Closing Time: Mike Napoli, David Ortiz make sure Orioles know who they are in Red Sox win
|04.02.14 at 9:50 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — Mike Napoli made a name for himself Wednesday night.
A day after President Barack Obama mispronounced Napoli‘s last name, the Red Sox first baseman gave the world a second chance to familiarize itself with the moniker. Napoli starred in the Sox’ 6-2 win over the Orioles, knocking in four runs via a two-run homer and single that scored a pair.
The Red Sox starting pitcher did his job for a second straight game, this time with John Lackey doing the honors. The righty held the Orioles to just three hits over six innings, throwing 90 pitches. The righty struck out six and walked one.
Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox in their first win of the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– David Ortiz launched a two-run homer in the third inning against Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez, landing on Eutaw Street past the right field fence. The home run marked the first time he has rounded the bases since hitting his only spring training home run on March 10. He has now hit four homers April 2 or earlier in his career.
– Napoli broke a 2-2 tie by launching the Red Sox’ second two-run shot of the day, this one clearing the center field fence with two outs in the fifth inning and Daniel Nava standing on first. The homer came with two strikes, a count on which he hit eight homers in 2013 while carrying just a .622 OPS.
– Xander Bogaerts continued his solid start, getting on base three times via a pair of walks and a single. In his first seven at-bats, the rookie had reached five times.
– Dustin Pedroia continued to swing a hot bat, carrying over from the final week of spring training. On Wednesday night the second baseman notched four hits, scoring on both Ortiz’s homer and Napoli’s seventh-inning single. Pedroia also made the defensive play of the night, diving for a J.J. Hardy grounder up the middle and springing up in time to throw out the baserunner.
– The Red Sox once again didn’t let the Orioles starter get past six innings, this time driving Jimenez from the game after six, after 96 pitches. Monday, Baltimore starter Chris Tillman lasted just five innings.
– The Red Sox relievers — Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara — all did their part, combining for three shutout innings following Lackey. Uehara — who allowed two baserunners (error, infield single) — picked up his first save.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– Nelson Cruz did some damage for a second straight game, this time hitting his home run the opposite way, over the right field fence, to tie the game at 2 after four innings. Cruz was the difference-maker in Monday’s season opener, breaking a 1-1 tie with a seventh inning solo blast off Jon Lester.
– After a standout performance in the opener, Grady Sizemore came back down to earth a bit. The center fielder went 0-for-4, stranding a pair. Also going hitless for the Red Sox were Will Middlebrooks and Jonny Gomes.
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