Splitting their squad to play two games against the Orioles, the Sox have emerged with a win at home and a tie on the road Saturday afternoon.
Starting the home game, Josh Beckett put on a fine performance. Allowing just three baserunners all day, the only damage done to Beckett in his five innings of work came in the fourth, when a leadoff walk and a single would lead to the Orioles' first run. While the Sox' righty ace would walk away with just a pair of strikeouts, he induced nine ground balls, keeping the Orioles from mounting any real offensive threat.
The Boston lineup, meanwhile, was having rather greater success against Armando Galarraga. Lars Anderson and Dustin Pedroia combined for the first run in the bottom of the third before Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, Nick Punto, and once again Lars Anderson contributed to a three-run attack in the fourth. Ross would again make his presence known in the bottom of the fifth, taking Brad Bergesen deep with Alex Hassan and Jacoby Ellsbury on base to make it 7-1.
The Orioles would climb back in the late innings, scoring three runs off of Junichi Tazawa, but never came any closer than 7-4.
After a strong three-inning start from Aaron Cook, the road game would be rather messier. The Sox would take a 3-0 lead in the fifth when Ryan Lavarnway and Pedro Ciriaco scored on Nate Spears' home run, but an errant pickoff throw from Clayton Mortensen and a passed ball by Luis Exposito would cost the Sox two runs that needn't have scored in the sixth.
The Sox would still hold a lead entering the ninth inning, but failed to hold on with two outs as Doug Mathis allowed a double and single to give the Orioles the tie. With neither side producing in the tenth, the game ended in a 3-3 draw.
Josh Beckett remains Boston's most consistent starter this spring. While we'd all hope for more strikeouts when the year comes around, seeing any sign of last year's Beckett is very encouraging.
Ryan Lavarnway is coming alive, and now has five hits in five at bats to leapfrog Darnell McDonald in batting average.
Cody Ross and Nate Spears for their long ball contributions.
Lars Anderson is quietly on fire. Hope springs eternal?
Junichi Tazawa remains eminently hittable. All the rallies he allows seem to last forever.
Clayton Mortensen allowed seven hits in under three innings, and yet still might have escaped unharmed...if he hadn't thrown that ball away. Yikes!