WASHINGTON – Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia sure looked ready for the regular season Tuesday, combining for four hits, four RBIs and four runs before taking the rest of the afternoon off, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 8-7 in the exhibition finale for both clubs.
With a crowd of 30,568 at Nationals Park on a cloudless afternoon, Boston took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Washington's three-run seventh gave it a 7-6 edge, before the Red Sox tied it in the eighth. The visitors then went up 8-7 in the ninth on Jason Repko's RBI double down the right-field line off reliever Henry Rodriguez, who hadn't allowed a run in his previous 11 innings this spring and took the loss.
Repko, the center fielder, threw out Ian Desmond at the plate for the game's final out.
Alfredo Aceves, a candidate to replace the injured Andrew Bailey as Boston's closer, pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Bailey will have reconstructive ligament surgery on his right thumb on Wednesday and could miss much of the season.
Chorye Spoone threw the ninth for the save.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz cruised through four perfect innings before allowing Adam LaRoche's leadoff single in the fifth and, four batters later, Wilson Ramos' three-run homer. Desmond started Washington's sixth with a solo shot.
Ramos added an RBI single in the seventh.
The game's first 18 batters were retired in order before Ellsbury singled to left-center off Edwin Jackson to open the fourth. And then the hits kept on coming — for both teams — including Pedroia's RBI double to the left-field corner.
After advancing to third when Adrian Gonzalez flied out to left, Pedroia came home on David Ortiz's groundout for a 2-0 lead.
Boston tacked on four more runs in the fifth. Ellsbury delivered an RBI single to right, then scored on Pedroia's two-run double to right. That was it for Jackson. The right-hander, signed as a free agent after being a member of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, went 4 2-3 innings, allowing six runs, five hits, one walk and one wild pitch, with two strikeouts.
Gonzalez added a run-scoring single off lefty reliever Sean Burnett.
Ellsbury and Pedroia each went 2 for 3 and scored twice before sitting in the sixth inning. Pedroia drove in three runs.
Buchholz went 5 2-3 innings and gave up four runs and four hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out five.
NOTES: Bailey and staff ace Josh Beckett both went to Cleveland on Tuesday to get second opinions on their thumb injuries. Beckett is expected to start as scheduled at Detroit on Saturday. ... Boston plans to work out in Detroit on Wednesday, a day before opening the regular season with LHP Jon Lester on the mound against 2011 Cy Young Award winner and AL MVP Justin Verlander. ... The Nationals will send RHP Stephen Strasburg to the mound for their opener Thursday at the Chicago Cubs, who will start RHP Ryan Dempster. Strasburg called his assignment as Washington's opening-day starter a "huge honor," made more special because a year ago at this time he was still throwing on flat ground while rehabbing after reconstructive elbow surgery.