Buchholz, Bradley strong in win over Cards

Buchholz, Bradley strong in win over Cards

JUPITER, Fla. -- Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz threw 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball, Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered a two-run double and Travis Shaw continued his terrific Grapefruit League showing to help carry the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday. With the loss, the Cardinals are winless in their last eight games.

Shaw, with his seventh multi-hit game of the spring, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and continues to make a case for the starting third base job. His competition, Pablo Sandoval, went 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI groundout and an RBI double as Boston's designated hitter.

Sandoval's RBI double to center

Bradley's RBI double came after Cardinals starter Marco Gonzales loaded the bases with a pair of walks in the second. Gonzales, who filled in so Jaime Garcia could get his workout on the backfields, threw 30 pitches before that inning ended. The damage could have been much worse, too, had center fielder Randal Grichuk not thrown out Hanley Ramirez at third and made a diving catch in the inning.

Grichuk's throw nails Ramirez

Gonzales' outing ended there, with three walks issued over two innings. He threw 51 pitches, 27 strikes.

"Every time out, I'm trying to do something different, different combinations of pitches, just trying to explore my repertoire as much as I can," Gonzales said. "This is the time to do it, before the season gets going and you have to get ready. I'm always trying to go out and show some different things, and show I'm capable of pitching in any situation."

After the game, the Cardinals optioned the left-hander to Triple-A Memphis, where he will open the season in the rotation.

Buchholz, who had given up seven runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 spring innings, was much sharper in this, his third spring start. He finished 4 2/3 innings on 81 pitches (52 strikes). Jedd Gyorko's third-inning double, one of five Cardinals hits off Buchholz, drove in the only run against the right-hander.

Buchholz's strong start

"I felt good today," said Buchholz. "I threw the curveballs for strike one. When I missed with it, I was able to come back and throw it.

"Fastball command, in to a lefty, that two-seamer, that's not quite there yet, but overall it just seems like there's something to work on every time that you go out, and when you come out of the game you know you can get better at one thing. The fastball would be that for me at this point. I've got to work on that still a little bit, but I feel good."

The Red Sox, who have won three straight, also benefited from a pair of nice defensive plays by their infielders. Ramirez showed quick hands at first base by snaring a liner to open the second inning. Brock Holt then showcased his range to make a terrific stop on Gyorko's hit up the middle in the fifth.

Holt's great defensive play

Cardinals left fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, who replaced Matt Carpenter in the lineup in the leadoff spot, brought St. Louis within a run of Boston with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when he sent a two-run homer over the right-field wall off lefty Robbie Ross Jr. Ross then struck out Carlos Peguero to end the game.

Hazelbaker's two-run home run

Up next for the Red Sox: The competition for the fifth starter continues on Tuesday afternoon, when knuckleballer Steven Wright pitches at 1:05 p.m. ET in Jupiter against the Marlins. Lefty Henry Owens, who is now a long shot to win a job in the rotation, will also see action. Ramirez, Sandoval, Mookie Betts and Bradley Jr. are all expected to be in the lineup.

Up next for the Cardinals: Following an off-day on Tuesday, the Cardinals will return to Grapefruit League action on Wednesday in a home game against the Marlins. Carlos Martinez is slated to face Miami starter Tom Koehler. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.