The Red Sox took an early lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night and never let go, picking up their second Grapefruit League victory over the club in two days.
While this did not end up being the sort of 16-run blowout Thursday provided, it looked like it after the first inning. Taking the mound for the Pirates, Jeff Locke was hopeless against the front half of Boston's lineup, allowing five straight batters to reach base. While Jacoby Ellsbury would give away an out while trying to stretch a single into a double, walks to Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino and a single from Mike Napoli that came back and got a piece of Locke quickly brought Pedroia in for the first run. Stephen Drew unloaded a double to right field behind him, plating Victorino, and after a wild pitch allowed Mike Napoli to score it was 3-0.
While Locke struggled, Jon Lester and Rubby De La Rosa were exceptional on the mound for Boston. Allowing just two hits and a walk between them in five innings of work, the pair managed to keep the ball on the ground with remarkable consistency, keeping the Pirates from ever really posing a serious threat in the first half of the game.
In the fifth, the Sox would extend their lead to 5-0 when Dustin Pedroia knocked in Justin Henry (running for Jacoby Ellsbury) and Pedro Ciriaco. They wouldn't end up needing the extra cushion, but it would help to make the game a lot more comfortable when the pitching finally ran into a speed bump. After working his way through the sixth and seventh, Steven Wright lost control of his knuckle ball and, after walking two batters to start the inning, could not find an alternative. A pair of singles from Jeff Larish and former Sox prospect Jerry Sands (if you count a few months in the offseason) proved enough to push both runners in, leaving the lead back at three runs.
The rally would stop there for the Pirates, however, courtesy of a timely relief appearance from Alex Wilson. And while Pittsburgh would threaten again with a pair of ninth-inning hits off the Pawtucket reliever, a double play ball off the bat of Tony Sanchez was enough to end the threat and secure a 5-2 win for Boston.