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Young bats boost Red Sox 7-6

March 9, 2010
From AP wire reports

Josh Beckett made his second start of spring training Monday, and Boston Red Sox pitchers kept the St. Louis Cardinals hitless into the seventh inning.

But it was Boston's young hitters who pulled out the 7-6 win.

Che-Shuan Lin's one-out single in the ninth scored Josh Reddick after Reddick doubled in the tying run.

Reddick was 2-for-3 with two RBI, and shortstop Jose Iglesias, a Cuban defector and one of Boston's top prospects, hit a three-run homer.

"That's exactly what those young guys are here for," said manager Terry Francona. "Some of these guys are not here to make the club. They know that. They're going to get ready for a long season wherever they're playing."

Iglesias, who signed with the Red Sox in September and is in his first spring training camp, said - with infielder Gil Velazquez acting as an interpreter - that he feels comfortable in his new surroundings.

Although he speaks very little English, Iglesias replied in English when asked what has been the most fun for him this spring: "My first home run."

Beckett did not allow a hit over three scoreless innings and struck out three. In five total innings this spring, Beckett has given up just one run.

"I felt like I located. I got the ball down well. I got some ground balls in the first inning and really had my legs under me in the second," Beckett said.

Chris Carpenter made his first appearance of the spring for the Cardinals. He went two innings, giving up a run on four hits with a strikeout and no walks.

Twins 5, Orioles 0: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had just one complaint, and it had nothing to do with Minnesota's performance in a victory over Baltimore.

Gardenhire's problem had to do with the postgame meal for the 70-mile trip back to the Twins' training complex in Fort Myers.

"Two pieces of chicken on the bus. These long-term contracts are killing us," he cracked. "Every other team gets three."

Nick Blackburn threw three crisp innings one day after he signed a $14 million, four-year contract that includes an $8 million club option for 2014. Blackburn and Kevin Slowey had identical lines, allowing one hit with one walk and two strikeouts.

With the Twins opening Target Field next month, the defending AL Central champs are increasing their payroll. They're currently in negotiations with All-Star catcher Joe Mauer on what should be an even pricier deal.

"We better hurry up," Gardenhire said. "When Mauer signs, we'll only get one piece."

Blackburn started the Twins' first spring game on Thursday, and Slowey followed. This time they reversed roles, and Blackburn said the hardest part for him was figuring when to warm up.

Slowey was 10-3 with a 4.86 ERA before undergoing season-ending reconstructive wrist surgery in July. The right-hander retired nine of his final 10 batters against Baltimore.

Brian Matusz allowed two runs and three hits in 2 2/3 innings for Baltimore. He struck out six and walked one.

Marlins 11, Nationals 2: The linescore, while not pretty, wasn't as important to Washington Nationals left-hander Scott Olsen as how his surgically repaired shoulder felt in its first test.

Olsen, making his first start since season-ending surgery last July, threw two innings in the Nationals' loss to a Florida split squad.

The left-hander, penciled into a rotation spot provided he is healthy, allowed seven hits and three runs. Olsen gave up a three-run home run to Jorge Cantu in the first inning after Bryan Peterson's bloop single over shortstop and Mike Stanton's broken-bat liner off the glove of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

Olsen consistently threw his fastball in the 86-88 mph range, something that Nationals manager Jim Riggleman found encouraging.

"He's about where he was, velocity-wise and with his mechanics. (Olsen) looked very similar to last year before he got hurt," Riggleman said. "It's a good one to start on for him the first time out and build on it and continue to build up arm strength."

Washington is 0-6 this spring and has been outscored 67-30. Nationals pitchers have surrendered 91 hits, including 12 home runs, in 50 innings and compiled an ERA of 10.98

Florida right-hander Ricky Nolasco worked three innings in his first turn against major leaguers this spring, allowing a run on four hits with five strikeouts. Nolasco's previous start came March 3 against the University of Miami.

Nolasco said he threw all of his pitches for the first time this spring and was particularly happy with the sharpness of his slider.

Josh Willingham and Zimmerman homered for the Nationals.

Ronny Paulino had four hits, leading Florida's 18-hit attack. Emilio Bonifacio also drove in three runs.



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