FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — In a matchup of two of the American League’s top young pitchers, neither Max Scherzer nor Clay Buchholz had his best stuff.
Scherzer was a bit better, though, allowing two runs and two hits while pitching into the fifth and the Detroit Tigers beat a Boston Red Sox split squad 8-3 on Friday.
Scherzer allowed three walks and struck out two.
“He didn’t have good command, but he was alright,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.” Behind too many hitters, I’m sure he’d tell you that. But he threw the ball well, made some good pitches, just was behind too much. But he’ll get that going. I’m not worried about that.”
Buchholz went four innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with one strikeout.
“I struggled with command with every pitch,” Buchholz said. “I could never get comfortable on the mound. Trying to make adjustments with my release point and went to both ends of the spectrum. Definitely not one of my best outings. Faced a little bit of adversity with runners on in just about every inning. You learn from it. Still spring. Have a couple more outings and I’ll go from there.”
Buchholz threw 76 pitches, 42 for strikes.
“I thought he fought his command a little bit today, right from the beginning,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “But he increased his workload by about 20 pitches, which is good. He’s got two more starts. I just think he didn’t command as good as he normally will.”
For Detroit, Ryan Raburn went 1 for 4 with a three-run home run of Hideki Okajima. Brennan Boesch had a solo homer off Buchholz, and Andy Dirks had a two-run homer off Brandon Duckworth. All three Detroit players are vying for a spot in the Tigers outfield.
“You just keep watching,” Leyland said. “You don’t go by somebody getting a hit one day and not getting a hit the next day. You try to evaluate and make a decision for what’s best for the club.
“If you hit like Dirks did, doesn’t matter who you hit it off of. He smoked it. Don’t want to take anything away from that. Boesch hit one off a pretty good big league pitcher.”
Boesch was happy to face Buchholz, who Francona recently named Boston’s No. 3 starter.
“It’s good to face those guys in spring, prepare for the season,” Boesch said.
Ryan Kalish went 2 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and two stolen bases for Boston. He leads the team with five stolen bases.
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