PIT@BOS: Gomes' single gives the Red Sox the lead

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.

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.

Worth noting

• Red Sox closer Koji Uehara celebrated his 39th birthday on Thursday, but has shown no signs of slowing down.

"I think a lot of people think that he's just come on to the scene with his performance last year," said Farrell. "I've said this repeatedly -- this has been an outstanding pitcher for a number of years, whether it was in Japan or here in the States.

"The fact that he is of the age he is, that's a testament to his work ethic. If you see what he goes through after he pitches late at night, with a workout, there's a reason why he's been durable and an elite performer. He's talented and he's got a great work ethic."

• Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino already had to miss the trip to the White House because of the flu, and there's a chance he'll also be absent during Friday's ring ceremony.

"He's in quarantine. He's got the flu," said Farrell. "He was able to go in and get treatment on his [right] hamstring, but other than that, we're keeping him away from everybody else. He's still highly contagious."