BOSTON -- It wasn't Felix Doubront's night, that's for sure. What was unfortunate for him, was that he had to deal with Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper.
The 19-year-old center-fielder finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBI, two runs scored, and a triple shy of the cycle.
"Harper was amazing," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine afterwards. "Everything he did out there, including catching that ball that Salty hit in the gap. It was the first ball hit hard there, and he came out of nowhere to catch that.
"He hit some pretty good breaking balls off of left-handers, one for a hit to left, and one for a ground-out to short that he almost beat out. He was very impressive."
Doubront struck Harper out in the first inning, but by not having his best stuff, the Nationals' top of the order figured him out after the first time around. Harper smashed a two-run homer to deep right-center in the fourth inning that gave the Nationals a commanding 6-2 lead, and he added the seventh in the sixth inning, putting a ball the other way off Rich Hill.
But by the time Doubront was taken out, even before that seventh run was scored, the damage had already been done.
"Felix was off, obviously," said Valentine. "He wasn't ahead of hitters. He pitched a little more tentatively than he's pitched most of the year. He was working his curve ball early in counts, rather than his two-seamer. He was just a little off tonight, for sure.
"He was working with what he had tonight. Espinosa and Harper gave him some problems."
Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.
Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.
Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double.
The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.
CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games.
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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.