The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox dropped their opening day contest with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, 2-1. Despite quality pitching on both sides, the Red Sox had their chances to capitlize and score on numerous occasions. Boston was unable to rekindle their late-inning flair for the dramatic that we became accustomed to seeing a year ago.
Boston scattered nine hits on the afternoon, including a solo shot that came off the bat of newcomer Grady Sizemore. It was his first homer since June 15 of 2011. Sizemore also belted a single in his first at bat.
Mike Napoli smacked a double to left in the third inning that advanced David Ortiz to third. The Red Sox left both men stranded. Napoli, along with Xander Bogaerts, both walked in the eighth. Again Boston was unable to capitalize on what was yet another quality scoring oppurtunity.
It was Baltimore’s big offseason acquistion, Nelson Cruz, who propelled the Orioles to victory. Cruz blasted a solo homer into the left field bleachers in the seventh inning off of Jon Lester. Cruz opened up the scoring in the second inning as he came home to score on a double play ball.
In defeat, Lester did throw the ball well though. Boston’s ace struck out eight, scattering six hits over seven innings pitched. Junichi Tazawa came on in relief and tossed a scoreless eighth.
Chris Tillman started the game for the Orioles, but was not credited with the win. Tillman surrendered seven hits and struck out four in five innings of work. Zach Britton took over in relief of Tillman and held the Red Sox scoreless over two innings. Tommy Hunter slammed the door in the ninth, earning the save.
Boston will trot out John Lackey on Wednesday as they’ll look to even up the series. The club will visit the White House on Tuesday. Barrack Obama will host the Red Sox to honor their 2013 World Series win.