Defense Shines As Red Sox Top Twins Again

John Lackey just wasn't at his best today. He wasn't missing a ton of bats, he only struck out two, and he gave up his first walk of the spring.

So how is it he left the game having given up one run over five innings? It's all about the defense. The new left side of the Red Sox' infield went to work, making out after out. Adrian Beltre especially seemed to be all over the place, making plays at third, in front of short, in front of the mound, and even at second. The Twins' only run off of Lackey came on a Jim Thome home run, for which there is, obviously, no defense.

Offensively, the Sox were just as quiet against opposing starter Nick Blackburn, who after giving up a leadoff single to Marco Scutaro retired more than ten straight Red Sox. It was only in the 5th that the Red Sox managed to break through, loading the bases before a Tug Hullet groundout and a Marco Scutaro single plated three runs.

The biggest concern going into the regular season for the Red Sox has to be the bullpen. Manny Delcarmen, relieving John Lackey in the sixth, did nothing to quiet those fears. Manny was wild as can be, giving up a walk and hitting two Twins en route to allowing two earned runs in the process of recording five outs. His velocity remained down around 90 for the entire outing. It's hard to feel good about MDC these days.

While Delcarmen allowed the Twins to tie the game, the Red Sox offense wasn't done. Ryan Kalish blooped a single between three twins defenders, and came around to score from first on a Nate Spears triple to right field. Spears was knocked in himself by an Aaron Bates single, setting up the final 5-3 score.

Following MDC out of the pen, Scott Schoeneweis had his first solid outing of the spring, allowing only a walk in a scoreless inning. Joe Nelson, his competition for the final bullpen spot, managed to keep up, though, allowing two hits in his own scoreless inning.

The Red Sox will play one more game in Fort Myers against the Nationals before heading to Washington to take them on in their park. Then it's on to Fenway for Opening Day.

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