BRADENTON, Fla. -- Led off by starter Clay Buchholz's three hitless innings, five Boston pitchers combined on a four-hitter Sunday as the Red Sox downed the Pirates, 4-1, at McKechnie Field.
Buchholz, who had allowed a run on three hits in his only other outing of the spring, issued a leadoff walk in the third inning to Jordy Mercer for Pittsburgh's only baserunner until the Pirates broke through for three hits in the seventh.
Charlie Morton, unscored upon in five innings in his first two starts, fell behind 2-0 on a two-run single by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second and Mike Carp added a solo homer off him in the third. Carp has two homers and three RBIs this spring -- all in two games against the Pirates, who have reportedly been scouting him in the event they decide to add a veteran lefty-hitting first baseman.
"Sinker," Morton said of the pitch he threw Carp. "I worked him in on his first at-bat [when Carp squibbed a single to the third-base bag], and I stayed in and he was sitting on it. And I missed; the ball really didn't do anything. Pure swing, pure contact."
Up next: Right-hander Jay Jackson, hoping to turn a chance into a job challenge, makes his second spring start as the Pirates host the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. ET at McKechnie Field. Jackson blanked Toronto on one hit for two innings on Wednesday, when he stepped in as Jeff Locke was scratched with a sore right side. A six-year Minor Leaguer with 103 Triple-A games, Jackson has four shutout innings overall in Grapefruit League play.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less