BALTIMORE (AP) — The Boston Red Sox opened the new baseball season the same way they finished the last one — by combining solid pitching and a relentless offense to win a series.
Although taking two of three from the Baltimore Orioles wasn’t nearly as uplifting as winning the World Series, it still felt pretty darn good.
Felix Doubront and four relievers combined kept Baltimore’s potent lineup in check, and David Ortiz had three of Boston’s 12 hits off Wei-Yin Chen in a 4-3 victory Thursday night.
Xander Bogaerts also had three hits for the defending champions. The 21-year-old shortstop has reached in eight of 12 plate appearances, collecting five hits and three walks.
Boston finished with 14 hits, 12 of them singles. The Red Sox amassed 33 hits in the three games, including five by Ortiz, but even more impressive was that Boston limited the Orioles to seven runs over 27 innings.
“That’s why they were the last team standing last year,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “They pitched better than everybody else for the most part, and I don’t think I’m telling anybody anything they don’t know. You pitch real well, you’ve got a chance to play extra games at the end of the year.”
Doubront (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, and Boston’s bullpen maintained its 0.00 ERA with 3 1-3 innings of three-hit relief.
Chris Capuano got three straight outs in the seventh, Junichi Tazawa worked the eighth and Koji Uehara needed only seven pitches to retire the side in the ninth for his first save.
Boston’s bullpen allowed six hits over 7 1-3 innings in the series.
“That’s going to be critical until we get to the point where we can push the starters a little bit more, or until their efficiency continues to climb,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.