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Orioles edge Red Sox in season-opening pitching duel

AP

Grady Sizemore will never forget his first opening day with the Boston Red Sox.

His teammates, however, can’t wait to put the memory of the game behind them.

The defending World Series champion Red Sox failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities, and a home run by Sizemore wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

After missing two seasons recovering from knee surgery, Sizemore marked his return from a 922-day absence with a second-inning single for his first hit since September 2011. The three-time All-Star for Cleveland later hit his first homer since July 15, 2011.

“Today was very exciting,” Sizemore said. “I couldn’t wait to get to the ballpark.”

The single was particularly gratifying, because it came on his first at-bat.

“Having gone through what I’ve gone through, it was nice to get that moment,” Sizemore said.

His homer created a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning, but that would be the extent of the Boston offense. The Red Sox got nine hits and drew three walks, but they stranded 12 and went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“There were a lot of opportunities that we did create but didn’t cash in,” manager John Farrell said. “The two-out hit was elusive.”

Nelson Cruz homered off Jon Lester (0-1) in the seventh inning to put the Orioles up 2-1. Cruz hit 27 homers last year with Texas during a season marred by a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis drug scandal.

Zach Britton (1-0) got the win with two scoreless innings of relief and Tommy Hunter got three outs for the save.

The Red Sox got two on with one out in the ninth before World Series MVP David Ortiz hit a flyball and Jackie Bradley Jr. took a called third strike.

Making his fourth straight opening day start for Boston, Lester gave up two runs, six hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out eight.

“It was good. Obviously, the only thing better would be if we win,” the left-hander said. “Other than that I thought I threw the ball well.”

Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa pitched a scoreless eighth and struck out one batter.

Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed one run, seven hits and a walk in five innings.

Tigers 4, Royals 3

In Detroit, Alex Gonzalez drove in the winning run in his Tigers debut, lining a single to left off Greg Holland in the ninth.

Kansas City’s Norichika Aoki was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 2

In St. Petersburg, Florida, David Price (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits over 7⅓ innings to beat R.A. Dickey in a matchup of 2012 Cy Young pitching award winners.

Matt Joyce drove in three runs for the Rays with a sacrifice fly and two-run double off Dickey (0-1), who yielded six two-out runs in five innings.

White Sox 5, Twins 3

In Chicago, Alejandro De Aza hit two homers, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut against Minnesota.

Mariners 10, Angels 3

In Anaheim, Abraham Almonte hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh and Felix Hernandez struck out 11 in Seattle’s victory over the Angels.

Indians 2, Athletics 0

In Oakland, Nyjer Morgan hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against new Athletics closer Jim Johnson as the Indians sent the hosts to their major league-record 10th straight opening loss.