BOSTON — After their 13-run performance in Sunday’s 13-0 drubbing of the Blue Jays, fans might have expected the offensive outburst to continue into Monday’s home opener. This wasn’t the case as the Red Sox finished with just five hits in their 3-1 win over the Orioles.
The Red Sox did not get a runner past first base until the seventh inning, but certainly made the most of it. Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with a single, followed by a Mike Napoli a double off the 379 mark on the left-center field wall. Despite an aggressive turn, Pedroia was held at third setting up runners on second and third with no outs.
Following a Will Middlebrooks strikeout, Daniel Nava, who started over Jackie Bradley Jr. in left field, came to the plate and crushed a three-run home run over the Green Monster putting the Sox on top 3-0. It was his second home run in as many days and now has six RBI’s on the year.
“It was special because it was Opening Day, but it was also special to me because of the journey,” Nava said. The 30-year-old is in just his third major league season after grinding his way through the minor leagues.
Boston got another strong outing from their starting pitcher as Clay Buchholz was very sharp in seven shutout innings of work. He allowed only three hits, and seemed to get stronger as the game went on, not surrendering a hit after the third inning. The right-hander threw 113 pitches (65 strikes), and struck out eight.
Andrew Bailey pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and despite allowing a home run to Adam Jones in the ninth, Joel Hanrahan picked up his third save of the season.
The teams will be off Tuesday before continuing their three-game set Wednesday night at Fenway Park (7:10 p.m., NESN). Ryan Dempster (0-1) will make his Fenway debut and will be opposed by right-hander Jake Arrieta (0-0).
What they will be saying:This might be the way the Red Sox win a lot of games this season — solid starting pitching, timely hitting, and then the bullpen shutting the door. Despite their six home runs on Sunday, the team lacks power especially in the middle of their lineup, so it was very encouraging to see the power come from an unexpected place in Nava. Also, the team struggled in Toronto with runners in scoring position as they were 2-for-19 Friday and 0-for-5 Saturday, so unlike in those two games the Red Sox took advantage when they could. This will be a trend all season of whether or not the team can take advantage of their scoring opportunities.
Follow Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84.