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Pedroia launches first spring homer

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays used a broad-based offensive attack to take down a Red Sox split squad, 6-3, at Charlotte Sports Park on Monday afternoon.

Seven of Tampa Bay's nine starters either scored or drove in a run as the Rays jumped on starter Alfredo Aceves and reliever Chris Hernandez. Ryan Roberts had the game's biggest hit, a two-run double off Hernandez in the fourth.

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Neither starter was especially sharp, with Aceves and Alex Cobb each allowing two runs in two innings. It was the Grapefruit League debut for both.

Dustin Pedroia staked Aceves to a 1-0 lead with a homer in the top of the first, but it didn't last. Aceves had difficulty finding the strike zone early, and it cost him. He walked the second and third Rays batters of the game. The fourth was Yunel Escobar, who got ahead of Aceves, 2-0, before drilling a two-run double to left field.

Aceves settled down after that, retiring five of the last six batters he faced. He finished with two runs on two hits, no strikeouts and the two walks. He did induce four ground-ball outs.

Cobb, meanwhile, was scored upon in each of his two innings. Pedroia cranked a solo homer deep to left in the first, and Mike Carp made his Red Sox debut a good one with an RBI double in the second.

"Obviously the results weren't great, but this time of year I'm looking to feel good, and I did," Cobb said. "The home run isn't very good, and the RBI double wasn't very good, but I got a lot of ground balls, which is what I'm looking for."

After Cobb came out, the Rays' bullpen took command. Jamey Wright struck out two in a perfect third inning, and Cesar Ramos retired all six batters he faced. No Tampa Bay reliever allowed a hit until Boston managed a run on two hits against Neil Schenk in the eighth.

Tampa Bay improved to 3-1 on the spring. Boston is 2-2.

Up next for the Red Sox: Free-agent acquisition Ryan Dempster will make his first start in a Boston uniform in Tuesday's 1:35 p.m. ET home game against the Cardinals. Several bullpen mainstays will follow Dempster in that game, including Junichi Tazawa, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller.

Matthew Leach is a writer for Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach.

Boston Red Sox, Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Pedroia