By KEN POWTAK
BOSTON — The Baltimore Orioles used the same formula Thursday night that made them such a surprising success last season. They counted on a strong effort from the bullpen and pulled out a one-run win.
Chris Davis hit his sixth homer and Adam Jones drove in two runs, including a tiebreaking double, to lead Baltimore past the Boston Red Sox 3-2.
After going 29-9 in one-run games last season, the Orioles improved to 1-3 this year.
“It was just a matter of time before that one-run stuff,” Jones said. “We’ve got the kind of bullpen that can shut down any type of lineup any night. We’ve got the majority of the same team. I know those guys down there, when that number’s called, they want to come in and get the job done and have done a pretty good job of it.”
Davis and Jones extended their torrid starts for the Orioles, who took two of three games in Boston. The pair has combined for 30 of Baltimore’s 85 hits.
“I feel good at the plate. I’m just not trying to turn and burn,” Jones said. “I’m just trying to make contact and hit the ball hard and live with the results. That’s been my concept since the beginning of the season.”
Then, when asked if he thinks it’s working, the center fielder smiled and said: “I’m trying to.”
Jones is 18 for 39 this season (.462).
Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli had consecutive RBI singles for the Red Sox, who dropped a series for the first time after taking two of three on the road from both the New York Yankees and Toronto.
The teams played on a chilly night with a game-time temperature of 45 degrees and Fenway Park only about two-thirds full a night after a record sellout streak ended. The paid attendance was 27,704, the smallest crowd at Fenway since April 16, 2003.
The Orioles broke a 2-all tie on Jones’ RBI double in the seventh. Manny Machado had a two-out single off reliever Clayton Mortensen (0-1). Andrew Miller relieved and walked Nick Markakis. Jones then lined reliever Koji Uehara’s first pitch into the left-field corner.
That was all the Orioles bullpen needed to close it out.
Brian Matusz (1-0) struck out the only two batters he faced and got the win. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth in a light rain for his fourth save.
“Brian came in and got some big outs for us. They do what they do,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Jimmy Johnson — one-run lead in the American League East.”
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up two runs and six hits. He walked two and struck out five.
It was an unusual start to the work day for Tillman. Showalter said the right-hander and fellow pitcher Miguel Gonzalez were in a very minor accident when the taxi they were riding in was tapped from behind en route to the ballpark.
Boston fill-in starter Alfredo Aceves pitched five innings, allowing two runs and six hits while walking three and striking out four. He took the spot of John Lackey, placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after straining his right biceps in his previous start.
“Gave us five solid innings of work. Eighty pitches, 80-85 was kind of the range we had targeted for him tonight,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “But given his first start of the year, kept the game under control. I thought he managed the lineup well. With the exception of the solo home run on the 3-0 pitch by Davis, I thought he worked his way around the lineup fairly well tonight.”
Aceves thought his first start went fairly well.
“I feel OK. Lasted five innings,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t win the game. That’s all that matters.”
Davis belted a 3-0 fastball into the bleachers behind Boston’s bullpen to push Baltimore ahead 1-0 in the second.
Boston jumped in front 2-1 in the third on the run-scoring singles by Pedroia and Napoli.
But the Orioles tied it against Aceves in the fifth when Jones had a two-out RBI single after Machado reached on a bunt single and advanced to second when he was running on the pitch on Markakis’ bouncer to third.
Red Sox right-hander Alex Wilson made his major league debut, working a scoreless ninth with a walk.
TIGERS 11, BLUE JAYS 1
DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera tripled, scored twice and even stole a base, and Detroit knocked Josh Johnson out of the game with a five-run second inning against Toronto.
Doug Fister (2-0) allowed a run and eight hits in eight innings for the win. Johnson (0-1) gave up six runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings — the shortest start of his career.
Prince Fielder had four RBIs and Torii Hunter added three for the Tigers.
The temperature at game time was 35 degrees, the coldest for a Detroit home game since 1996, according to STATS.
Blue Jays starters are 1-4 with a 7.59 ERA. Toronto, a chic pick to win the AL East after a splashy offseason, has lost three straight series to start the year for the first time since 1978.
ATHLETICS 8, ANGELS 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Josh Donaldson hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth, Yoenis Cespedes also went deep and A.J. Griffin pitched eight solid innings as Oakland beat Los Angeles to extend its winning streak to eight games.
This was the first time Oakland swept the Angels in the first head-to-head series of a season since 2003, and the first time the Athletics swept their first series at the “Big A” since 1996.
Seth Smith had four hits for the A’s, who swept a road trip of six or more games for only the third time since the franchise relocated from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968. They had a 10-0 trip in August 2002 and an 8-0 excursion in April 1981.
Griffin (2-0) allowed a run and five hits. He did not allow a hit after giving up an RBI double by Howie Kendrick with one out in the fourth.
Jason Vargas (0-1) was charged with five runs, 10 hits and three walks over 5 2-3 innings.
RANGERS 4, MARINERS 3
SEATTLE — A.J. Pierzynski homered, David Murphy snapped a 2-all tie with an RBI single in the fifth inning and Texas beat Seattle ace Felix Hernandez.
Pierzynski hit his second homer of the season in the second. The Rangers added an unearned run later in the inning and scored twice in the fifth to deny Hernandez (1-2) his 100th career win.
It was Hernandez’s first home start since he signed a $175 million contract in the offseason that will keep him under contract with the Mariners through the 2019 season. The occasion was celebrated with all 22,000-plus fans in attendance receiving giant yellow K-cards and a yellow T-shirt with “King Felix” printed on the front.
But there was concern later in the game for Seattle when Michael Morse left in the seventh after getting hit on the right hand with a pitch as he checked his swing.
Morse entered the night tied for the major league lead with six home runs.
Joe Ortiz (1-0) pitched two hitless innings in relief of starter Justin Grimm. Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his third save.
Franklin Gutierrez hit his third leadoff homer of the season and added an RBI groundout for Seattle.
GIANTS 7, CUBS 6
CHICAGO — Angel Pagan had a go-ahead sacrifice fly after pitcher Ryan Vogelsong walked with the bases loaded to tie it in the fifth inning, and San Francisco rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat Chicago.
Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run double in a four-run fourth that was spurred by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro’s two-out fielding error, helping the World Series champions win their fourth in a row.
Vogelsong (1-1) yielded eight hits and five runs, four earned, in the first three innings before retiring his final 10 batters on a foggy and damp, 40-degree day.
Scott Feldman (0-2) lasted 4 1-3 innings and gave up six runs — two earned — on seven hits.
Santiago Casilla got out of an eighth-inning jam and Sergio Romo allowed a one-out double in the ninth before striking out Castro and Anthony Rizzo for his sixth save.
Rizzo hit a two-run homer and Brent Lillibridge had a two-run single for the Cubs, snapping an 0-for-17 start to the season.
NATIONALS 7, WHITE SOX 4
WASHINGTON — Ryan Zimmerman delivered a two-run double after Bryce Harper was intentionally walked, and Washington beat Chicago on a windy night to cap a three-game sweep.
Dan Haren (1-1) got his first win for the Nationals despite allowing 10 hits in five innings.
With the score tied at 3 in the fourth, Haren helped himself by doubling off Dylan Axelrod (0-1) and eventually scoring on a wild pitch with two outs. Chicago then put Harper on base on purpose, but the move didn’t work: Cleanup hitter Zimmerman lined a double to right on Axelrod’s 103rd — and final — pitch of the evening.
That put Washington ahead 6-3, and relievers Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano made it hold up.
After Harper drove in an insurance run in the eighth, Soriano pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six chances, and third this series.