BOSTON – 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.”
Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli had consecutive RBI singles for the Red Sox, who dropped a series for the first time after taking 2 of 3 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 Park since April 16, 2003.
Boston fill-in starter Alfredo Aceves pitched five innings, allowing two runs and six hits, walking three and striking out four.
He took the spot of John Lackey, who was 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,” 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.”
Aceves thought his first start was decent.
“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.
Red Sox right-hander Alex Wilson made his major league debut, working a scoreless ninth with a walk.
NOTES: Farrell said he talked with closer Joel Hanrahan “about going forward.” Hanrahan gave up five runs and only got two outs in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s 8-5 setback. “He’s our closer,” Farrell said. … 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 the situation,” Farrell said.