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Final: Red Sox 8, Nationals 7

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  April 3, 2012 04:40 PM

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WASHINGTON The Red Sox are here at Nationals Stadium to wrap up spring training with an exhibition finale against the Washington Nationals Tuesday afternoon before heading to Detroit for an Opening Day date with the Tigers Thursday at Comerica Park.

Top of fourth inning: Red Sox 2, Nationals 0

After Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a lead-off single to left, Dustin Pedroia stroked an RBI double left, driving in Ellsbury to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. After Adrian Gonzalez's sacrifice fly moved Pedroia over to third, David Ortiz drove in the Sox second baseman with his groundball out to second. Kevin Youkilis went down swinging against Nationals starter Edwin Jackson to end the inning.

Bottom of fourth: Red Sox 2, Nationals 0

Clay Buchholz looked pretty sharp through the first four innings of his final exhibition tune-up, retiring the first 12 batters he faced while striking out three. He threw 40 pitches in the process, including 29 strikes.

Top of fifth: Red Sox 6, Nationals 0

Pedroia continued to scorch at the plate, hitting a 2-run double to right that scoreed Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury to make it 4-0. It sparked a four-run outburst that gave the Red Sox a 6-0 lead. Through five innings, Pedroia's line read: 2-for-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored.

Bottom of fifth: Red Sox 6, Nationals 3

After he threw four scoreless innings of no-hit ball, Buchholz faltered in the bottom of fifth when he gave up a lead-off single to right to Adam LaRoche. DH Xavier Nady reached on a fielder's choice that wiped out Mark DeRosa (basehit) at second on the force out by shortstop Mike Aviles. With two out and two aboard, Nats catcher Wilson Ramos clobbered a Buchholz four-seam fastball to straightaway center for a 3-run homer that halved the Red Sox lead, 6-3.

Bottom of sixth: Red Sox 6, Nationals 4

Buchholz came out for the sixth, but wasn't long for the game when he served up a lead-off homer to Ian Desmond, who scorched a 2-0 pitch and sent it to the left field bleachers. After getting Danny Espinosa to fly to right and striking out Jordan Zimmerman, Buchholz turned it over to Justin Thomas, who walked LaRoche and then struck out Jayson Werth to end the inning. Buchholz's line: 5.2 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs (earned), 5 strikeouts, 2 home runs. He threw 67 pitches, 45 strikes.

Bottom of seventh: Nationals 7, Red Sox 6

Justin Thomas departed the game after giving up three hits, including an RBI single to left to Ramos, which scored pinch-runner Randolph Oduber,who entered the game for DeRosa, who reached on a basehit. After Roger Bernadina's sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, Thomas turned it over to Michael Bowden, who issued a walk to Desmond to load the bases for Espinosa, who drew a walk himself to score Nady from third with the tying run.

Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice fly to left enabled Ramos to tag-up from third and beat Darnell McDonald's throw to the plate for the go-ahead run.

Top of eighth, no out: Red Sox 7, Nationals 7

Daniel Nava greeted Ryan Mattheus with a 400-foot lead-off solo homer to center field to tie it, 7-7.

Bottom off eighth: Red Sox 7, Nationals 7

In what appeared to be an audition for the closer's role, Alfredo Aceves mowed down the Nationals in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out the last two batters he faced to preserve the tie.

Top of ninth, one out: Red Sox 8, Nationals 7

Jason Repko, fighting for one of the last spots on the 25-man roster, gave the Sox an 8-7 lead when he stroked an RBI single to right off Henry Rodriguez, the fifth reliever the Nationals trotted out of their bullpen. Repko's RBI hit scored reserve catcher Dan Butler, who reached on a lead-off single to center. After Jonathan Hee's sacrifice bunt moved Butler to second, Nick Punto reached on a throwing error by third baseman Steve Lombardozzi, putting men on the corners for Repko. After inducing Nava to fly to left for the second out of the inning, Rodriguez plunked Shoppach on the shoulder, loading the bases for Nate Spears, who struck out looking.

Chorye Spoone has entered the game in the bottom of the ninth to close it for the Sox.

Final: Red Sox 8, Nationals 7

Repko made the game-winning play when he rifled home a throw to the plate to record the final out of the game on Ian Desmond, who walked and stole second and attempted to score on Danny Espinosa's two-out single to right. Alfredo Aceves picked up the win before a crowd of 30,568 at Nationals Stadium.

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