JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi was inefficient but effective Thursday.
The Marlins right-hander managed the rare feat of throwing 36 pitches in the first inning without giving up a run. He escaped a bases-loaded jam, and Miami and Boston Red Sox were tied 0-0 when the game was called in the eighth inning because of rain.
Eovaldi, who has yet to allow an earned run in two starts, struck out four in two innings. He was pulled after throwing 49 pitches, even though he had planned on a third inning.
“That first inning kind of killed that,” he said. “I felt fine, but I was trying to do too much with my off-speed pitches.”
Marlins newcomer Jarrod Saltalamacchia, playing against his former team for the first time, went 0 for 2.
The game drew a sellout crowd of 6,427, but most of the Red Sox stars were across the state at the team’s complex in Fort Myers. Boston’s lineup included perhaps only one player who will make their 25-man roster — Jackie Bradley Jr.
“You deal with travel, you deal with availability of players,” manager John Farrell said. “The integrity of the game and what the fans are going to pay to see, you certainly take that into account. But still, our team is our priority, and the individual needs that guys have.”
The starting infield remained back in Fort Myers for a heavy workday of drills, Farrell said.
The Marlins played most of their projected starters but went 2 for 21 against minor league pitching. Marcell Ozuna doubled and Giancarlo Stanton singled.
Deven Marrero had two hits for the Red Sox, who stranded 11 runners.
STARTING TIME: Right-hander Allen Webster, who spent most of 2013 with Triple-A Pawtucket, allowed one hit in three scoreless innings.
Boston right-hander John Lackey threw 38 pitches in a simulated game in Fort Myers and is next expected to pitch three innings in a game.
Eovaldi averaged just under six innings in his 18 starts last year and finished 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA. He wants to go deeper in games this season, and acknowledged the first inning wasn’t a step in that direction.
“I definitely want to try to be more efficient,” he said. “A 36-pitch first inning isn’t going to keep you in the game long.”
TRAINER’S ROOM: Right-hander Henderson Alvarez will pitch Friday for the first time since his no-hitter on the final day of the season. He’ll start and is expected to go two innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Alvarez’s spring training debut was delayed by a shin infection.
Scheduled to pitch this weekend after dealing with visa problems are right-hander Henry Rodriguez on Saturday and right-hander Carlos Marmol on Sunday.
Catcher David Ross, who was sidelined this week by inflammation in his left foot, is scheduled to start Friday against the Braves.
SWITCHING SIDES: Saltalamacchia signed a $21 million, three-year deal with the Marlins after the Red Sox declined to offer him a multiyear deal.
“I hope they go 0-162,” he said before the game. “Now they’re all sleazeballs.”
He was joking. Saltalamacchia helped the Red Sox win the World Series last year, remains close to many of their players and said he’s happy about the way things worked out in the offseason.