SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Jon Lester got into a major league spring training game for the first time this year, and his pitching line looked a bit better than he felt.
Lester allowed one run and a hit in four innings Sunday as the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1.
His two previous appearances this year were two innings in a 25-0 win over Northeastern and 2 2/3 innings in a “B” game against Minnesota.
“About halfway through the second, I finally got into a little bit of a rhythm,” Lester said. “We had a hard time kind of figuring out where the plate was. We were just missing on a lot of pitches.”
Lester, 14-0 against Baltimore during the regular season, walked four and struck out two. The only hit he gave up was an RBI single to Adam Jones in the first.
“I really liked what I saw of Jon Lester,” Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. “He had good stuff and he had to make an adjustment during those innings.”
Working with a new catcher, Kelly Shoppach, Lester admitted that he was trying to get comfortable with him — as well as with plate umpire Chad Fairchild’s strike zone.
“He was setting up just a little bit off and just not getting the calls. So it’s spring training, trying to figure out the umpires too,” Lester said.
Five pitchers combined on a three-hitter. Aaron Cook, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox after 10 years with Colorado, pitched a hitless sixth and seventh innings in his first appearance of spring training. He walked two and struck out one.
“It felt really good,” Cook said. “First inning I was a little amped up. Felt like a little kid.”
Dustin Pedroia had two hits and two RBIs. His two-out double off Dana Eveland in the second gave Boston a 3-1 lead.
Eveland gave up three runs — one earned — and six hits in two innings. In two starts, both against the Red Sox, he has allowed eight hits in four innings.
“Not very good,” Eveland said. “I threw way too many pitches and gave up way too many hits.”
Besides Pedroia, Boston brought along regulars Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz.
“Against this lineup, you can’t really make many mistakes, and I paid for every one I made,” Eveland said. “That’s the difference between having a good outing and a bad one. They hit every mistake I made.”
NOTES: The Orioles unilaterally renewed the contract of C Matt Wieters on Saturday. “I’m not disappointed,” he said. “Your first three years, the team can pay you whatever they want.” Red Sox SS Julio Iglesias is out with a right groin injury. Orioles RHP Darren O’Day was scratched due to a groin injury. The teams also met in a “B” game that began at 10 a.m. on a back field. The Orioles used pitchers Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton, Jim Johnson and Willie Eyre. All have been sidelined by injuries. Boston OF Carl Crawford, rehabbing from January surgery on his left wrist, “had a full day’s activity,” Valentine said. “He’s feeling good about his throwing. And he’s just about ready, we don’t want to say what day. It’s a very monitored program he’s on.” Red Sox LHP Andrew Miller, hampered by a stiff left elbow, threw on flat ground, and could throw in the bullpen Tuesday.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)