BALTIMORE -- Boston's Jon Lester pitched seven scoreless innings and David Ortiz went 4-for-4 with a home run to lead the Red Sox to a 5-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before an announced 32,891 Sunday.
With the victory, Boston took the three-game series against the third-place Orioles. Boston also regained first place in the American League East when the Yankees -- led by Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano, beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, 6-5. The Red Sox, who had led the division for 60 consecutive days before falling into second with on Friday night, lead the rays by one-half game.
Lester improved to 15-2 all-time against Baltimore and allowed just four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. He has quality starts in four of his past five games.
Ortiz, who was ejected the previous night for arguing with home plate umpire Tim Timmons and then destroyed a dugout phone with his bat, hit his team-leading 20th home run. Ortiz received a loud chorus of boos with each at-bat and put his finger to his lips to mockingly quiet the crowd after the homer.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and five walks over 5 1/3 innings. He is now winless in his past 10 starts, having not earned a victory since May 27 at Washington.
Hammel consistently fell behind hitters for much of the day and surrendered a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out double by Mike Napoli. He then hung an 85 mph slider to Ortiz, who launched the pitch over the left-field fence for a 3-0 lead in the second.
Lester, on the other hand, cruised through the Orioles lineup, and he retired 10 consecutive hitters before allowing a two-out single by Adam Jones in the fourth.
The Orioles threatened in the sixth when Chris Davis reached on an error and Jones singled. However, Lester struck out Matt Wieters and then got J.J. Hardy to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Red Sox opened a 5-0 lead in the eighth with a two-RBI single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia off lefty T.J. McFarland.
Notes: RHP Jairo Asencio was designated for assignment by the Orioles on Sunday to make room for outfielder LJ Hoes, who was recalled prior to the game from Triple-A Norfolk. ... American League home run leader Davis batted third for just the third time this season and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has also struck out in 22 consecutive games. ... Ortiz now has 11 seasons with at least 20 home runs with the Red Sox, joining Dwight Evans and Jim Rice for second most behind Ted Williams (16). ... The Red Sox can put more space between themselves and the Rays with a makeup game Monday night at Fenway Park.