Notes: Crawford hits seventh, McDonald & Lowrie start

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Notes: Crawford hits seventh, McDonald & Lowrie start

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sensing that Carl Crawford was pressing a little too much in his first week with the Red Sox, Terry Francona dropped the outfielder from third in the batting order to seventh Sunday.

"Looking at him, it's kind of obvious he's trying too hard,'' said Francona. "Especially with a lefty (Texas starter Matt Harrison) going today, we'll just kind of let him sit down there (in the order). As soon as he gets on base, the real Carl will come out. In the meantime, we'll take a little heat off him.

"He's a great kid; he's just trying too hard. I think it's an admirable quality. But we're two games in and he's not had real good at-bats. I just want to let him relax a little bit and play.''

Crawford wasn't the only change in the order. Francona also sat J.D. Drew with Darnell McDonald playing in right field and Jed Lowrie playing short over Marco Scutaro.

"I think Mac matches up good against (Harrison) and then we've got J.D. sitting over there if we get into the bullpen,'' said Francona. "And Jed (a switch-hitter), especially right-handed, I wanted to get him in a game.''

With McDonald and Lowrie in the lineup, Jason Varitek is the only position player to not be in the starting lineup or make an appearance.

Sunday's starter Clay Buchholz was 8-3 in 13 starts following a Red Sox defeat in 2010... David Ortiz is the first Red Sox hitter to homer in each of the first two games of a season since Mike Greenwell homered in each of Boston's first three games in 1989...Ortiz's homer Saturday night was No. 351 of his career, moving him past Pawtucket hitting coach Chili Davis into a tie for 80th all time, tying him with Dick Allen.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.