Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz had his streak of scoreless innings ended by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz had his streak of scoreless innings ended by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. (Associated Press)

BRADENTON, Fla. -- James McDonald was not rattled by his rough start.

McDonald labored in the first inning, then recovered as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 Monday.

"I got locked back in, kept my composure and finished strong," McDonald said. "I didn't let the game get away from me. I felt confident -- every pitch, every moment out there."

Ryan Lavarnway hit a two-run single in the first. McDonald then retired 11 of 14 batters. He gave up four hits and three walks in five innings and struck out six.

This was the second game in a row that McDonald overcame a rocky first inning.

Neil Walker homered to end Clay Buchholz's 9 1/3 inning scoreless streak and Gaby Sanchez hit a two-run drive.

Walker's leadoff homer in the second was the only hit off Buchholz, who struck out four and walked two in five innings.

Sanchez homered in the seventh against Chris Carpenter, and Michael McKenry hit a solo drive off Oscar Villarreal in the eighth.

"He's gone through a pretty drastic transformation from the way he pitched in the minors and in his rookie year to now," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The last couple outings, when he puts the ball on the ground, he's at his best. That's when he's most relaxed."

After recovering from stress fracture in his back in 2011, Buchholz began last season by going 4-2 with a 7.19 ERA in his first 10 starts. He was 7-6 with a 3.45 ERA the rest of the way.


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After watching video of Buchholz's early outings, Farrell said he saw a lot of pitches up in the zone.

"Maybe he was subconsciously protecting [his back] or just couldn't get full extension to drive the ball downhill," Farrell said. "But after his seventh or eighth start, he ran off good numbers, like he was his old self. That's what we're seeing now."

Ortiz canceled a batting practice session because heel pain that has sidelined the Boston Red Sox designated hitter for nine days is still too great for him to play.

MRIs last week revealed inflammation in both heels. The eight-time All-Star is making his way back from a strained right Achilles tendon that limited him to 90 games last season.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Oritz is "not ready for that next phase." Initially, Boston thought Ortiz would be able to resume activities in about a week.

Ortiz signed a two-year contract with Boston in December that could be worth $30 million if he has 20 or fewer days on the disabled list this season caused by an Achilles tendon injury.

Dr. Michael Collins, a specialist in Pittsburgh. "When he goes through exertion tests there's no increase in the symptoms, so we take that as a positive," Farrell said. ... Red Sox LHP Franklin Morales (bulging disk) threw from 60 feet on Monday. "If we can repeat that a couple of days, we'll have more insight on what plan to follow," Farrell said.