There’s no better way to start a season than with a series sweep on the road. For the first time since 2017, the Orioles did just that, taking all three games of this first series over the Red Sox at Fenway.
John Means was given the ball for his first career Opening Day start, and the way he pitched, he will be given the ball on many Opening Days after this one. After a poor spring and a horrid last start in Sarasota, there were plenty of concerns revolving around Means. And boy, did he shut us all up.
In total, Means pitched a near flawless seven innings, allowing just one hit and zero runs. He let the first batter, Enrique Hernández, on with a hit and then proceeded to pick him off at first. Talk about taking business into your own hands!
In the second inning, Means survived an error by third baseman Maikel Franco and then retired the next 18 batters he faced. Means was incredibly efficient, tossing 65 strikes to 32 balls, and only saw one full count his entire outing.
Means was helped by his defense, which included three amazing plays by Rio Ruiz at his new position, second base.
The scoring for the Orioles started in the sixth, once Nathan Eovaldi was replaced by the bullpen. Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Mountcastle blasted a bases loaded double off the top of the Green Monster, scoring two runs.
Later in the eighth, Trey Mancini followed Cedric Mullins’ second hit of the game with his first hit of the new season. With runners on first and second, Anthony Santander delivered his first RBI of the year and singled to right that scored the Orioles’ third run.
Tanner Scott pitched a clean inning in the eighth, despite two walks, and César Valdez recorded the save in the ninth to snatch the Opening Day victory, 3-0. John Means is 1-0 on the season.
Means was, without a shadow of a doubt, The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game, with his electric seven-inning one-hit outing.
Game two of this series featured new Oriole, Matt Harvey, as he got his first start in black and orange. Through 4.2 innings, Harvey did give up six hits, but he minimized the damage to just two runs. He let up one walk, while striking out four.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Maikel Franco delivered his first two RBI of the season. He singled to center field, scoring Rio Ruiz and Austin Hays in the process.
Up 2-1 in the fifth, Anthony Santander beat out a ground ball to Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, allowing Pedro Severino to score. This made the Orioles’ lead 3-1.
Looking for an insurance run in the seventh, Trey Mancini came to bat with runners on first and third. He hit a sacrifice fly, knocking in his first run of the year and extending the lead to 4-2.
Adam Plutko and Dillon Tate would toss a collective 3.1 innings of scoreless ball and handed it over to César Valdez, who recorded his second save of the season. Plutko earned the win and moves to 1-0.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game goes to Maikel Franco, who went 1-for-4 with a two-RBI single that gave the Orioles the lead for good.
With the chance for the first sweep of the Red Sox since 2017, the Orioles came out on Easter Sunday and beat the Sox like they stole our lunch money! Right out of the gate, the offense pounced on Red Sox starter Garrett Richards and put the game out of reach early.
Three runs were scored by the Birds in the first inning. The first came on an Anthony Santander single and then two more in the next at-bat from Maikel Franco’s first double of the season.
In the second, the Orioles would drive down the field and score a touchdown. Oops, wrong sport! I mean they came out and scored another seven runs!
First, Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor walked in a run with the bases loaded and then allowed two separate two-RBI doubles by Austin Hays and Trey Mancini. A wild pitch scored the ninth run off the inning, and that was followed by a Ryan Mountcastle RBI single. This made it a 10-0 game after three frames.
Now up 10-3 in the ninth, Anthony Santander didn’t feel like ending it quite yet. He knocked in the Orioles’ 11th run of the day, this time on his second RBI single of the day.
Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann got his first start of the new year and showed us why he deserved that spot coming out of spring. He mixed up his pitches really well and stifled hitters with a lot of late movement on his fastball. Through six innings, Zimmermann allowed four hits and three runs, while striking out five. Besides a home run and a double by J.D. Martinez, no one else in that Red Sox lineup hit Zimmermann hard at all.
The entire offense came to play. Four batters had multiple hits, all but Freddy Galvis had at least one, and four again had multiple RBI.
Out of the bullpen, Cole Sulser struck out three in two clean innings of work. Rule 5 pick Tyler Wells had a clean MLB debut in this game with his scoreless ninth inning. Welcome to the Show, Tyler! Bruce Zimmermann got the win in his first start and moves to 1-0.
Undoubtedly the star of the day and The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game was leadoff hitter, Cedric Mullins. Mullins went 5-for-5 with a walk, with three doubles and two singles. He is now 9-for-13 on the year.
The Orioles are set to kick off the second series of the year in New York, as they take on the Yankees for three games starting Monday at 6:35 p.m. EST.
Make sure you come back to The Baltimore Battery later this afternoon, as we give you our Series Preview against the Bronx Bombers!