The Red Sox learned the hard way that Baltimore Orioles starter John Means is the real deal.
Boston dropped its Opening Day game Friday, which was was moved back one day due to inclement weather Thursday.
Thanks to seven scoreless innings from Means, who at one point retired 18 straight hitters, the Sox fell to the Orioles 3-0 at Fenway Park.
The pitching was solid all around, with Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi looking sharp himself, allowing one run across 5 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox fell to 0-1 with the loss. The Orioles climbed to 1-0 with the win.
GAME IN A WORD
It was all Means on Friday, with the Red Sox unable to figure out the O’s starter.
ON THE BUMP
— Eovaldi’s first pitch of the game was a 99 mph heater right down the middle that went for a strike, and that was how much of his afternoon went.
The hard-throwing right-hander was in control of all of his pitches — much to Dennis Eckersley’s delight — mixing in his hard fastball with a biting slider and reliable changeup.
All told, the starter lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with as many strikeouts and one walk.
Eovaldi allowed a leadoff single to Pedro Severino in the sixth inning, then after striking Cedric Mullins out was pulled from the game.
— Matt Andriese replaced Eovaldi and wandered into a little trouble.
He immediately walked Trey Mancini, then an Anthony Santander ground ball to second ate up Kiké Hernández, loading the bases with one out. Andriese got Ryan Mountcastle to a full count, but the hard-hitting 24-year-old ripped an inside breaking ball high off the Green Monster for a double, plating a pair while keeping runners in scoring position.
One of the two runs was charged to Eovaldi.
Andriese buckled down and struck out Rio Ruiz, then forced Austin Hays into a flyout to escape the inning with just the two runs allowed.
The righty returned for the seventh and retired the side in order.
— Josh Taylor got the eighth and struggled.
The southpaw gave up back-to-back singles to begin the inning, then after a mound visit gave up an RBI single to Santander to make it 3-0 Baltimore. Both Mancini and Santander tried to advance bases on the play, but Mancini was caught in a rundown, and though he got back to second, it hosed Santander, who was tagged out.
— After that sequence, the Red Sox brought on Austin Brice, and he got the final two outs of the eighth without issue.
— Hirokazu Sawamura, signed this offseason, made his Major League Baseball debut, taking over in the ninth.
Sawamura struck out Hays and got Maikael Franco to ground out, but allowed a Freddy Galvis double before inducing a Severino groundout to end the inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox had a heck of a time trying to decipher Means.
Hernández led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, but that was the only hitter who would reach base for Boston against Means. The O’s starter retired the next 18 batters he faced before getting pulled after the seventh inning.
— Boston threatened in the eighth by drawing a pair of walks against Baltimore reliever Tanner Scott, but with two on and two out, Scott struck Bobby Dalbec out on three pitches.
— J.D. Martinez ripped a double down the left field line with two outs in the ninth for Boston’s only other hit.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Eck was in midseason form Friday.
The Red Sox and Orioles meet again Saturday for the second contest of their three-game set. Tanner Houck will be on the mound for Boston and will be opposed by Matt Harvey. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 1:10 p.m. ET, with coverage on NESN beginning at noon.
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