BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Victor Martinez and Bill Hall hit their first home runs of spring training to lead the Boston Red Sox past the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 on Wednesday.
Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm. Martinez is batting .265 with only three RBIs this spring.
Hall hit a solo shot in the second inning, and Mike Cameron added a solo shot in the fourth.
Maholm had allowed just one home run over his first four spring starts.
“The home runs aren’t a bright spot on my day, but that is part of the process of spring training,” Maholm said.
Boston right-hander Josh Beckett racked up nine strikeouts in five innings, fanning seven of nine batters in one stretch. He gave up three hits and two walks.
“Every day’s getting better and today was by far my best day in two weeks,” Beckett said.
Beckett’s strength no longer is an issue. After leaving the game, Beckett threw some extra pitches in the bullpen to get his pitch count past 95.
“I’d like to stick around 95 pitches (the rest of spring),” Beckett said. “The most important thing today was that I felt good and I finished all my pitches. I felt like I could throw any pitch in any count. That’s the feel you want to get by the end of spring training.”
Mike Lowell, who got a late start in spring training as he recovered from offseason thumb surgery, made his second straight start at second base for the Red Sox.
“He seems pretty comfortable there,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He’s always had the ability to get low and slow things down. He does pretty good.”
But as Beckett cruised through the Pirates’ lineup, Lowell didn’t get much work at first base. He fielded one grounder.
“With Josh on the mound, there aren’t too many lefties who are straight pulling the ball,” Lowell said. “I’m feeling more comfortable. I got a ball in the first, I had to hold a few runners on.”
Pirates closer Octavio Dotel, who’s been out due to a strained oblique, was a bit wild in his first appearance of the spring. Dotel tossed one scoreless inning. He issued a leadoff walk, hit a batter, got one strikeout and threw a wild pitch. Dotel threw 22 pitches, 12 of them balls.
NOTES: X-rays were negative on 2B Dustin Pedroia’s sprained wrist. “He’s already lobbying to play,” Francona said. Pedroia will take batting practice Thursday and is expected to play for Boston on Friday. … Minor league call-up Jeremy Farrell homered for the Pirates. Farrell’s father, John, is Boston’s pitching coach. … Delwyn Young hit a two-run homer for the Pirates, his sixth of the spring.