BOSTON Although he gave a up a first-inning run, continuing a disconcerting trend by Red Sox pitchers, Felix Doubront held the White Sox scoreless over the rest of six-inning outing Wednesday night, as the Red Sox beat Chicago, 10-1 at Fenway Park. Doubront improves his record to 10-4 with a 4.24 ERA.Doubront, who spent spring training vying for both a roster spot and spot in the rotation, is the first Sox pitcher to reach the 10-win plateau this season. On a staff that included presumptive elite pitchers, that fact does not go unnoticed. It has surprised even Doubront.A lot, he said. But since I came to spring training I was working so hard to be here and to be in this spot. Just working to get more wins and whatever happens Im going to keep fighting to get more wins.Felix Doubronts been our most consistent pitcher all year. Obviously he has 10 wins, manager Bobby Valentine said. I guess coming out of spring training, Vegas would have given you pretty good odds that he would not have been the first one on our staff with 10 wins. But hes been consistent.Doubront opened the game with consecutive singles to Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Youkilis before getting Adam Dunn to ground into a double play. But Paul Konerko, playing in his 2,000th career game with the White Sox, singled to drive in De Aza.Doubront held the White Sox at bay the rest of the way. In six innings, he gave up just one run on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts.He got the double play ball in the first inning and got upset that he let the two-out hit fall in there and then he shut the door, Valentine said. His changeup was really good. He wasnt afraid to throw inside when he had to. Had his two-seamer working. Hes a good pitcher.In a season when those presumptive elite pitchers have been inconsistent, Doubront has provided a measure of consistency. In 18 outings he posted his 10th quality start of the season, tied for most on the staff, while becoming the staff stopper. In eight starts following a Sox loss, including Wednesday, he has posted a record of 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA. The Sox are 7-1 in those games.He caught my eye in his first bullpen that I ever saw because he was kind of off the radar, Valentine said. He had pitched some winter ball so he was a little ahead of the other guys. So it was easy for him to stand out. But he maintained really good bullpens, as I remember, really good outings. His two-inning outings, his four-inning outings. He was a slam dunk to make the team as far as I was concerned.Doubront has been the beneficiary of tremendous run support. He leads all major league qualifiers with an average of 8.38 runs of support per start. Knowing he is likely to get that kind of support can only help his approach on the mound, even when working with a quick deficit.Sox pitchers have given up a total of 76 first-inning runs this season, their highest total of any inning. They have allowed at least one run in the first inning in 15 of the last 17 games at Fenway, including the last 10 in a row.I know the team is going to score runs, Doubront said. We got a good team, great hitters. I wasnt worried about that. Just good pitching. I figured out a couple things. In the first inning I was a little bit off.Its amazing... to see a lot of scoring, that helped me to keep throwing the ball and get confidence to stay for six or seven inningsIn trouncing the White Sox, Doubront was backed by Cody Ross two three-run home runs, and four RBI from Adrian Gonzalez.Felix was outstanding tonight, said Ross. He got himself in a little trouble, in a bind early in that first inning and managed to get out of it and then was just dominant after that. Flipping his curve ball over, getting some swing and misses on that and getting a lot of ground ball outs. He pitched outstanding and the bullpen came in and did an outstanding job.Doubront is now 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA against American League Central teams this season.When a team gets a lead like that, and a pitcher gets a lead like that, hes taught to go out there and really pound the strike zone, said Konerko. He got better after he got that big lead and thats what youre supposed to do.
Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.
He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.
Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.
Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17.
With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games.
The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings.
The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.