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Buchholz's sparkling spring ERA intact vs. Pirates

Righty allows just one run in 5 1/3 innings, moves Grapefruit League mark to 0.96

Buchholz's sparkling spring ERA intact vs. Pirates play video for Buchholz's sparkling spring ERA intact vs. Pirates

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz continued his dominant Spring Training by firing 5 1/3 strong innings, but Pedro Alvarez's homer in the eighth led the Pirates to a 5-3 win over the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon at JetBlue Park.

Buchholz gave up four hits and a run while walking one and striking out five. In five Grapefruit League starts, he has an 0.96 ERA.

"Everything feels good," Buchholz said. "It feels good to throw good. All the pitches are coming along. There's a few here and there that I'm trying a little too hard to make them a better pitch than what I should. At least they're good misses -- down, for the most part. Everything is rolling along now."

It has been a recurring theme for Boston's starting rotation this spring.

"Yeah, and we're seeing it consistently with the guys starting out ballgames," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He kept the game under control. To see the consistency is extremely encouraging."

Jacoby Ellsbury provided two hits from the leadoff spot, including a double. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also had two hits while scoring a run and driving in a run. Will Midddlebrooks belted a triple and scored a run.

Making his third start against the Red Sox this spring, Pirates lefty Jeff Locke allowed seven hits and three runs -- two of them earned -- over four innings.

A New Hampshire native, Locke has enjoyed being able to pitch against Boston.

"[Dustin] Pedroia and Ellsbury are pretty cool -- those are pretty cool guys to see up there," Locke said. "A lot of the other guys I played with in the Minor Leagues: [Jose] Iglesias and Middlebrooks and those guys. It was a lot of fun out there, to go from watching them on your couch to pitching against them in a game. It was a lot of fun."

Garrett Jones smashed a solo homer for the Pirates in the top of the second.

Up next: Manager John Farrell will bring his "A" lineup to Clearwater, Fla., for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Phillies. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will all be in the lineup. Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard are scheduled to work out of the bullpen. Minor Leaguer Brandon Workman will make the start. For the Phillies, lefty Cliff Lee draws the start and ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon is expected to pitch.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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