ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The last time Felix Doubront won one of his starts, the Red Sox were bonafide a playoff contender. That's an indication of just how long it's been since his last win.
Doubront allowed just one hit over six innings and the Red Sox held off the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-5, for their fourth win in their last five games.
The win snapped Doubront's personal winless streak of eight starts. Before Tuesday, his last win came on July 18, when the Sox were a single game back of the second wild card spot.
Though he give up just one hit, Doubront still yielded three runs in the third when he walked three hitters in a row, then was tagged for a two-run single by Ben Zobrist and a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria.
Five different Red Sox hitters knocked in at least one run, led by Ryan Lavarnway, who had a single and a two-run double to lead the offense.
After going two weeks in which they failed to score five runs in any one game, the Sox have now scored more than five runs twice in the last five games.
The victory also assured the Red Sox of a winning record on this, their second-to-last road swing of the season. The last time the Sox had a winning record in a multi-city trip was June 11-18 when they were 4-2 in Miami and Chicago.
The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.
The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.
Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.
Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack.
The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)
Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.
A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.
Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.
An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.