PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – After working on off-speed pitches in a simulated game, Clay Buchholz focused on them some more Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Relying on his curveball and change-up, 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. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he 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 change-ups today and less curveballs in the first inning,” Valentine said. “He worked real good, and other than the back-to-back change-ups 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.

Moore allowed solo homers to Cody Ross and Josh Kroeger, and threw just 26 of 52 pitches for strikes.

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.

NATIONALS: Washington optioned 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse where he can get experience in center field.

Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said the timing wasn’t right for the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft to make the team out of training camp.

PHILLIES: Third baseman Placido Polanco is day to day because of a sprained left ring finger.

He injured his hand diving back into first base on a pickoff play in the first inning of Philadelphia’s win over Toronto on Saturday. X-rays were negative and he’s expected to miss a few games.

CARDINALS: Ace Chris Carpenter threw batting practice for the first time since a neck injury.

He threw 40 pitches, two days after throwing off a mound for the first time in two weeks.

ROYALS: Eric Hosmer went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer as Kansas City beat Cleveland 6-4 at Surprise, Ariz., a win dampened by an elbow injury to closer Joakim Soria.

Soria, a two-time AL All-Star, left in the fifth inning with soreness in his right elbow after retiring only one of the five batters he faced and yielding three runs.

TWINS: Francisco Liriano threw five hitless innings and Minnesota allowed just one hit in a 10-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fort Myers, Fla.

BLUE JAYS: Jose Bautista hit his third home run of spring training and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels gave up five runs and eight hits in 31/3 innings as Toronto won 10-2 at Dunedin, Fla.

TIGERS: Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 2 with an RBI double and Doug Fister had seven of Detroit’s 14 strikeouts in an 11-7 win over Washington at Viera, Fla.