FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz looked sharp on the mound, and his Boston Red Sox teammates certainly appeared comfortable at the plate.
Buchholz worked two scoreless innings in his first start of the spring and the Red Sox jumped on the Reds with 12 runs in the first three innings of a 16-5 victory Saturday night.In the second game of their split doubleheader after beating Northeastern University 14-0 in the first game, the Red Sox had 20 hits. Brad Wilkerson went 2-for-4 with Boston's first homer of the spring, and two RBIs, while Jason Varitek went 1-for-3 with four RBIs, and Chris Carter went 3-for-5 with one RBI and a run scored."I don't care how long you're at the ballpark or how many games you've seen, it's still nice to watch the guys swing the bat and run the bases and do some things early," manager Terry Francona said. "We jumped out early and everybody got a bunch of at-bats, even the guys that went in (as replacements) had a couple, three at-bats, which is good."Buchholz threw 21 of his 35 pitches for strikes, gave up one hit and struck out one. The outing was a confidence builder after his disappointing 2008, when he was 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA before being sent to Double-A Portland in August."There's no doubt in my mind that I know that I have the physical ability to do anything I want to do in this game," Buchholz said. "It's just a lot harder than a lot of people think it is as far as the mental side of the game. And that's where I had to build a lot on this offseason, was talking to people and listening to what their past experiences were."The Red Sox batted around in the first inning, scoring four runs, and added six runs in the second, sending 11 batters to the plate.For Buchholz, the outing was also an improvement over what he did during last year's spring training, when he posted a record of 1-3 with a 10.03 ERA."It seemed like a slow start and I was always waiting for it to get better during spring training, and then the season came and it still hadn't gotten any better," Buchholz said of last spring. "So, definitely, that's what I wanted to go out there and do. I wanted to throw some pitches down in the zone, get groundballs and get some outs and that was my goal."I went out there today not to try to strike everybody out, but to get balls in play and let the hitters get themselves out."Reds starter Nick Masset was charged with the loss, allowing four runs on four hits, a walk, a hit batter, and a wild pitch in one inning.