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April 3, 2014

Napoli drives in 4, Sox down O’s

BALTIMORE (AP) — Even though the Boston Red Sox insist that they’ve turned the page from last year, their first win of the season was eerily reminiscent of 2013.

David Ortiz and Mike Napoli homered, John Lackey threw six sharp innings and Boston ruined the Baltimore debut of Ubaldo Jimenez with a 6-2 victory last night.

Dustin Pedroia had four hits for the defending World Series champion Red Sox, now 1-1 after losing to Baltimore on opening day.

“Dustin, David and Mike. That’s three of the better hitters in the league,” said Boston manager John Farrell, who rode the trio to 97 wins during the 2013 regular season.

Lackey (1-0) looked even sharper than he did last year, when he had a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts.

In this one, the right-hander allowed two runs and three hits before handing the ball to the bullpen, which finished with three scoreless innings.

“I just threw country hard balls the first few innings, then was able to mix in other pitches later on,” Lackey said.

“I was very pleased for the first time. It felt pretty good. It’s something I can keep building on.”

Lackey said he made “one mistake” — an 0-2 pitch that Nelson Cruz hit over the right field wall for his second homer in two games.

But the Orioles did little else right against Lackey, who walked one and struck out six in improving to 14-5 lifetime against Baltimore.

Ortiz connected in the third inning and Napoli made it 4-2 with a two-run shot in the fifth. Both homers came off Jimenez (0-1), who signed a four-year contract with the Orioles in February after winning 13 games with Cleveland last year.

“The one to David, that was a good pitch,” Jimenez said. “It seems like he was looking for that pitch and he hit it good. But the one to Napoli, I would definitely like to have that back. Oh-and-2, big mistake. I was trying to go away and left it right down the middle.”

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