FT. MYERS, Fla. — The seriousness of the game was decided when Ino Guerrero — a 48-year-old batting practice pitcher — pinch hit during the latter innings. But that’s beside the point: the Red Sox are now playing baseball games again.
The Sox beat Boston College, 7-1, this afternoon in seven innings at City of Palms Park, their first game of the spring. Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, and Junichi Tazawa each submitted a flawless outing, while Chris Carter (three-run double) and Yamaico Navarro (solo home run, RBI single) provided the brunt of the offense.
Beckett started and mowed down all six hitters faced, striking out two while throwing 15 of his 22 pitches for strikes.
“It was nice to get a little adrenaline,” Beckett said. “Obviously, we’ve been facing hitters for six days now, and I just think sometimes on those back fields that’s the only thing lacking. Obviously, you’ve got a hitter standing in there, a few elements that you don’t generally deal with, batting cages and nets in front of you and stuff like that. But it was nice to have the adrenaline. Even though it was a college team, you still have that adrenaline.”
Tazawa earned the win by throwing only four pitches, all of them strikes, in the fifth inning. Buchholz, back in a Red Sox uniform for the first time since last year’s late-season demotion, needed only six pitches, throwing five of them for strikes.
The Eagles actually led for a short while, scoring the game’s first run in the top of the third inning when Mike Belifore blooped an RBI single into right field off lefthander Kris Johnson. The Red Sox — who have not lost to the Eagles in 19 games dating back to 1916 — scored six runs in the fifth.
The players who will be in the lineup against the Twins tonight are now taking infield-outfield practice at City of Palms Park. They’ll get on a bus and head over to Hammond Stadium, home of the Twins, shortly.