FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston starter Clay Buchholz pitched six solid innings in his final spring training start against Washington, then pronounced himself ready for the season.
“My legs felt heavy and I knew I wouldn’t have the best velocity, so I went with two-seamer 90 percent of the time,” Buchholz said Friday, after a 7-2 win over the Nationals. “When I hit the right spot it got some contact, ground balls, and I got a lot of quick outs that way.”
The game was tied 1-all until the Red Sox broke through against Mike McDougal in the sixth inning. Tug Hulett scored on the second of back-to-back wild pitches, and Angel Sanchez and Bill Hall had RBI singles before Jason Varitek had a three-run double.
Buchholz allowed just one run on two hits and a walk. Both hits came in the first inning and Buchholz retired the final 16 Nationals he faced.
“He was 16 of 21 first-pitch strikes, so whatever he was doing was good,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He is attacking the zone down which is real good.”
Scott Olsen, who is competing for the fifth starter job in Washington with Garrett Mock, was also solid in his final spring start. Olsen allowed one run on five hits over five innings, striking out seven.
“We recognize he did a good job against a good ball club,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’s a veteran guy, but it’s impressive to see him out there competing for a job. He’s not taking anything for granted. He’s fighting for his opportunity to start.”
Varitek’s three-run double gave Boston a 7-1 lead, before the Nationals cobbled together a run off of Ramon Ramirez and Daniel Bard in the eighth, when Cristian Guzman’s sacrifice fly brought home Adam Fox.
The teams will play an exhibition game Saturday at Nationals Park as they work they way north. The Red Sox open their season Sunday night at Fenway Park against the New York Yankees, while the Nationals open Monday at home against Philadelphia.