Porcello wins Major League-leading 21st in Sox's victory

Rick Porcello Manny Machado

Rick Porcello gave a hug to catcher Sandy Leon and then shared high-fives with teammates wearing windbreakers in front of the mound on the infield.

Boston has loads of capable hitters in their lineup.

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 magic number for the Sox to clinch is now 9 games. Only by winning three out of four games against the Red Sox - or, even more unlikely, sweeping them - would the Orioles remain in serious contention to take the AL East pennant.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked Monday if he is beginning to think about a possible pitcher if Baltimore is involved in the American League wild-card playoff game. He entered the game with a 1-4 record and 5.53 ERA against the Orioles in seven previous starts.

While the Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3, the Giants surrendered a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning - marking their 30th blown save of the season - in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are now six games up in the NL West. "We knew coming out of spring training after watching all the things they did in the offseason they were going to be one of the favorites going in".

While Boston sits atop the division, manager John Farrell expects his team to be in a fight to the final day of the season, especially with the amount of talent in the division. The rookie had won at Boston on September 13 in his previous start.

In this one, he threw only 89 pitches - 65 in the strike zone.

"I'm sure Boston will have something to say about the reliability", Showalter said. "He was able to locate early in the count".

The last time a pitcher wont at least 24 games for the Red Sox was Curt Schilling, who did it back in 2004. "You kind of know from start to finish it never stops".

Justin Turner's single in the ninth tied the game, and Gonzalez followed with his drive to deep right field that eluded Hunter Pence. That allowed the Orioles to take the key three-game series. The LSU product has not served up a home run in any of his last five starts and is 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 13 career games - eight starts - against Boston.

The 23-year old burgeoning superstar has demolished Orioles pitching this season, but the way he has toyed with Baltimore's beleaguered pitching staff in their own home has bordered on the ridiculous. The homer total may be hard to reach with only a dozen games left on the schedule. "We've got three more here against them", Machado said.

"We are having fun".

"He threw the ball well", third baseman Manny Machado said.

"He just missed the sinker inside", Leon said. Machado scored on a double off the right field wall by Mark Trumbo. Machado stared back at Porcello after touching home with his hand to make it 2-1.

The Red Sox responded with a three-run fifth.

Mookie Betts continued his prowess at Camden Yards against the Orioles with his two-run homer in the third which gave Boston a 2-0 lead.

- His 53 home runs against the Orioles are tied for his second-most against any team (61 vs Blue Jays, 53 vs Yankees). Big Papi has 118 RBIs in his final big league season.

"It is one of the best lineups in baseball", Bundy said of the Red Sox. "Every year I've always got better as the year's gone on, but this year it's kind of all clicking for me".

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