Cruz hits go-ahead HR, O's edge Red Sox in opener
By DAVID GINSBURG
BALTIMORE (AP) In case it wasn't evident before opening day, we now know why the Baltimore Orioles added another slugger to a team that led the major leagues in home runs last season.
Signed as a free agent in February, Cruz lined a solo shot into the left field seats to put the Orioles ahead. He hit 27 homers last year with Texas during a season marred by a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis drug scandal.
Cruz joins a batting order that features Chris Davis, who led the majors in 2013 with 53 homers and 138 RBIs. Davis went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts as the cleanup hitter, but it didn't matter because the guy in the 5-hole picked up the slack.
"It takes some of the pressure off everybody in the lineup knowing that you can pass the baton and the next guy can pick it up," Davis said. "We have to know as hitters going into the game that we can be patient, we can wait for our pitch, knowing that the guy behind us can pick us up."
Cruz, meanwhile, couldn't have been more delighted. Not only did the Orioles provide him with a fresh start, but the fans chanted "Cruuuuuze!" every time his name was announced.
"It was really neat, it was special," he said. "I made the right call to come and be part of this organization, be part of this town."
Cruz wasn't the only player to enjoy a successful start with his new team.
After missing two seasons recovering from knee surgery, Boston center fielder Grady Sizemore marked his return from a 922-day absence with a second-inning single for his first hit since September 2011. The three-time All-Star for Cleveland later hit his first home run since July 15, 2011, which also came at Camden Yards.
"Today was very exciting," Sizemore said. "I couldn't wait to get to the ballpark."
Zach Britton (1-0) got the win with two scoreless innings of relief and Tommy Hunter got three outs for the save. Hunter earned the job as closer this spring after the Orioles dealt away Jim Johnson during the offseason.
"It's life in baseball," Hunter said. "You've got to earn everything you get. One-run game to start the season off against the defending world champs."
Starting on the road for the fourth year in a row, the Red Sox got nine hits but stranded 12 and went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
"We had a lot of opportunities, we had a lot of guys on," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "We just hit the ball right at people. It was one of those deals where we couldn't find a way to push runs across."
Making his fourth straight opening day start for Boston, Lester (0-1) gave up two runs, six hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out eight.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed one run, seven hits and a walk in five innings. The right-hander went 3-1 against Boston last year, but in this one he needed 104 pitches to get 15 outs.
Britton gave up a one-out double to Xander Bogaerts in the sixth and got three straight outs in the seventh, the only time all day that Boston went down in order.
Gametime temperature was announced at 60 degrees, but a stiff wind chilled many in the crowd of 46,685 - the 23rd consecutive opening day sellout at Camden Yards.
Hopeful that the offseason acquisitions of Cruz and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will enable Baltimore to return to the playoffs after missing out last year, Orioles fans were out in force. Until recently, games against Boston often drew as many Red Sox backers as those rooting for the home team.
"Our crowd was legit," Hunter said. "That was awesome. I hope they come out like that every game for 80 more here."
The Orioles used a walk, a single by Matt Wieters and a double-play grounder to take a 1-0 lead in the second.
The Red Sox put runners at second and third with two outs in the third before Tillman struck out Mike Carp. In the fourth, Sizemore hit a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall.
NOTES: Dustin Pedroia got Boston's first hit of the season, a one-out single in the first inning, to extend his hitting streak on opening day to eight games. ... After taking Tuesday off, the teams meet Wednesday night. John Lackey (13-5 lifetime against Baltimore) faces Jimenez in his Orioles debut. ... The Red Sox put RF Shane Victorino (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Bradley. ... Ortiz received his 12th opening day start at DH, tying Don Baylor's major league record at the position.
Updated March 31, 2014
Tom "Eugene" Curran joins the guys to discuss how the Patriots look coming out of OTAs. Then Christian and Lou discuss the Patriots playbook scandal.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Tom Brady's work in mini-camp and his response to recent criticism of his play.
Former NY Giants running back, Tiki Barber talks about Stevan Ridley's fumbling problem and reflects on what he did to fix the problem while he was still playing
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Stephen Drew joins Joe Castiglione and Rob Bradford after the Red Sox offense continues to roll in a 14-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Joe C. talked to the Sox ace after he
Joe & Dave talked to Rubby De La Rosa after the rookie pitcher went seven innings in the one-run win against the Royals at Fenway.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
MLB HOF'er Peter Gammons joined the show to discuss what the Sox will do with Jon Lester.
John, Gerry and Jerry Thornton discussed the Red Sox sweep of the Royals.
The top stories of the day as recounted by John Dennis.
Do the Bills pose the biggest threat? Should Sean McManus force his announcers on CBS to NOT say Redskins? What happens next? Tiger win another major, or will Rory complete a career grand slam? Colby Lewis was angry at Colby Rasmus for bunting against the shift. Should Red Sox fans have false hope, or cautious optimism?
Tim bought the entire DVD box set of True Detective and binge-watched the entire series in one weekend. Christian found a man who made a spread sheet of how and when his wife said "No" to sex. And most importantly, Lou spoke about a boy named Danny Nickerson. Danny was diagnosed with brain cancer last fall. He loves to see his name on postcards and mail, so Lou encouraged people to send Danny birthday cards.
The guys respond to a Dan Shaughnessy column that points out that the Red Sox are on pace to finish in last place for the 2nd time in 3 years, yet ticket prices still remain among the highest in the league. Is Red Sox nation getting fat and happy now that the Curse of The Bambino has been lifted?
We delve into Tony Dungy's comments on Michael Sam and drafting him, and how there may be more at work here than on the surface.
We talk Sox after a sweep over the Royals at Fenway. We look at fan interest and how nothing in the AL East is even remotely decided at this point.
We tackle four topics, all spawned by Rory McIroy's futures bet he placed on his own son 10 years ago.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
In this episode we talk about transfers across Europe, players we want to see in the MLS, and Liverpool's Joe Allen joins the show!
As we inch closer to August the initial Fantasy Football picture is starting to become more clear. Today, Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson of Rotobahn.com review Pete’s most recent article on WEEI.com featuring 20 High Value Targets to consider. The conversation features a deep analysis on upside players like Justin Hunter, Aaron Dobson, Tavon Austin, Michael Floyd and Martellus Bennett. As well as a breakdown on three Quarterbacks including Tom Brady who should be strongly considered ahead of their current Average Draft Position. Get ahead of the information while these great Fantasy Stocks are low!
Rob Bradford is joined by Torey Lovullo, Red Sox bench coach, to talk about what went wrong with his team and how they might be able to fix it heading into the second half of the season. Included is a special guest cameo by Alex Speier.