BALTIMORE — Rick Porcello pitched a complete game, and Mookie Betts and David Ortiz hit two-run homers as the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Monday.
The first-place Red Sox (86-64) improved to 20-9 within the American League East since July 1.
Boston leads the second-place Orioles (82-68) by four games with 12 games remaining. Baltimore was a half-game ahead Toronto for the first AL wild-card spot pending the Blue Jays’ late Monday game at Seattle.
Porcello (21-4), the major league leader in wins, allowed four hits and no walks while striking out seven. He entered the game with a 1-4 record and 5.53 ERA against the Orioles in seven previous starts.
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Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia each had two hits for the Red Sox, who won their fifth in a row and moved to a season-best 22 games over .500.
Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (9-6) gave up five runs on six hits in five innings. The rookie had won at Boston on Sept. 13 in his previous start.
It didn’t take long for the game to have an edge to it.
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the third. Xander Bogaerts singled with one out, and two batters later, Mookie Betts homered to left on an 0-2 pitch from Bundy.
It was the 31st homer of the year for Betts, who reached base for the 32nd consecutive road game. That brought an ovation from many of the Red Sox fans at the game.
Tempers flared in the fourth when Manny Machado was hit by a pitch by Porcello, who exchanged words with the Orioles third baseman as he walked slowly to first.
That hit-by-pitch came back to bite Porcello, who gave up a run-scoring double to Mark Trumbo. Machado stared back at Porcello after touching home with his hand to make it 2-1.
The Red Sox padded the lead with three runs in the fifth. Pedroia had an RBI single, and Ortiz smacked a two-run homer off Bundy. That gave Ortiz seven homers this year against the Orioles and 53 in his career. It was his 35th long ball of the season overall.
Porcello gave up a solo homer to Adam Jones in the eighth.
On Sunday night in Boston, Hanley Ramirez slugged two home runs, including the go-ahead solo shot in the seventh inning, and had four RBIs to help the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 5-4.
Ramirez also launched a three-run shot two innings earlier. Ramirez has 28 homers on the year, nine in September and 20 since the All-Star break.
He also matched his career high in RBIs at 106, set in 2009 with the Florida Marlins. Ramirez was 9-for-16 with four homers and nine RBIs in the four-game series with the Yankees.
Robby Scott earned his first career victory in 2/3 innings of relief for Boston.
Koji Uehara notched his seventh save with a scoreless ninth.
Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz stumbled through a 3 2/3-inning no-decision, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Pomeranz is 0-3 in five starts since his last win Aug. 20 at Detroit.
Gary Sanchez smashed his second home run in as many days and his 16th of the season in just 41 games, the most by a Yankees rookie since Hideki Matsui clubbed 16 in 2003.
The only Yankees rookie to hit more homers in a season was Alfonso Soriano, who hit 18 in 2001.
Tyler Clippard (1-1 in AL) took the loss after coughing up Ramirez’s homer.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia tossed four scoreless frames before surrendering three runs in the fifth and another in the second.
NOTES: Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (8-10, 3.43) will face Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-7, 4.98), a former Baltimore minor-leaguer, on Tuesday. … Baltimore INF/OF Steve Pearce (right flexor mass strain) will have surgery on Wednesday in New York and is done for the season, manager Buck Showalter said Monday. “Hopefully, he’s ready to go next spring,” Showalter said. … Orioles LHP Wade Miley (upper back cramps), who was lifted after four innings Sunday against Tampa Bay in a 2-1 win, threw on the side Monday and felt much better, said Showalter, who did not say when Miley could pitch again. … Boston RHP Steven Wright (right shoulder injury) has begun a throwing program in Fort Myers, Fla., and could throw off a mound at a later date, according to manager John Farrell. … The Orioles extended their player-development contract with short-season Class A Aberdeen, a team owned by Cal Ripken Jr.