John Lackey pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and combined with a pair of relievers on a four-hit blanking in Boston's 4-0 win over the struggling Orioles.
Josh Reddick's two-run double capped a three-run fifth inning, as the Red Sox won for the ninth time in 10 games. The AL East leaders have outscored Baltimore, 24-7, over the first three games of this series.
The teams were playing one night after Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz charged the mound and exchanged swings with reliever Kevin Gregg. Cooler heads prevailed Saturday evening, but home plate umpire Jeff Nelson issued warnings to both benches in the seventh when Lackey pegged Derrek Lee with a pitch on the left thigh.
Lackey (6-8) allowed three hits, a walk and fanned seven batters over 6 2/3 frames to snap a three-start losing streak in which he surrendered 14 runs over 13 1/3 innings.
"I was locating a little bit better but honestly, not a whole lot," Lackey said. "Velocity was pretty much the same and told you [media] my arm felt pretty good the other day so hopefully, moving forward, I'll keep it going."
He moved to 11-4 lifetime against the Orioles. Daniel Bard threw 1 1/3 innings in his 17th straight scoreless appearance and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth inning.
"He was so good, that was fun to watch," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Lackey. "He threw his breaking ball real effectively, really just pitched."
Kevin Youkilis had three hits and drove in two runs, while Jacoby Ellsbury came up a homer shy of the cycle.
Alfredo Simon (1-2) was charged with seven hits and three runs over 4 2/3 innings in Baltimore's sixth straight loss. The O's have fallen in 11 of their last 12 games.
Boston wasted a bases-loaded chance in the opening inning when Ortiz grounded into a double play, but they broke the scoreless contest in the fifth. Ellsbury tripled to right field, but was then tagged out in a rundown when Dustin Pedroia hit a ball back to the mound. Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked, leading to Youkilis' RBI double to left field.
"He [Simon] got into some sticky situations but worked his way out of them and it looked like he was going to get out of another one," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He had Youkilis in a spot he could put him away, but left a breaking ball out over the plate."
Ortiz was intentionally walked and Reddick then hit a liner to right field for a 3-0 contest, ending Simon's night on the mound as he was replaced by Mark Hendrickson.
The Orioles put two runners on base in the seventh, but came up empty. After Lee was hit with two down, Lackey fanned Mark Reynolds, but the ball eluded catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and scooted away. Bard then retired Nolan Reimold on an infield pop-up.
Pedroia led off the bottom half with a double and scored on a Youkilis one-out single to right field.
Bard has held opponents scoreless in 18 1/3 straight innings...Saturday marked the 35th anniversary of the passing of former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who assumed ownership of the team in 1933...The Red Sox have won five of their seven matchups with the Orioles this season, including five in a row.