The last time Adley Rutschman can remember feeling that level of emotion on a baseball field he was playing in front of intimate 5,000-seat college crowds at Oregon State.
He topped that experience at Boston’s Fenway Park on Thursday for his first career opening day.
“This blows that out of the water,” Rochman said.
Rutschman became the first player in major league history with five hits in an opener, and the Baltimore Orioles survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9.
“To have that close game in the ninth inning and the crowd goes really high. You kind of sit down and say, ‘This is so cool,’” said Rochman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft.
Rutschman — who made his debut with the Orioles the previous May and quickly became indispensable to the budding young club — pitched himself in his first game and finished 5-for-5 with a career-best four RBI hits and a walk on a cold day at Fenway Park, with a score 38 degrees in the first class.
Ramón Llorías hit a pair of Baltimore homers, who finished with 15 hits, nine walks, and five stolen bases.
Kyle Gibson (1-0) allowed four runs and six hits over five innings to earn his first Opening Day win since the 2021 All-Star season with Texas. Gibson gave up an RBI in the first inning before retiring nine consecutive Red Sox batters.
The Orioles nearly gave the game away in the ninth inning.
With Baltimore leading 10-7, closer Félix Bautista walked pinch hitter Raimel Tapia. Alex Verdugo followed with a single and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Cedric Mullins.
Rafael Devers hit. Justin Turner then reached with a single to third when Uriah’s throw was wide, tapia scoring. Masataka Yoshida grounded to battle Jorge Mateo, who came up to second power but threw a powerhouse to first, allowing Verdugo to score.
Bautista hit Adam Duvall on a three-pitch run to finish it off and save it.
The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth inning and three in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Baltimore took a 10-4 lead before Brian Baker allowed three runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox some hope.
The eighth would have been better for the Red Sox had it not been for Devers, who led the run, not become the first player in major league history to run out of a pitch-clock offense. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats when referee Lance Barksdale signaled an infringement that led to strike three.
“There’s no excuse,” said Alex Cora, who fell to 0-5 in Opening Day games as Boston’s manager. “They know the rules.”
Boston offseason and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (0-1) struggled (0-1) in his Fenway debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
“Less than ideal,” Klopper said. “I wasn’t the way I hoped.”
Red Sox: Cristian Arroyo stayed in the game after taking an unintentional turnbuckle to the side of his head in the second inning. Arroyo was tagging Rutschman at second base while trying to lengthen a single. Roachman’s leg snapped as he slipped awkwardly. … LHP James Paxton has been placed on the 15-day injured list (backdated to March 27) with a right hamstring injury.
One of six Baltimore players to debut on Opening Day, Roachman became the youngest Oriole to hit his first Opening Day homer since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984.
The Orioles took advantage of MLB’s larger bases—15 to 18 inch squares—being used for the first time this season. Baltimore has not stolen five bases in a game since last June 24 against the White Sox. Mullins and Jorge Mateo handed two sacks each, and Adam Frazier hit a huge leap in his steals against reliever Ryan Brazier. There was nothing Boston catcher Rhys McGuire could do to stop them, and in the majority of Baltimore’s steals, he didn’t even bother throwing them.
Right fielder Kaleb Ort and Tapia earned the final two spots on Boston’s roster to open the season. Tapia got the nod of Jaren Duran, who was sent down to Triple-A Worcester. Ort pitched a scoreless, one-hit sixth on Thursday.
Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer will make his sixth career start against Boston when the three-game series resumes on Saturday. In 11 road starts last season, he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has made just 11 games over the past three years due to injuries, is set to start his seventh season in Boston.
– Kyle Hightower | AP sports writer
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