BALTIMORE — David Ortiz put his bat to good use, Jon Lester rekindled his dominance of the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox climbed back into first place in the AL East.
All in all, the Red Sox couldn’t have found a better way to end a whirlwind weekend.
Lester allowed four hits over seven innings, Ortiz went 4 for 4 with his 20th home run and Boston used a 5-0 victory yesterday to earn their first series win over the Orioles in two years.
As a bonus, the Red Sox took a half-game lead over Tampa Bay, which lost to the Yankees. Boston stood atop the division for 60 straight days before a defeat Friday night ended the run. The Rays visit Fenway Park for a makeup game tonight.
Mike Napoli had two doubles and an RBI for the Red Sox, who took two of three from the third-place Orioles. Boston had lost six straight series to Baltimore since a four-game sweep in July 2011.
All four hits against Lester (10-6) were singles. He struck out eight, walked two and did not allow a runner past second base. The right-hander improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 15-2, although he lost his previous two decisions against them.
“They’ve always been a tough team to pitch against,” Lester said of the Orioles. “They’ve always had a great offensive lineup. Our guys did a good job today with (Orioles starter Jason) Hammel, making him work and giving me a couple of runs, giving me a cushion to work with.”
On Saturday night, Ortiz shattered the casing of two dugout phones with his bat after being ejected from the game. Yesterday, he opted to take his swings at Baltimore pitchers.
Asked if he took a different attitude into the game because of his outburst on Saturday, Ortiz replied, “No, no. It’s the opposite. You’ve got to make sure you don’t get out of your game. Sometime when you get excited it gets worse. Just go out there like I normally do.”