JUPITER, Fla. — Clay Buchholz pitched into the fifth inning, Pablo Sandoval and Jackie Bradley Jr. each drove in two runs and the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 Monday.

Buchholz gave up one run and five hits in 4-2/3 innings. He missed much of last season with an elbow strain.

“I thought today was a better outing for him,” Boston Manager John Farrell said. “I thought he threw the ball well, a higher number of strikes today.”

Buchholz had allowed four earned runs in 5-1/3 innings earlier this spring. He’ll get two more starts before the regular season.

“The changeup was the pitch that I was wanting to throw more today because it hasn’t been quite there yet,” Buchholz said. “I threw a lot of good changeups today.”

Red Sox reliever Carson Smith left after only five pitches with forearm tightness. Farrell called the move precautionary and said Smith was returning to Fort Myers to be evaluated.

In his 11th Grapefruit League at-bat, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina got his first hit of the spring, a single over shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Molina is still trying to strengthen his left hand following offseason thumb surgery.

Jeremy Hazelbaker took the Cardinals’ spring home run lead with his second, a two-run shot in the ninth.

Travis Shaw doubled twice and singled for Boston.

Left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) threw a successful 30-pitch bullpen session and will have another bullpen session, likely on Wednesday, before facing batters in a live batting practice setting.

 


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