Home runs stood in the forefront of the Baltimore Orioles beating the Boston Red Sox 2-1, as both Nelson Cruz and Grady Sizemore hit one each on their debuts for their new teams and some very good relief pitching from Zach Britton sealed the win for the home side on opening day.
The Orioles led Major League Baseball in home runs last season, but it wasn’t enough for them, so they added Cruz to the mix. The right fielder who finished the day on 1-of-2 with two runs thanks to the home run and a walk scored off of a Jon Lester pitch in the opening of the 7th inning, letting his hit sail 365 feet before landing in the crowd.
Grady Sizemore hasn’t hit a home run since 2011, and had an excellent debut after a decade with the Cleveland Indians. He had two hits on his four At-Bats, and Dustin Pedroia had a couple of hits as well. However, the Red Sox left 12 men on base during the game, and were an awful 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. A.J. Pierzynski was extremely wasteful, going o-of-3 in those situations.
Chris Tillman did a good enough job as the starting pitcher for the Orioles, but he did allow 7 hits in five innings including that home run to Sizemore, The Orioles looked a lot better and calmer when Britton was on the mound, pitching for two innings and allowing just one hit, making sure Tommy Hunter who came on to close the game in the ninth wouldn’t have too much pressure on him. Hunter won the job after Jim Johnson was traded in the offseason.
Things did get a bit complicated in the ninth as the Red Sox had two on with only one out as David Ortiz came on to bat. However, he hit a fly ball that was caught which was followed by Jackie Bradley Jr. taking a third strike call to make it a happy ending for most of the 46,685 dressed in orange at Camden Yards.
The Orioles scored first in the game despite Delmon Young grounding in to a double play on his hit. It did get him and Matt Wieters out, but Nelson Cruz who was on base thanks to a walk earlier on got the first point of the season, and the first of his career as an Orioles player, by running past home plate. For someone who missed 50 games last season due to suspension, making an impressive and positive mark on his new home fans was slightly important.
The Red Sox didn’t get something special from Lester, who did strike out 8 batters in his seven innings but also allowed six hits, including the two runs that won the game, picking up the loss.
It takes some of the pressure off everybody in the lineup knowing that you can pass the baton and the next guy can pick it up. We have to know as hitters going into the game that we can be patient, we can wait for our pitch, knowing that the guy behind us can pick us up.