BOSTON (AP) — Daniel Nava hit a three-run homer, Clay Buchholz pitched seven shutout innings and the surprising Boston Red Sox won their ninth straight home opener, 3-1 over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.
Nava broke open a scoreless duel between Buchholz (2-0) and Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) in the seventh inning with his second homer in two days. He hit a shot over the Green Monster in left after Dustin Pedroia singled and took third on a double by Mike Napoli.
The Red Sox are off to a strong start at 5-2 under new manager John Farrell. They finished last in the AL East last season with a 69-93 record under Bobby Valentine, who was fired after one season.
Buchholz gave up three hits and three walks and struck out eight. Last Wednesday he allowed one run in seven innings in a 7-4 win over the New York Yankees.
Andrew Bailey blanked the Orioles in the eighth before Joel Hanrahan allowed a solo homer by Adam Jones, his first, in the ninth, but got his third save.
Buchholz allowed the first batter to reach base in four innings but only one runner advanced to second.
The Orioles put the leadoff runners at first in the first two innings, Nate McLouth with a single and Chris Davis with a walk, but neither moved up. With two outs in the third, singles by Manny Machado and Nick Markakis put runners at first and second before Jones took a third strike.
Davis led off the fourth with a walk but was forced out at second on a grounder by Matt Wieters. J.J. Hardy then grounded into a double play, ending the inning.
In the fifth, McLouth drew a two-out walk, but Machado flied out to right fielder Shane Victorino. Buchholz finally pitched a perfect inning in the sixth when Markakis grounded to first, Jones flied to right and Davis struck out looking. Buchholz walked Wieters leading off the seventh then retired the next three batters, striking out two and completing an impressive 113-pitch performance.
The Red Sox managed just four runners in the first six innings on two singles and two walks but none got past first base.
Nava walked with two outs in the second before Johnny Gomes popped out to second baseman Ryan Flaherty. Victorino started the fourth with a single but was caught stealing. Pedroia then walked before Napoli grounded into a double play.
Nava then singled with one out in the fifth, but Chen struck out Gomes and got David Ross to ground out to Flaherty.
NOTES: Boston RHP John Lackey is expected to miss his next start, scheduled for Friday, with inflammation in his right biceps. He walked off the mound with pain in his right arm in the fifth inning of Boston’s 5-0 loss at the Toronto Blue Jays, his first start after elbow surgery that sidelined him all last season. … After an off day Tuesday, Jake Arrieta (0-0) pitches for the Orioles on Wednesday night against Ryan Dempster (0-1). … Red Sox rookie LF Jackie Bradley Jr., got the day off after batting .143 in the first six games following an outstanding spring training that earned him a spot on the opening-day roster. … The National Anthem was sung by the Jimmy Fund Chorus. This is the 60th year in which the Jimmy Fund, associated with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has been the Red Sox official charity. … Former astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon, attended the game.
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