Beckett sharp for Red Sox in 7-4 win over Orioles

Posted March 18, 2012, at 5:55 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Josh Beckett hopes to help himself out with his glove.

Beckett helped turn a double play and earned the win Saturday as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 in a split-squad game.

“It’s something I’ve always tried to take pride in,” Beckett said of his defense and pickoff move to first base. “But the priority is going to be to get the guy at the plate out. That’s never going to change. If I feel like something else is going to take away from that, whether it’s controlling the base runners, I’m probably not going to worry about the base.”

Beckett allowed one run and two hits in five innings with two strikeouts and a walk. He has a 1.29 ERA.

“Josh is as professional a player as I’ve been around when it comes to pitching,” new Boston manager Bobby Valentine said.

On Sunday, Clay Buchholz allowed one run and four hits in five innings, Cody Ross homered for the second straight afternoon and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4.

Buchholz, who struck out four and walked none, allowed his only run on Evan Longoria’s first-inning homer — his first hit of spring training. Longoria was 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs and an RBI.

Rays left-hander Matt Moore, back from a mild abdominal strain, gave up four runs, two hits and three walks in 2 1-3 innings, leaving after he walked the bases loaded in the third. He allowed solo homers to Ross and Josh Kroeger, and threw just 26 of 52 pitches for strikes.

On Sunday, new Sox outfielder Ross went 2-for-3 with a double and a fifth-inning solo homer off reliever Brad Bergeson.

“Cody is very aggressive,” Valentine said. “He’s fitting in well with his new teammates. It seems like he has been around a long time. He has a power stroke. I like his defense.”

Baltimore starter Armando Galarraga gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, lifting his ERA to 7.88.

With manager Buck Showalter in Sarasota with the other half of the split squad for a 3-3, 10-inning tie, bench coach John Russell — Pittsburgh’s manager from 2008-10 — ran the Fort Myers half of the Orioles. Russell oversaw the first spring training start of shortstop prospect Manny Machado, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft out of Miami Brito High.

The 19-year-old went 0-for-1 with two walks and said he enjoyed facing Beckett. Machado rooted for Beckett when the pitcher helped the 2003 Florida Marlins win the World Series.

“He’s got good stuff. Hopefully I’ll be facing him soon,” Machado said. “I was 14,15-years-old and watching him pitch. Now I’m facing him at a young age now. It’s definitely exciting. Hopefully I will see him down the road.”

Beckett is now 31.

“That just means I’m getting old,” he said.

Machado hit a combined .256 with 11 homers, 50 RBIs and 11 steals last season at Class A levels.

“It felt good getting out there,” Machado said. “I felt like I had good, quality at-bats and had a good quality game overall”

Baltimore brought over mostly bench players and minor leaguers. Chris Davis went 1-for-3.

NOTES: The Red Sox released RHP Carlos Silva, who had entered camp with lingering shoulder soreness and was not able to overcome it in time to be in the mix for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Silva spent all of last season in the minor leagues with the New York Yankees. He went 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA for the Chicago Cubs in 2010. … Red Sox C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, recovering from a hip injury, went 2 for 5 with a single, double and walk in a minor league game. He is expected to start at catcher Sunday against Tampa Bay. … SS prospect Jose Iglesias, who has right groin injury, went 1 for 5 in a minor league game.

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