Power surge, pitching propel Red Sox past Orioles

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- The Boston Red Sox used a combination of power and pitching to overwhelm the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

David Ortiz and Daniel Nava both hit three-run homers for Boston, and Clay Buchholz threw seven good innings as the Red Sox rolled to a 12-3 victory over the Orioles.

This win moved Boston (97-63) one step closer to locking up home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. One more Red Sox victory or Oakland loss clinches the top spot for Boston. That could happen Friday night as the A's have a late game at home, but the Red Sox have put Oakland in a tough position.

"We played a very good game on both sides of the ball tonight," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We had very good at-bats. (Clay) went out ... and he had to pitch. He had to make some pitches to give us seven solid innings tonight."

The Red Sox did most of their damage in the first three innings, getting eight runs and 10 hits. They scored five in the first and three in the third for an 8-0 lead over the Orioles (83-77).

Ortiz's home run was his 30th of the season and gave him seven seasons with 30 homers and 100 RBIs. That ties the club record set by Ted Williams.

"It's a huge honor for myself to be mentioned with one of the greatest to ever play the game, especially in this organization," Ortiz said. "I just want to keep the line moving, trying to keep producing for this ballclub. I just go day by day."

Plus, the home run ruined the major league debut of Mike Belfiore as Ortiz was the first batter the Orioles pitcher faced.

"Welcome to the big leagues," Ortiz said.

That homer also moved Ortiz into a tie with Cal Ripken for 45th place on the career home run list. Both now have 431 homers.

Belfiore later gave up the final Boston homer, a solo shot from Jonny Gomes in the ninth.

Nava went 2-for-5 and drove in three runs, all of which came on his homer in the five-run first against starter Scott Feldman (5-6), who held the Red Sox to two hits in five innings when he last faced them. He gave up eight runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings this time.

"We were hitting the ball and they were falling," Nava said. "Then they were falling with guys on base and obviously that puts up runs on the board."

Stephen Drew also helped by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, driving in one run on a triple and two on a single.

Buchholz (12-1) rebounded after suffering his first loss of the season in his last start. He went seven innings and gave up three runs and seven hits and is looking forward to the playoffs now.

"I'm ready to go physically," Buchholz said. "It was a little bit of a grind today. I didn't have my best stuff out there, and that's the way it goes sometimes."

The Red Sox took command with that five-run first. Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz started the inning with back-to-back, one-out singles before Mike Napoli's RBI double gave the Red Sox a 1-0 edge.

Nava then crushed a pitch from Feldman for the three-run homer to right and a 4-0 lead. Drew later added an RBI triple to cap the inning.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia added his RBI double in the third, a hit originally ruled a three-run homer, but after video review, the umpires changed it back. That gave Boston a 6-0 lead and ended Feldman's night.

"He's solid (but) tonight wasn't the night, though, and that's frustrating for him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I would have liked for him to finish the season on a note that's more indicative of how he's pitched this year."

Saltalamacchia's double was his 40th of the season, a Boston record for primary catchers. Zach Britton took over for Feldman, and Drew greeted him with a two-run single for an 8-0 lead.

Adam Jones (two-run homer) and Chris Davis (solo homer) gave the Orioles all of their offense against Buchholz. Davis now has 53 homers this year.

NOTES: Davis returned to the lineup after missing Thursday's game with the Blue Jays because of a sore foot. Showalter had said Davis was day to day and he hoped he'd return for this series. ... One win in the final three-game series would give the Orioles the season series against Boston. If the Orioles do that, they'd be the only American League East team to take a season series with the Red Sox this year. .. Nava's home run was his first since Sept. 4 when he hit one against the Tigers. ... Saltalamacchia extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his third-inning double.
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