Buchholz solid as Red Sox beat Rays 8-4Boston Red Sox' Cody Ross rounds third on his solo home run off Tampa Bay Rays starter Matt Moore, right, during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Port Charlotte, Fla., Sunday, March 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) - After working on offspeed pitches in a simulated game, Clay Buchholz focused on them some more Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Relying on his curveball and changeup, Buchholz allowed one run and four hits in five innings as the Boston Red Sox won 8-4.
His lone run allowed came on Evan Longoria's second-inning homer.
''You've got a bunch of big-name guys in this lineup, and they've been really good for the last three or four years,'' Buchholz said. ''So, it's definitely tough to go out there and try to work on things and make good pitches consistently to these guys.''
Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught Buchholz and downplayed the bursitis on his left hip that sidelined him for a few days.
''It's honestly something that just flared up a little bit,'' Saltalamacchia said. ''If this was during the season I'd be playing, but with spring training you don't want to take a chance.''
Buchholz struck out four and walked none. New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said thought his pitcher and catcher worked well together.
''You know, at first they didn't. They weren't on the same page because they didn't realize that Clay just wanted to throw more changeups today and less curveballs in the first inning,'' Valentine said. ''He worked real good, and other than the back-to-back changeups to Longoria and the fastball that everybody knew was coming, I thought he was perfect. Real good outing.''
Rays left-hander Matt Moore, back from a mild abdominal strain, gave up four runs, two hits and three walks in 2 1-3 innings, leaving after he walked the bases loaded in the third.
''For me right now, I'm trying to feel a lot of stuff and just to get a clean arm stroke with each pitch and I wasn't too clean today with especially my changeup,'' Moore said. ''The breaking ball was there, so I was pretty happy about that. That pitch felt good. The fastball felt good, just wasn't locating too good, especially early. ''
Moore allowed solo homers to Cody Ross and Josh Kroeger, and threw just 26 of 52 pitches for strikes.
''He's got electric stuff,'' Ross said. ''His fastball has a lot of life to it, some movement. He's got a good breaking ball. He was struggling a little bit with his changeup, and he'll probably tell you that. He's got a ton of upside. To be as young as he is, to be competing like he is, is pretty neat to see.''
Ross, who has a history of struggling in spring training, homered for the second straight day and is hitting .455. With Carl Crawford recovering from a wrist injury, Ross likely will get playing time at the start of the season.
''It's nice to feel good and give me confidence going into the season and it's a grind when you feel terrible in spring training and then you don't have to play catch up at the beginning of the season,'' Ross said.
Longoria's homer was his first hit of spring training. He was 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs and an RBI.
''Clay threw the ball well,'' Longoria said. ''I just spot up a couple of good pitches, changeups and curveballs, and eventually got him to throw a fastball that I can handle. It's about adjustments and really just getting it back to underneath our belts and getting comfortable so I thought today overall was pretty good for everybody.''
Rays leadoff man Desmond Jennings upped his spring average to .381 with two hits.
''I thought in general we had good at-bats today,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ''The guys, the varsities, really, I thought their at-bats were much better.''
NOTES: Rays CF B.J. Upton (sore back) could play Tuesday when the Rays travel to Jupiter to play the Miami Marlins but more than likely will play in a minor league game. ... Rays LHP David Price threw in a minor league game on the back fields of Charlotte Sports Park. He gave up three runs, six hits and one walk in 4 1-3 innings with one strikeout. ... Rays SS Tim Beckham was reassigned to minor league camp. Rays RHP Dane De La Rosa, RHP Matt Bush, C Steven Vogt and OF Brandon Guyer were optioned to the minors.