Wacha strikes out 4 over 2 perfect innings in spring debut, Cardinals fall to Red Sox 3-0



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JUPITER, Florida — Michael Wacha hopes to put an injury-filled 2014 behind.

Wacha retired all six batters he faced in his spring training debut, and six Boston Red Sox pitchers combined on a six-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

Wacha struck out four and threw 27 pitches in two perfect innings.

A postseason sensation in 2013, Wacha missed most of last year because of an injured right shoulder. He pitched to big league hitters for the first time since allowing a three-run homer in the ninth inning to San Francisco's Travis Ishikawa in the clinching Game 5 of the NL Championship Series last October.

"I was real happy with the outcome and the way the whole body felt, real excited about getting that first one and moving forward," Wacha said.

Boston center fielder Mookie Betts saved at least one run when he took a hit away from Yadier Molina with a running catch with two outs and the bases loaded in the second. Betts also hit an RBI single with two outs in the seventh.

Red Sox left-hander Wade Miley worked three scoreless innings in his second outing.

St. Louis wasted a scoring opportunity in the first when Randal Grichuk walked and had second base stolen — until he left the base believing he had been called out. Matt Adams followed with a double.

"The second baseman was fooled too. They both heard something that sounded like out," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, referring to Brock Holt. "It probably wouldn't be the first time in spring training you see a sign safe and hear an out call. Not saying that's what happened, but something threw them both off."

BACK ON FAMILIAR TURF

Allen Craig, traded by the Cardinals to the Red Sox last July, started in left field against his former team, went 0 for 4 and left two runners in scoring position. After hitting a major-league best .454 with runners in scoring position in 2013 and .315 overall, Craigh slumped to a .215 average overall year and is likely a reserve. "Last year was last year," Craig said. "It was a big offseason for me, and I feel like I accomplished a lot. I feel like I'm in a good spot."

STARTING TIME

Wacha uses a changeup for three of his strikeouts. His fastball reached 95 mph and he threw a knee-buckling 72 mph curve. "I had a good feel," Wacha said of the 72 mph offspeed pitch. "Fastball command wasn't exactly where I wanted it but other than that, was happy."

Red Sox left-hander Wade Miley pitched three scoreless innings in his second start, allowing two of three hits to left-handed batters.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn, who left his Sunday start early because of a left hip flexor, was held out of workouts Monday. Matheny said tests showed Lynn sustained a mild strain.

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, initially scheduled to play Monday, was given an additional day to rest his sore legs, at the recommendation of the Red Sox training staff. Victorino underwent back surgery last August and experienced tightness in his legs after sliding into third base last week. He is expected to play Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Carlos Martinez is to make his second start when the Cardinals travel to Kissimmee to play Houston on Tuesday.

After two games on Florida's East Coast, the Red Sox return to Fort Myers to face the Tampa Bay Tuesday. Right-hander Justin Masterson is scheduled to start.

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