Baltimore — Five days earlier, Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman proved to be a worthy adversary to Boston Red Sox ace Rick Porcello.
Given a second chance Monday night, Porcello got the best of rookie Dylan Bundy and beat the Orioles 5-2 in a duel between the top two teams in the AL East.
Porcello (21-4) pitched a four-hitter, striking out seven and walking none in his third complete game of the year. Last week at Fenway Park, the right-hander gave up one run in eight innings against Baltimore but was outpitched by Gausman and took the loss.
In this one, Bundy (9-6) allowed two-run homers to David Ortiz and Mookie Betts before being lifted after five innings.
“We knew we were going to have to have a similar outing like we had in Boston to have a chance,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Coming off a four-game sweep of the Yankees, Boston sustained its late-season surge in the opener of an important four-game series for both clubs. The Red Sox stand atop the division by a season-high four games.
Adam Jones homered and Mark Trumbo picked up his 102nd RBI for the Orioles, who began the day with a one-game lead over Toronto for the top AL wild card.
“We’ve got three more here against (the Red Sox),” Baltimore’s Manny Machado said. “We’ll just put it on a track where we need to be.”
Boston’s goal over the next three days will be to put away the Orioles for good.
“We’re going to try,” Ortiz said.
Porcello threw only 89 pitches — 65 in the strike zone.
“When it’s his day on the mound, he sets the tone for us,” manager John Farrell said. “Did once again.”
Porcello has allowed three runs or fewer in 11 straight starts and is sure to receive strong consideration for the AL Cy Young Award after going 9-15 last year.
“All of us are honored to be mentioned for those awards,” he said. “But I’ve been saying it all year, our focus is winning and what we want to accomplish as a team.”
Playing his final regular-season series in Baltimore, the 40-year-old Ortiz connected with a man on in the fifth for a 5-1 lead. It was his 35th home run of the season and the 53rd of his career against the Orioles.
When he finally walks away from the game, Ortiz will certainly miss taking his cuts at Camden Yards.
“Yeah, man, it’s just super nice. I like it,” he said, “especially when it’s warm like it is.”
Betts put Boston up 2-0 with his 31st homer in the third. It was his eighth home run in seven games at Camden Yards — most in a season by a Red Sox in a visiting ballpark since Jimmie Foxx hit eight in St. Louis in 1939.
Porcello retired the first 11 batters before hitting Machado with a pitch in the fourth. Trumbo followed with an RBI double.
The Red Sox responded with a three-run fifth. Dustin Pedroia snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a run-scoring single before Ortiz launched a 1-1 pitch over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.
Jones homered in the eighth, his 28th.