It took Ubaldo Jimenez a little too long to find his rhythm Friday night and the Boston Red Sox took advantage to score three runs in the first inning of a 4-0 victory at JetBlue Park.
He allowed a long leadoff triple to shortstop Marco Hernandez and an RBI single to Chris Young before recording his first out of the game. He also walked Hanley Ramirez and gave up an RBI single and a run-scoring groundout before settling down to retire eight straight batters.
"I didn't have my breaking ball and the sinker was up in the zone," Jimenez said. "They told me I was rushing and my mechanics were a little bit too fast, but in the second inning I was able to get it back."
It was the first rough outing of the spring for Jimenez, who allowed a run in two innings in his spring debut against the New York Yankees and pitched three scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays last Saturday. He allowed a leadoff single in the fourth and was charged with four runs (three earned), but said he feels good at the halfway point of spring training.
"I feel really good," he said. "Physically and mentally everything is good. I'm just throwing the pitches that I need to be ready for the season."
Manager Buck Showalter didn't seem too concerned about the rocky first inning.
"It was just command," he said. "Needed to get the ball where he needed to get it more. He was good after that. We got that fourth up. That was good for him. He ahead of where he was in the past this spring."
Jimenez was replaced by left-hander Chris Lee, who delivered a solid three-inning performance. He allowed just a hit and a walk while striking out four.
Meanwhile, Red Sox starter Kyle Kendrick pitched four scoreless innings and five Red Sox relievers stifled the Orioles' road lineup to complete the six-hit shutout.
Tavarez on top: Rule 5 outfielder Aneury Tavarez started in center field and was in the leadoff spot for Friday night's game, and he made the most of the opportunity to show off his leadoff skills. He singled in each of his first three at-bats and and went from first to third on a groundout to third base in the third inning. Tavarez raised his Grapefruit League batting average from .222 to .333 and has been the most effective hitter among the players competing for the last outfield slot, but still appears to be a long shot to make the 25-man Opening Day roster.
Santander continues to struggle: The other Rule 5 guy, Anthony Santander struck out in his first two at-bats of an 0-for-3 performance as the designated hitter, which left him with 10 strikeouts in his first 20 Grapefruit League at-bats. Showalter has said how much he likes Santander's swing, which is nice since he's seeing a lot of them right now. Santander still has not played in the field because of a shoulder injury.
Brach bounces back: Reliever Brad Brach, who spun out of control during Tuesday's exhibition against the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team, didn't have any trouble shaking off the four-walk performance. He came on after Lee's strong performance and made quick work with a perfect seventh inning.