Apr 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) at bat in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles fall victim to two-run homers


Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t pitch poorly per se in his debut for the Baltimore Orioles last night at Camden Yards. He actually made some great pitches and induced some key outs. However what he’ll remember about his first game in the orange and black was duo of two-run homers that he gave up in the game. Jimenez’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K. Again, Jimenez was actually fairly sharp in most cases. But he hung two pitches that came back to haunt him as the Baltimore Orioles dropped their first game of the season, evening their record at 1-1.

Jimenez was incredibly sharp the first time through the order, as was Boston’s John Lackey. But as can often be the case, guys adapt to what they’re seeing and they make in-game adjustments. Dustin Pedroia sent a one-out single to left field in the top of the third, bringing David Ortiz to the plate. With the count at 1-1, Ortiz sent a “no-doubter” onto Eutaw St. to give Boston a 2-0 lead. However the Orioles were able to unleash their newest “hidden” weapon in

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

the form of Nelson Cruz, who’s second home run in as many games (this one following a Chris Davis walk) tied the score at two.

However Jimenez couldn’t hold his second life in the game, as Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch and Mike Napoli proceeded to smack another two-run homer into the bullpen area – a home run that got out of the yard QUICK. Following Jimenez being lifted after the sixth, Ryan Webb made his Orioles debut and allowed runners to second and third (assisted by a Ryan Flaherty error). Buck Showalter opted to walk David Ortiz with first base open to the give the O’s a force out at every base, however Mike Napoli came through for Boston again, smacking a two-RBI single giving them a 6-2 lead.

The O’s mustered mini-rallies in the 8th and 9th, but couldn’t push anything across. In the last of the 8th Steve Lombardozzi got aboard with a single, however Adam Jones struck out on what would have been a low-and-away ball four to end the inning. Had Jones been able to get on base, Chris Davis would have come to the plate with two runners on. Jones, along with many of the Orioles, seemed to be pushing at the plate all night – Jones went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. However it’s often difficult to make the transition from spring training to the regular season given the relaxed atmosphere of the Florida Grapefruit League and the very urgent atmosphere of the regular season. Given his history, once he settles down Jones will be fine, as will be his teammates.

Davis reached on a Mike Napoli error to lead off the last of the ninth, and he went to second on a wild pitch by Boston closer (and former Oriole) Koji Uehara. J.J. Hardy‘s infield hit put runners at the corners with two down, however Ryan Flaherty grounded out to end the inning and the game – with the Orioles falling to Boston 6-2. As for Jimenez, keep in mind that a starting pitcher is going to have ten starts that are somewhere between good and poor over the course of a season; you can put this game in that category.

Boston and the Orioles finish their season-opening series tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in a rubber match to decide the winner of the series. Boston will throw Felix Doubront, a southpaw, with the Orioles countering with one of their own in Wei-Yin Chen. I would expect Buck Showalter to throw a lineup out there similar to what we saw on Opening Day, with Cruz in left field and Schoop at second base.

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