Starter pitches into fifth inning through multiple jams
By Mark Bowman and Ian Browne
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pedro Ciriaco cleared the bases with a three-run double off Clay Buchholz and Julio Teheran completed six strong innings as the Braves claimed a 4-2 win in a rain-shortened game over the Red Sox on Friday afternoon at Champion Stadium. Ciriaco's second-inning double accounted for the only runs Buchholz allowed until his day concluded with Kelly Johnson's leadoff homer in the sixth inning. The only two runs Teheran allowed over 5 ⅔ innings came via Mookie Betts' fourth-inning homer.
KJ stays hot: As Johnson's sixth-inning homer dented the video board above the right-center field wall, there was greater reason to believe he will gain a spot on Atlanta's Opening Day roster. After getting off to a slow start, he has strengthened his candidacy with seven hits, including two homers, in his past 18 at-bats.
Marvelous Mookie: Betts continued his monster Spring Training by going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and reaching in three of his four plate appearances, bringing his average to 447. For good measure, Betts also stole a base and made a diving catch in center field to get starter Buchholz out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ciriaco stays in the mix: Because he has traditionally performed well during Spring Training and then struggled when subjected to a greater array of breaking pitches in the regular season, Ciriaco has not garnered much attention despite hitting .370 this spring. But his bases-clearing double off Buchholz at least kept him in the mix to begin the season on Atlanta's bench.
Buchholz battles out of trouble: Though Buchholz didn't put together an ideal linescore on Friday, giving up 12 hits and four runs over five-plus innings, he took satisfaction in being able to work out of some jams. Entering this start, Buchholz had a 1.80 ERA, so he hadn't had many messy innings. Buchholz had at least one baserunner in every inning this time. In the fifth, Buchholz battled out of a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run.
QUOTABLE: "Yeah, and he wanted to check in on Mickey," -- Red Sox manager John Farrell on Dustin Pedroia coming to Disney to serve as the DH in Friday's game against the Braves.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Betts has 11 extra-base hits, the most by a Red Sox player in Spring Training since Josh Reddick had 12 in 2010.
Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez underwent an MRI back in Fort Myers, Fla., on his injured right right elbow. Though Vazquez has been playing in Minor League games of late, he's been restricted with his throwing intensity until the club gets a better indication on the injury.
Braves utility man Joey Terdoslavich is scheduled to return to the lineup for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. Terdoslavich's roster bid has weakened as he has been sidelined since Sunday with a left hand injury.
Braves Up Next: Alex Wood will start Saturday afternoon's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., on MLB.TV. Wood will attempt to complete at least five innings. The battle for the final available spots in Atlanta's bullpen will also resume as James Russell, Arodys Vizcaino, Michael Kohn and Juan Jaime are all scheduled to pitch.
Mark Bowman and Ian Browne are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.