Carroll County Times

Red Sox power past Jimenez, Orioles

BALTIMORE - Ubaldo Jimenez knew he would be pitching in a tough division when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles this offseason.

And right away, he had to face one of his new division rivals - the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, a team the right-hander has never had much success against in the past. Entering Wednesday's game, Jimenez was 1-2 with a 11.72 ERA in four starts against the Sox.

In his Orioles debut, Jimenez didn't fare much better. The righty gave up a pair of two-run homers, one to last year's World Series MVP David Ortiz and another to Mike Napoli, and Baltimore fell 6-2 before 25,708 at Camden Yards.

"I was pitching good, besides those two pitches," Jimenez said. "I have to work on getting the ball down. I have to limit fly balls."

That was certainly a problem Wednesday. Jimenez didn't get a groundball out until a double play to end the sixth, his last outs of the game.

Jimenez started strong, striking out Daniel Nava on three pitches to begin the game and then escaping the first two innings unscathed. But Jimenez made the first of his two mistakes in the top of the third.

With one out, Ortiz smashed a 1-1 pitch from Jimenez onto the right-field flag court, giving the Sox an early 2-0 lead. Ortiz had been 0 for 7 against Jimenez in his career, but broke that with his 432nd career home run.

"That was a good pitch," Jimenez said. "It seemed like he was looking for that pitch."

But Baltimore quickly answered back. Chris Davis drew a two-out walk against Boston starter John Lackey, leading to Nelson Cruz hitting an opposite-field, two-run homer to right, tying the game 2-2.

It is the third straight season that the Orioles (1-1) have had a player homer in each of the first two games (Davis in 2012, Nick Markakis in 2013).

The Red Sox (1-1) did not let the game stay tied long, though. In the fifth, Napoli belted a two-out, two-run homer to straightaway center field to give the Sox a 4-2 lead they never relinquished.

Jimenez exited after six innings, giving up four runs on five hits. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said he thought Jimenez was solid and is looking forward to working with him more this season.

"He threw the ball fine. He battled. He was able to get deep in the game for us," Wieters said. "Ubaldo is great. He's going to go out there and give you what he has."

Besides the home run he yielded to Cruz, Lackey was strong for Boston. After giving up a leadoff single to Nick Markakis to begin the game, the Sox right-hander retired 11 straight before walking Davis in the fourth.

Lackey gave up two runs on three hits over six innings while striking out six.

"He threw strikes and located," said Wieters, who went 1 for 4. "He was able to sort of cut the ball in and out. He located all night. Seemed like we were down 0-2 before we could get a pitch over the middle to hit."

Boston padded its lead after Jimenez exited. The Sox tagged Orioles reliever Ryan Webb for a pair of runs in the seventh, both driven in by Napoli on a one-out single to left.

Although it has only been two games, Baltimore has not gotten much offense from anybody besides Cruz. The team has scored four runs - three driven in by Cruz and one where Cruz scored on a double play.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter attributed that to facing two quality pitchers in Jon Lester and Lackey.

"Our guys don't look at that as an excuse not to do well. Nobody likes to face them," Showalter said. "Like I've said many times, when a pitcher's on top of his game and a hitter's on top of his game, the pitcher wins more times than not."