The Red Sox improved to 13: 8: 1 in the Grapefruit League game on Wednesday after beating the Orioles 2-0 at JetBlue Park.
Nathan Eovaldi made his sixth spring start for Boston this one, and it turned out to be his best spring start yet.
This was because the veteran right-handed Baltimore kept Baltimore off the scoreboard for 5 2/3 innings of work while handing out four hits and a step to take on three strikes that night.
With the help of two double homicides and some good defensive work from Enrique Hernandez and Hunter Renfroe, Eovaldi didn’t hit more than four hits in a single frame. He also pulled back the last three Orioles he faced before hooking up with two outs in the top half of the sixth. The 31-year-old’s fifth and final start of the 31-year-old’s Grapefruit League campaign was supposed to be on Wednesday next Monday against the Braves at North Port.
To Eovaldi’s relief, right-handed Hirokazu Sawamura got the call with an out to get into sixth, and he put together his most impressive outing of the spring to date, by getting Tyler Nevin to end the inning earlier fan a pair in a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Wednesday was the 32-year-old’s fourth appearance in a Red Sox uniform, and it was his first without registering a walk or allowing a single base runner. Certainly a step in the right direction. From there, Adam Ottavino knocked out two Orioles in a perfect inning of relief in game eight, while left-hander Josh Taylor closed the deal and took up the save by sitting on the only three batters he faced, around with a little more support from Hernandez.
All in all, Sox pitchers together withdrew the last 13 Orioles batters, who came from the top of the fifth to the end of the game, which ended in a 2-0 final score.
On the flip side, the Red Sox lineup has been likened to Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marwin Gonzalez, Franchy Cordero, Michael Chavis and Kevin Plawecki against Orioles right-handed prospect Dean Kremer to kick off on Wednesday.
After stranding a handful of base runners over the first two innings of this one, the top of the Boston line-up in the third got things going when Hernandez took a leadoff walk.
Moments later, Renfroe came along for his second punch of the night after singled in the first, and he again got the best of Kremer – albeit to a much greater extent – by hitting a two-part home run down on the field opposite.
That two-run shot – Renfroes third in the spring – put the Sox 2-0 up early, and that would prove to be all it took to make the Orioles 2-0 win Back up Wednesday.
After a slow start to the Grapefruit League campaign, Alex Verdugo put together his first multi-hit performance of the year this year. The 24-year-old went 4-4 on a pair of singles while playing all nine innings in midfield.
Franchy Cordero, who started on the left and hit the seven-hole, left with a single-to-right center hit hard Field 1: 3. He’s 3 on 7 with a walk in his first three exhibition games with the Sox.
Next, the Red Sox will host rival Twins from Crosstown on Thursday evening at JetBlue Park – their second consecutive competition under the light.
Left-handed Martin Perez starts the spring for Boston and for the fourth time meets right-handed Randy Dobnak in Minnesota.
The first pitch Thursday is planned for 6:05 p.m. Easter time. The game will air on NESN and late on the MLB Network.
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