Buchholz sets tone as split-squad Sox top Twins

Righty's three scoreless innings part of staff's 6 1/3 hitless to begin victory

Buchholz sets tone as split-squad Sox top Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox no-hit the Twins for 6 1/3 innings on Saturday afternoon, losing the bid on a slow roller to third by Kennys Vargas.

Clay Buchholz, one of the top candidates to pitch Opening Day for the Red Sox, fired three dominant innings and retired the final eight batters he faced in his Grapefruit League debut as a split squad of Sox topped the Twins, 4-2, on Saturday.

The righty walked Danny Santana to open the game, but quickly erased him with a double play and was untouched for the rest of his outing.

Craig Breslow, Anthony Varvaro and Brandon Workman were the other Red Sox pitchers who didn't allow a hit.

Vargas tapped a roller against Dana Eveland that third baseman Sean Coyle tried to make a play on, but couldn't get a handle on it.

David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval both had RBI singles to lead Boston's offense, with Sean Coyle adding an RBI double in the seventh.

Twins righty Phil Hughes went one inning (plus two batters in the second), allowing three hits and a walk while striking out one.

Hughes took a measure of satisfaction from working his way out of the first after Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia opened the frame with back-to-back singles.

"The last thing you want to do is have first and third with none out and David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval coming up," said Hughes. "It's three pretty good hitters right there, with experience. To be able to work out of a jam like that isn't ideal, but at least I had something positive to take away."

Up next: Right-hander Rick Porcello, acquired in December for Yoenis Cespedes, makes his debut in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Starting catcher Christian Vazquez is on the traveling squad, along with shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The game can be seen live on MLB.TV and heard live with Gameday Audio.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.