BALTIMORE -- Mr. President, the name is Nap-o-lee.
“I give him a mulligan,’’ Mike Napoli said Wednesday afternoon, a day after President Obama gave a shoutout to Mike Na-POLE-ee while paying tribute to the 2013 champion Red Sox. “He’ll get it right next year.’’
The result: The Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-2, before a crowd of 25,708 at Oriole Park in Camden Yards, giving the teams a split of the first two games of the series. Felix Doubront faces Wei-Yin Chen in the series finale Thursday night.
Shutdown starter: The Red Sox got their second straight strong start, this one from John Lackey, who made one mistake, throwing what was intended to be a waste fastball to Nelson Cruz too close to the plate on an 0-and-2 pitch; Cruz muscled the ball for an opposite-field two-run home run to tie the score at 2 in the fourth. Lackey struck out six and walked one while allowing just three hits in six innings, after Jon Lester had held the Orioles to two runs on six hits in seven innings in Monday’s opener.
Shutdown pen: Edward Mujica, who was happily standing front and center behind the president Tuesday even though he played for the losing Cardinals in the Series, made his Sox debut a good one Wednesday, pitching a scoreless seventh, striking out one and allowing a single. Junichi Tazawa set down the Orioles in order after a leadoff single in the eighth, and Koji Uehara finished things off in the ninth.
Big Papi represents: David Ortiz, a Twitter sensation because of his White House selfie with Obama, hit his first home run of the season and it was no cheapie, a two-run shot that landed in what they call the flag court beyond the right field fence. No, he did not ask pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to pose for a picture.
Pedroia the pace-setter: Dustin Pedroia had two hits in Monday’s opener, meaning he has hit safely in all eight openers he has played in. He is the first Sox player to do so in 100 years. There was no letup Wednesday as Pedroia had four more hits and scored two runs. He also made a sensational diving stop to take a hit away from J.J. Hardy in the second, sprawling in the middle of the diamond to smother the ball, then throwing off-balance on one knee to nip Hardy.
Cruz control: Cruz, a late sign by Orioles GM Dan Duquette, has homered in each of his first two games.
X files: Xander Bogaerts who doubled and walked in his last two plate appearances Monday, singled and walked twice to reach base in five straight appearances before grounding out to short in the eighth.