FORT MYERS, Fla. – For Daniel Bard, it was a nice start. Especially since it was his first one in five years.
Bard is being moved from a relief role to the rotation and he opened with two hitless innings Tuesday as the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4.
Bard struck out two and walked one. The 26-year-old righty has made 192 appearances in three seasons, all of them in relief.
"First, let's say that wasn't (Baltimore's) 'A' squad out there and we all know that," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "That being said, Daniel's two-seamer was good, his four-steamer was good, he threw four sliders, they all did what he wanted them to do. He looked very comfortable on the mound, looked comfortable out of the windup, got into a stretch he was OK, and felt good afterwards."
Bard made his first start since 2007, his first season in professional baseball.
"I'm not going to go out and guarantee any great success, but I'm not going to rule it out, either. I can tell you that in my mind I don't see any reason why I can't go out and be as good as anybody on this staff. And we have some really good pitchers."
"I'm not going to put any caps on what my expectations are," he said.
Alfredo Aceves, also trying to transition from the Red Sox bullpen to rotation this spring, followed Bard to the mound and pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts.
"Aceves looked like it was just a day at the beach for him," Valentine said. "He was throwing the ball well, and hit his spots, and used more pitches, and different type pitches than Daniel did. They all seemed to be pretty effective."
Left-hander Dana Eveland started for the Orioles, allowing one run and two hits in two innings.
"A little rusty a first, a little almost overly amped," Eveland said. "That was the first time getting that adrenaline pumped since September. It was a good feeling, but at the same time you've still got to hone it in, and I felt like I did a better job in the second inning. Fell behind three hitters in the first inning. Huge disadvantage for me because I'm not going to overpower guys. I've got to pitch ahead and that was the biggest issue, I think."
Chris Tillman followed Eveland. In two innings, he gave up three runs and four hits. All the damage came in his first inning.
"Tilly's capable of better than that first inning," Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "At the major league level, we can't constantly be going through those adjustments."
In his professional debut, right-hander Dylan Bundy pitched a scoreless fifth inning. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Bundy faced the top of the Red Sox lineup — Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Lavarnway. Bundy's only blemish was a walk to Pedroia.
"Obviously, every pitcher wants to face the best," Bundy said. "That's how any pitcher gets better, facing the best. I felt that those three hitters in that lineup were pretty dang good. I came in the game, thought I was going to throw in the eighth or ninth. To pitch in the fifth was pretty special."
Showalter was satisfied with Bundy's performance.
"Another good step for him," Showalter said. "Good spot for him. Another step in the process."
Ellsbury doubled and scored for Boston. Wilson Betemit drove in two runs for Baltimore and Nick Johnson singled and scored.
Clayton Mortensen got the win, striking out four in 2 1-3 scoreless innings. Michael Bowden earned the save with 1 2-3 shutout innings.