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April 9, 2013

Nava, Buchholz lead Red Sox over Orioles 3-1

BOSTON (AP) — Daniel Nava hit a three-run homer, Clay Buchholz pitched seven shutout innings and the surprising Boston Red Sox won their ninth straight home opener, 3-1 over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

Nava broke open a scoreless duel between Buchholz (2-0) and Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) in the seventh inning with his second homer in two days. He hit a shot over the Green Monster in left after Dustin Pedroia singled and took third on a double by Mike Napoli.

The Red Sox are off to a strong start at 5-2 under new manager John Farrell. They finished last in the AL East last season with a 69-93 record under Bobby Valentine, who was fired after one season.

Buchholz gave up three hits and three walks and struck out eight. Last Wednesday he allowed one run in seven innings in a 7-4 win over the New York Yankees.

Andrew Bailey blanked the Orioles in the eighth before Joel Hanrahan allowed a solo homer by Adam Jones, his first, in the ninth, but got his third save.

Buchholz allowed the first batter to reach base in four innings but only one runner advanced to second.

The Orioles put the leadoff runners at first in the first two innings, Nate McLouth with a single and Chris Davis with a walk, but neither moved up. With two outs in the third, singles by Manny Machado and Nick Markakis put runners at first and second before Jones took a third strike.

Davis led off the fourth with a walk but was forced out at second on a grounder by Matt Wieters. J.J. Hardy then grounded into a double play, ending the inning.

In the fifth, McLouth drew a two-out walk, but Machado flied out to right fielder Shane Victorino. Buchholz finally pitched a perfect inning in the sixth when Markakis grounded to first, Jones flied to right and Davis struck out looking. Buchholz walked Wieters leading off the seventh then retired the next three batters, striking out two and completing an impressive 113-pitch performance.

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