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Buchholz, Bosox nip Reds, 2-1

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Clay Buchholz has done everything he can to win a spot on the Boston Red Sox.

Buchholz threw six sharp innings and Boston rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. The right-hander allowed an unearned run and three hits, lowering his spring ERA to 0.46.

Buchholz was sent back to the minor leagues last season after going 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA in his second year with the Red Sox. Boston has since added veteran pitchers John Smoltz and Brad Penny.

‘‘I’ve had a good spring,’’ Buchholz said. ‘‘I know they have their eye on someone else, but even if I’m at Pawtucket, I’m still pitching and I’m a phone call away.’’

Buchholz’s errant pickoff attempt led to Jeff Keppinger’s RBI single in the sixth inning.

Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto was even better, surrendering two hits in six scoreless innings. He struck out five and walked none.

‘‘All my pitches were good,’’ Cueto said, with closer Francisco Cordero serving as an interpreter. ‘‘I used the fastball, slider and changeup for strikes.’’

Reds manager Dusty Baker was impressed with Cueto’s control and efficiency. The right-hander threw 48 of his 69 pitches for strikes.

‘‘Cueto threw a lot of quality pitches today,’’ Baker said. ‘‘We even had to send him to the bullpen to throw some more pitches. He only went 3-2 to one hitter.’’

Cincinnati was bidding for its third consecutive shutout before minor-league infielder Aaron Reza hit a two-run double off Bill Bray in the ninth inning.

Notes: Boston RHP Smoltz threw 40 pitches off the mound at the Red Sox City of Palms complex this morning. It was his first side session of the spring. … Boston OF J.D. Drew was in the lineup against the Reds. He missed three games with a contusion on his right hand after being hit by a pitch. ‘‘I had some good at bats,’’ Drew said. ‘‘I felt really good today.’’ … Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion’s aching shoulder is better. He is expected to play Friday night against the New York Yankees. … Reds 2B Brandon Phillips and INF-OF Jerry Hairston Jr., who both had been sidelined with the flu, returned to camp. Hairston was the designated hitter in a minor league game, leading off every inning to get more at-bats. Both are expected to play Thursday night against Minnesota.