Quick hits: Sox 7, Cardinals 6

March, 8, 2010
The outcome: Sox kids are making a habit of being the catalysts of late-inning rallies. A day after Mark Wagner's home run broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth, Jose Iglesias hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth, and Josh Reddick and Che-Hsuan Lin delivered the ninth-inning hits that made 7-6 winners over a skeleton Cardinals squad. Albert Pujols was scheduled to make the trip, but went to a chiropractor instead because of some back stiffness. The Cards decided a 138-mile bus trip would have no upside for Pujols.

The notable: Josh Beckett was superb in breezing through a nine-up, nine-down three innings, striking out three. Beckett threw 35 pitches, 25 for strikes.

"I felt like I located, I got the ball down well," Beckett said. "I got some ground balls in the first inning, then really got my legs under me in the second.''

Three Sox relievers -- Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez -- each pitched a hitless inning before the Cardinals broke through in the seventh, with Shane Robinson doubling off Manny Delcarmen with one out to break up the spring-training no-no.

Red Sox reliever Dustin Richardson, competing for a left-handed spot out of the bullpen, left in the eighth with what manager Terry Francona called a tired quad. "I wouldn't even call it an injury,'' he said.

David Ortiz had his first hit of the spring, an opposite-field single.

Prospect update: It was another sweet day for Iglesias, who didn't hesitate when asked what was the most fun he's had this spring. "The home run,'' he said. Reddick also had a nice day with a double and triple, and the Taiwanese-born Lin won it with his ninth-inning hit.

Progress report: Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw his next bullpen Wednesday, so that pitching coach John Farrell can return from Jupiter to see it. Jason Varitek was still away attending to a serious family matter; there is an outside chance he'll be back Friday night.

Up next: The Red Sox go to Jupiter for the first of three games in four days on the other side of the state, this one against the Marlins. Hope the folks who snapped up tickets for that one aren't expecting to see many big-leaguers: Jacoby Ellsbury and Tim Wakefield are the only names on the traveling squad. Everyone else will stay behind and work out.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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