Lefty pitches four scoreless innings; pinch-hitter caps three-run seventh
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After six innings of a pitchers' duel, the game turned on a two-out rally. The Red Sox earned their first lead of Friday's game in the seventh inning, when Jonathan Herrera drilled an RBI double and Ryan Lavarnway added a two-run single to lead Boston to a 4-1 win over Atlanta.
The game was scoreless for five innings, but Atlanta's Jason Heyward ended the shutout with a homer in the sixth. The Red Sox scratched out the tying run on a Jonny Gomes RBI single in the sixth, and then they pushed ahead on clutch hits by Herrera and Lavarnway in the seventh.
Boston starter Felix Doubront had thrown two scoreless innings in his spring debut, and he added more zeros in his second start. The 26-year-old southpaw threw four scoreless innings against Atlanta, allowing just two hits and striking out three of the 13 batters he faced.
But on the other side, Atlanta's Alex Wood was matching Doubront pitch for pitch. Wood, a former second-round draftee, allowed a leadoff single to Grady Sizemore but retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced. Sizemore singled again in the third but wound up stranded at second. Wood allowed two hits and struck out two over three innings.
The twin shutout survived into the middle innings, thanks to some efficient relief work. David Carpenter and Anthony Varvaro both worked scoreless innings for Atlanta. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless fifth for the Red Sox, but Junichi Tazawa gave up the homer to Heyward in the sixth.
Heyward's second homer of the spring boosted the Braves into the driver's seat. Varvaro, who came back out for the sixth inning, gave up a leadoff single. The runner moved up on a groundout and again on a wild pitch, and Gomes tied the game with a two-out single.
Boston got scoreless innings from Edward Mujica and Burke Badenhop in the victory. Herrera, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the sixth inning, scored two of Boston's runs.
Up next: The Red Sox will play a pair of games on Saturday, both against the Orioles. Henry Owens will start the road game in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV, and he'll be matched against Baltimore veteran Bud Norris. Brandon Workman and Brayan Villarreal are expected to pitch at Fort Myers at 7:05 on Gameday Audio.