BOSTON (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles used the same formula Thursday night that made them such a surprising success last season. They counted on a strong effort from the bullpen and pulled out a one-run win.
Chris Davis hit his sixth homer and Adam Jones drove in two runs, including a tiebreaking double, to lead Baltimore past the Boston Red Sox 3-2.
After going 29-9 in one-run games last season, the Orioles improved to 1-3 this year.
“It was just a matter of time before that one-run stuff,” Jones said. “We’ve got the kind of bullpen that can shut down any type of lineup any night. We’ve got the majority of the same team. I know those guys down there, when that number’s called, they want to come in and get the job done and have done a pretty good job of it.”
Davis and Jones extended their torrid starts for the Orioles, who took two of three games in Boston. The pair has combined for 30 of Baltimore’s 85 hits.
“I feel good at the plate. I’m just not trying to turn and burn,” Jones said. “I’m just trying to make contact and hit the ball hard and live with the results. That’s been my concept since the beginning of the season.”
Then, when asked if he thinks it’s working, the center fielder smiled and said: “I’m trying to.”
Jones is 18 for 39 this season (.462).
Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli had consecutive RBI singles for the Red Sox, who dropped a series for the first time after taking two of three on the road from both the New York Yankees and Toronto.
The teams played on a chilly night with a game-time temperature of 45 degrees and Fenway Park only about two-thirds full a night after a record sellout streak ended. The paid attendance was 27,704, the smallest crowd at Fenway since April 16, 2003.
The Orioles broke a 2-all tie on Jones’ RBI double in the seventh. Manny Machado had a two-out single off reliever Clayton Mortensen (0-1). Andrew Miller relieved and walked Nick Markakis. Jones then lined reliever Koji Uehara’s first pitch into the left-field corner.
That was all the Orioles bullpen needed to close it out.
Brian Matusz (1-0) struck out the only two batters he faced and got the win. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth in a light rain for his fourth save.
“Brian came in and got some big outs for us. They do what they do,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Jimmy Johnson — one-run lead in the American League East.”
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up two runs and six hits. He walked two and struck out five.
It was an unusual start to the work day for Tillman. Showalter said the right-hander and fellow pitcher Miguel Gonzalez were in a very minor accident when the taxi they were riding in was tapped from behind en route to the ballpark.
Boston fill-in starter Alfredo Aceves pitched five innings, allowing two runs and six hits while walking three and striking out four. He took the spot of John Lackey, placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after straining his right biceps in his previous start.
“Gave us five solid innings of work. Eighty pitches, 80-85 was kind of the range we had targeted for him tonight,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “But given his first start of the year, kept the game under control. I thought he managed the lineup well. With the exception of the solo home run on the 3-0 pitch by Davis, I thought he worked his way around the lineup fairly well tonight.”
Aceves thought his first start went fairly well.
“I feel OK. Lasted five innings,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t win the game. That’s all that matters.”
Davis belted a 3-0 fastball into the bleachers behind Boston’s bullpen to push Baltimore ahead 1-0 in the second.
Boston jumped in front 2-1 in the third on the run-scoring singles by Pedroia and Napoli.
But the Orioles tied it against Aceves in the fifth when Jones had a two-out RBI single after Machado reached on a bunt single and advanced to second when he was running on the pitch on Markakis’ bouncer to third.
Red Sox right-hander Alex Wilson made his major league debut, working a scoreless ninth with a walk.
NOTES: Farrell said he talked a bit with closer Joel Hanrahan “about going forward.” The right-hander gave up five runs and only got two outs in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 8-5 loss. “He’s our closer,” Farrell said. … Showalter is one who thinks Fenway’s dugouts are a bit small. He said before the game that he let the four other starting pitchers go into the clubhouse to watch the later part of Wednesday’s game to open some room for others to sit. … Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who missed all of spring training with a sore right Achilles, went 2 for 3 with two singles, an RBI and a run in his first rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket. “We feel 20 or so (at-bats) are needed and then we’ll reassess,” Farrell said. … There was an unusual 3-5-3 play when the left-handed batting Davis hit into a shift and the ball caromed off 1B Napoli over to 3B Will Middlebrooks, who was shifted to the right side. He then threw back to Napoli. … Boston’s Felix Doubront (0-0) is slated to face Alex Cobb (1-0) in the opener of a four-game series against Tampa Bay on Friday at Fenway. The Orioles travel to New York where Gonzalez (1-0) is scheduled to pitch against CC Sabathia (1-1) at Yankee Stadium.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)