a run batted in.
Dodgers 6, Giants 3
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Matt Kemp tripled and drove in a run and Andre Ethier added an RBI double to lead Los Angeles.
Rubby De La Rosa threw four hitless innings in his second spring start. De La Rosa, the Dodgers’ minor league player of the year last season, has not allowed a run in his last eight innings spanning three outings.
Giants starter Jeff Suppan, competing for the long relief spot in the bullpen, allowed two runs and seven hits over four innings.