Gast struggles with command in spring debut
Descalso homers; Craig, Chambers add RBIs, as Cards offense tallies seven hits
JUPITER, Fla. -- A pair of perfect innings for Red Sox ace Jon Lester highlighted Boston's first victory of the Grapefruit League season. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals, 5-3, at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Lester threw 24 pitches, including 17 strikes, and retired all six batters he faced. Relievers Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller followed with a scoreless inning apiece.
"Their pitching staff came loaded," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of the Red Sox. "We need guys to put together good at-bats. There were some guys who were still a little off, but early on, that's par for the course."
Cardinals starter John Gast served up a pair of runs in the second inning, which the Red Sox began with three consecutive singles and a walk. Pedro Ciriaco drove home the first run with a bloop single to center. After a walk to Mitch Maier, Gast induced a double play that allowed another runner to score.
Gast, likely to start for Triple-A Memphis this season, threw 28 of his 45 pitches for strikes. Tyler Lyons relieved Gast and tossed two scoreless innings. The left-handed Lyons retired six straight after allowing a leadoff single in the third.
Infielder Daniel Descalso put the Cardinals on the board with a solo homer in the fifth off reliever Joel Hanrahan. Descalso, who is competing for the Cardinals' second-base job, played third for five innings on Sunday.
The Red Sox answered with two runs in the sixth off lefty reliever Sam Freeman. Former Cardinal farmhand Mark Hamilton drew a bases-loaded walk, and Ciriaco followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Allen Craig and a sacrifice fly from Adron Chambers in the bottom of the sixth. Both runs were scored off Andrew Miller.
The Red Sox tacked on a run in the eighth on an RBI single from J.C. Linares off reliever Eric Fornataro.
Up next for the Red Sox: Boston will play a pair of 1:05 p.m. ET split-squad road games on Monday, both of which can be heard live on Gameday Audio. Right-hander Alfredo Aceves will start in Port Charlotte, Fla., in the first of five meetings between the Red Sox and Rays this spring. Further north in Dunedin, Fla., righty Steven Wright will take the mound against the Blue Jays. Allen Webster and Chris Carpenter are scheduled to follow him.
Up next for the Cardinals: Ace Adam Wainwright will make his spring debut on Monday in a home game against Houston, the newest member of the American League. The start could be the first of as many as seven spring appearances for Wainwright, who is expected to be the team's Opening Day starter. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT, and all the action can be heard live on Gameday Audio.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.