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Early offense plenty as Buchholz sets the tone

Red Sox pitching holds split Pirates squad hitless until seventh inning

Early offense plenty as Buchholz sets the tone play video for Early offense plenty as Buchholz sets the tone

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.

Gregory Polanco led off with a single to deep short off Rubby de la Rosa and was erased on a force-play grounder by Chase d'Arnaud, who stole second before scoring on Chris McGuiness' single.

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.

Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon, the back end of the Pirates' bullpen, each worked a perfect inning with two strikeouts.

Up next: The Red Sox will host the Rays on Monday in Fort Myers, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET (live on MLB.TV), and southpaw Jon Lester will be matched against Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi. Veteran left-hander Chris Capuano and Anthony Ranaudo are also expected to pitch for the Red Sox.

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.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }