The Red Sox suffered defeat for the first time this spring thanks to a disastrous debut from Theo Epstein compensation piece Chris Carpenter.
While Carpenter would be the one to ultimately give away the game, the Red Sox spent much of the day frustrated by the St. Louis pitching staff. Jaime Garcia got the Cardinals off to a fast start, striking out Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the first two at bats of the game before getting Darnell McDonald and Will Middlebrooks to whiff as well in his second perfect inning of work.
Opposite Garcia, Josh Beckett worked his longest outing of the young spring. And while he wouldn't pack the same strikeout punch as Garcia, he proved even more effective in providing scoreless innings. Despite giving up a double to Matt Holliday and a single to Rafael Furcal on line drive, Beckett was generally able to force the Cardinals to hit ground balls, which proved key with the slick defensive infield of Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias, and Will Middlebrooks behind him. Iglesias in particular showed his usual flashy glove, earning praise from Beckett after his day was done.
Felix Doubront, on the other hand, found himself facing some difficulty in his second inning of work. After escaping the fourth unharmed with the help of a double play, Doubront would run into trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with a single and a pair of walks. Again, however, the young lefty was able to avoid damage, inducing a groundout to end the threat.
It wouldn't be until the sixth when all the baserunners finally caught up to him. This time allowing a leadoff single and walk, Doubront was finally pulled from the game for Jesse Carlson, who would load the bases and allow all three runs to score on a triple before the inning was over.
Now trailing 3-0, the Red Sox would match the Cardinals' feat in the top of the eighth when Mitchell Boggs allowed Juan Carlos Linares and Pedro Ciraico to reach on a bloop and a bunt. While Boggs would manage to retire the next two batters, a walk to Jason Repko loaded the bases for Jose Iglesias, who pulled off what is a rare feat for him: an extra-base hit--albeit on a ground ball. The bases would clear, with Iglesias pulling into third with the three tying runs credited to his name.
The tie would not last long, however, as Chris Carpenter came on to show the Red Sox his worst side. Walking the first two batters he faced, Carpenter would finally find the zone when he allowed a line drive single to Tony Cruz. With the bases now loaded, Carpenter once again returned to throwing balls and committed the cardinal sin of walking in a run before being pulled for Garret Mock, who would allow all three of Carpenter's baserunners to score as well as two of his own, leaving the final score at 9-3.