Red Sox players practice social distancing in a makeshift dugout during the first inning of their season opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday at Fenway Park. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Jose Peraza stepped in for his first at-bat in a Boston uniform Friday night and promptly doubled home a run.

“That one’s ripped,” NESN play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien said over the canned cheering, piped into the empty stands of Fenway Park.

The only real applause came from the Red Sox themselves as Peraza popped up from his slide into second base and pointed to the dugout and his new teammates.

“It is weird playing in a stadium without fans,” Peraza said Saturday, through an interpreter on a ZOOM call.

“They give us so much energy and so much adrenaline when they’re out there … It really is different. Even when you have a good hit or make a good play defensively, you just (usually) hear the roars (of the crowd). It’s something you have to get used to. We understand why it has to happen.

“I’m just trying to play the game that I love.”

Yes, it’s weird but, for those who love baseball, weird is a requirement right now.

With Fenway seats empty, it looked like one of those late, late games after a long rain delay when most of the fans have gone home.

The canned cheers were not overdone, and the NESN crew of O’Brien, Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy were their professional and entertaining selves, even if they were watching the game from a NESN studio.

Orioles starter Tommy Milone struggled, and Eckersley noted:

“When you’re throwing salad like he is, you better know what you want to throw in certain situations.”

Milone looked lost and Boston pounced.

Jose Peraza had a nice debut with the Red Sox on Friday night, going 4 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored in Boston’s 13-2 win over Baltimore in its season opener.

Peraza was one of the understated additions to this team, signed to play second base with Dustin Pedroia and his bum knee fading away. Batting ninth, he enjoyed a crisp 4-for-5 debut, with two RBI.

It was part of a 17-hit night for Boston in a 13-2 rout of Baltimore.

“Obviously we lost Mook (Mookie Betts) …(but) if you look at what this lineup is capable of doing, it could be scary,” said J.D. Martinez, who was 3 for 5 with three RBI.

Um, there is truth there. But there is also the opponent factor. Boston beat up on some pretty bad pitching.

As for Red Sox pitching, Nathan Eovaldi (six innings, one run) was locked in from his first pitch (a 99.6 mph fastball).

“I could feel the juices going. I was definitely excited,” said Eovaldi, who said he wasn’t affected by the absence of fans.

“I was locked in. For me, the intensity was there.”

That was Friday night.

As for Saturday …

If Red Sox fans got too giddy over Friday’s rout, Saturday brought them back to earth. Boston again played an undermanned Baltimore Orioles team that may not win 20 games in this 60-game schedule. But they beat the Red Sox, 7-2.

Baltimore starter Alex Cobb appeared back to the form he showed early in his career with Tampa Bay, holding Boston to a Mitch Moreland solo home run over 5 1/3 innings.

Boston starter Martin Perez could not match Cobb. Signed as Boston’s No. 4 starter (behind Eovaldi, the ailing Eduardo Rodriguez and the injured Chris Sale) Perez is now No. 2.

“He’s set up to handle it, no question,” Red Sox Manager Ron Roenicke said earlier this week. “Now, whether he pitches well or not, that’s always up in the air. But we feel confident with what he can do.”

Perez eventually rewarded Roenicke’s confidence – but too late. After giving up five runs on six hits over 1 1/3 innings, he retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

It was only the second game of the season, but in this shortened slate, it was a tough loss to take. The pitching-thin Red Sox will be underdogs often enough, and cannot afford too many defeats to the likes of Baltimore.

When the Red Sox and Orioles take the field Sunday in the weird, empty confines of Fenway, it will be only the third game, but it already seems like a must-win situation for Boston.

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