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Gomes leads off for first time since 2007

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BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox went the unconventional route and had one of their power hitters bat leadoff on Thursday night, as Jonny Gomes got the nod.

For Gomes, it was his first appearance in the top spot in the batting order since 2007, when he was with the Rays. The right-handed-hitting Gomes wasted little time getting on base, as he hit a leadoff single in the first inning.

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Shane Victorino is expected to be Boston's primary leadoff man against left-handed pitchers, but he is on the 15-day disabled list. Daniel Nava, who led off the first two games against a righty, batted sixth on Thursday against Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen.

Farrell did experiment with Gomes as a leadoff hitter during Spring Training.

"I think I find myself, especially in the season, doing a little bit more homework on the pitcher," said Gomes. "When I'm hitting fifth, you kind of have that luxury of just seeing what his game plan is. I'm spoiled a lot with [Mike] Napoli [hitting in front of me]. First at-bat of the game, first three pitches, it might be a smidge different. But the scouting report stands.

"It's a little more homework before the game. But once my bat goes through the zone, it's just me, and not where I'm hitting in the lineup."

Gomes has a career on-base percentage of .344.

"Selfishly, it's something that I can tuck away and I'm proud about to how my career has evolved," Gomes said. "Every aspect of the game, to just continue ... to where I can hit leadoff for the 2014 Sox, that's tells me personally that the hard work has paid off."

Gomes batting leadoff wasn't the only noteworthy aspect of Thursday's lineup. Grady Sizemore, in anticipation of Friday's 2:05 p.m. ET home opener, got the night off. No. 3 prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. started in center. David Ross made his first start of the season behind the plate, as A.J. Pierzynski got a rest.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["opening_week" ] }
{"content":["opening_week" ] }