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.
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.
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.