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Red Sox 4, Pirates 3


Red Sox 4, Pirates 3
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Paul Maholm made one spring-training start too many.

Maholm allowed three runs in four innings of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.

"Today was the first day I felt bad," said Maholm, who has a 1.52 ERA in six spring starts. "I threw just two breaking balls for strikes, which isn't normal.

"I'm ready to get out of here. I'm glad that Monday will be the start of the regular season and we can get after it. Seven weeks in sunny Florida is way too long."

Boston's Chip Ambres hit a pair of homers, including a tiebreaking shot in the ninth inning off Daniel Haigwood. Ambres connected for a three-run drive in the fourth, snapping Maholm's spring scoreless streak at 18 2-3 innings.

Maholm will make his first opening-day start Monday against the Cardinals. Last season he led the Pirates with nine victories and a 3.71 ERA.

Red Sox ace Josh Beckett also struggled, giving up three runs in 3 2-3 innings on seven hits. He struck out four and walked one. He gave up a two-run home run to Pirates outfielder Nate McLouth. The Pirates added a run in the fourth on consecutive singles by Jack Wilson, Craig Monroe and Nyjer Morgan.

"He's had a good camp," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He's looked strong, he's looked sharp."

Beckett went 12-10 with a 4.03 ERA last season, but Francona knows Beckett wasn't satisfied.

"Physically, it was a fight for him the whole year," Francona said.

Francona expects Beckett to assume the role of ace now that Curt Schilling is retired.

"He enjoys the responsibility of that," Francona said. "He expects to win. When we had Schill here, you're always walking that line of showing respect to the veteran, which (Beckett) did. But I don't think he tried to win any less."

Chris Carter and Rocco Baldelli hit back-to-back singles in the fourth. With two outs, Ambres drove an 0-1 fastball over the left field wall for a three-run homer.

Notes: The Pirates optioned right-hander Virgil Vasquez to Triple-A, making righty Jeff Karstens the No. 5 starter. ... The Pirates reassigned pitchers Denny Bautista, Jason Davis and Chris Bootcheck, infielders Andy Phillips and Garrett Jones, outfielder Jeff Salazar and catcher Erik Kratz to minor league camp. ... Lefty Phil Dumatrait (shoulder) will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. ... Boston's Brad Penny (shoulder) is slated to throw about 80 pitches Thursday against Minnesota. Penny is on track to make his first regular turn April 12 against the Los Angeles Angels, though he might need one more start to build arm strength. "If he's ready, good," Francona said. "If not, we don't want to force the issue."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 1, 2009

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