This is a cool picture. Sadly, it doesn't really capture the story of the game. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
On a day where one of his primary competitors would give reason for concern, Alfredo Aceves performed admirably in his first official start of the year. While he would give up a run in the second inning on a pair of hits, Aceves struck out four of the last eight hitters he faced, finishing his day with four innings of one-run ball.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, scored a good few off of Kyle Lohse and company. David Ortiz and Ryan Lavarnway got things started with fourth inning doubles before Darnell McDonald brought the latter home with a shot to left field. Dustin Pedroia added a homer of his own in the fifth before three straight sixth-inning walks loaded the bases for the man who is fast becoming a spring training fan favorite: Pedro Ciriaco. After scoring the winning runs against the Marlins and Yankees, Ciriaco was once again up to the task at the plate, bringing two runners home with a double that left the game at 6-4.
You may have noticed that the Cardinals had scored a few more runs somewhere in all that, and that's because Daniel Bard had taken the mound to start the sixth. Giving up a homer to the second batter he faced, Bard would allow three runs to score before escaping the inning.
While a clean seventh would make it seem like Bard was finding a rhythm, the eighth inning would quickly wipe out any hope of that. After giving up just a walk in recording the first two outs, Bard fell apart from there, giving up a single, another walk, and a triple before being pulled from the game. Three straight hits off of Corye Spoone would bring Bard's final tally up to seven runs allowed, and the final score to 9-6, Cardinals.
It's a tough pill to swallow for Bard, but probably not one that will hurt his standing as the expected fourth starter--at least not yet. If players like Aceves and Padilla continue to perform, however, Bard could need some decent results to keep his place in line. Seven earned runs on six hits and four walks isn't going to do it.