BALTIMORE — Chris Davis was all smiles after Baltimore’s series opener with the Red Sox Thursday night, and it’s easy to understand why.
Davis got a bloop single in the bottom of the 13th inning that scored Nick Markakis and gave the Baltimore Orioles a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox before 27,680 at Camden Yards.
Markakis had drawn a two-out walk from Alex Wilson (1-1) to start the winning rally. Adam Jones quickly followed with a single to right field, moving Markakis to second. Davis then blooped the game-winning single to left field.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Davis said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play.”
T.J. McFarland (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for his first major-league victory. He came on in the top of the 13thand retired the Red Sox in order to set up the winning rally in the bottom half.
The victory moved the Orioles (38-29) within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Red Sox (41-27) in the American League East. The Orioles moved into second place, one-half game ahead of the Yankees, who dropped an 18-inning marathon to Oakland earlier on Thursday.
The Orioles used seven pitchers in the win, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter wanted to be careful how he worked his pitchers. No relief pitcher went more than 2 1/3 innings.
“We didn’t over-extend anybody,” Showalter said. “The Red Sox are a team that our guys really respect.”
The Oriole bullpen once again came through. Six relief pitchers combined to hold Boston to two runs and three hits over 7 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox didn’t get any hits after the seventh inning and had just one baserunner in the final six innings.
“They threw the ball well,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “To their credit, they came in, pounded the strike zone, didn’t give us many opportunities that we didn’t earn by virtue of a base hit.”
The Red Sox wasted a chance in the top of the 10th. Jacoby Ellsbury reached thanks to a catcher’s interference call on Matt Wieters, then stole second on the next pitch. However, Shane Victorino struck out to end the inning.
The Orioles missed on several good scoring opportunities throughout the game. They went just 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 16. But they kept on pushing.
“We had some opportunities; we just didn’t cash in, but that’s why we kept grinding,” Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said. “Both teams kept grinding. We were fortunate to come out with the W.”
Boston tied the score at 4 in the seventh against Baltimore reliever Brian Matusz. The Red Sox opened the inning with consecutive singles from Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks to load the bases.
Stephen Drew hit a sacrifice fly to score one run, and Ellsbury’s fielder’s choice grounder made it 4-4. Ellsbury barely beat out a potential inning-ending double play.
The Orioles moved out in front against Boston starter Felix Doubront with three runs in the third to build a 3-0 lead.
Danny Valencia started the inning by crushing a home run. Ryan Flaherty followed with a double and later scored on Manny Machado’s single. The third run came on a Davis RBI single.
David Ortiz answered for Boston in the fourth with a solo home run, his 14th homer of the year. Mike Carp followed with a solo shot to nearly the same spot in deep center, giving the Red Sox back-to-back homers for the sixth time this year.
The Orioles added a run in the fifth when Wieters drove in Markakis with a single to left for a 4-2 Baltimore lead. Markakis had reached on an error by third baseman Middlebrooks.
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball, striking out five. Doubront lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits.
NOTES: For Valencia, the homer was his fourth in just 13 games with the Orioles. … Flaherty is recovering from his early-season slump. He now has hits in six of his last nine games. … Carp replaced Mike Napoli at first base for Boston in the bottom of the third inning when Napoli went out with an illness that included nausea and dizziness, something that’s bothered Boston players of late. … Boston 3B Jose Iglesias has hit safely in a career-high 14 straight games, batting .440 (22-for-50) with four doubles, a homer and five RBIs. However, he was out of the lineup Thursday… Orioles starter Kevin Gausman made his second start at Orioles Park, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing two earned runs.