Strong pitching and timely, clutch hitting…sounds like the Boston Red Sox are onto something.
Winners of their first two series of the season, the Sox are off to an impressive start, and if they keep up their pace of winning two out of every three games, last year’s abysmal performance will quickly be relegated to the archives…
Clay Buchholz posted his second straight strong start, throwing seven innings of three hit ball and Daniel Nava parked a Wei-Yin Chen pitch on Lansdowne Street, helping the Boston Red Sox win their ninth consecutive home opener, 3-1 over the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon.
Nava, playing in his first home opener ever, drilled a 1-1 hanger over the Green Monster to give Buchholz a three-run lead, breaking a scoreless tie. Joel Hanrahan pitched a shaky ninth, yielding an Adam Jones solo shot and a J.J. Hardy two out double before nailing down his third save of the season.
Baltimore Lefty Chen pitched a gem as well, going 6 1/3 and giving up just two hits entering the 7th, but gave up a Dustin Perdroia infield single and a Mike Napoli double setting the table for Nava’s heroics. Chen was pulled after giving up the 3 run shot, Tom Hunter coming on to pitch 1 2/3 perfect innings in relief.
Nava started in left field, taking over for rookie phenom Jackie Bradley Jr., who has traditionally struggled against southpaws, and has cooled off considerably after burning up the grapefruit league in Spring Training, failing to hit the ball out of the infield for two games in a row, striking out four times.
Thus far this season, Bradley is just 1 for 12 with five strikeouts against lefties.
The Home run was Nava’s second of the season and his second in as many games and his 3 RBIs gives him six on the season.
The two teams take tomorrow off, then resume the series on Wednesday, with Jake Arrieta toeing the rubber for Baltimore while Ryan Dempster takes the mound for Boston.