Mookie Betts hit his career-high 32nd homer to help Boston take an early lead, and the host Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 Monday night at Fenway Park.
The victory was big for the Red Sox as it clinched home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs, which start next week. Boston improved to 106-51 with the win.
Betts finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs plus a stolen base, his 29th of the season, and now he has a .343 average. Andrew Benintendi went 2-for-4 with one RBI and his 21st steal.
Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi (6-7) gave the Red Sox five solid innings. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits. He also struck out 10 without a walk.
For Eovaldi, two wild pitches in the fifth were the lone blot on his record, as they helped Baltimore (45-111) to its first run. However, the Orioles couldn’t do much more.
For Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy, though, the problems that have plagued him through the last few months continued in this game. Bundy (8-16) labored through three innings, throwing 90 pitches and giving up four runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
He also gave up his 39th homer of the season, a major league high, on Betts’ home run. The 39 homers also are a franchise record.
The Red Sox took charge of this game to take a 4-0 lead in the second inning.
Steve Pearce and Brock Holt hit back-to-back, one-out doubles that gave Boston a 1-0 lead. Christian Vazquez followed with an RBI single, and Betts later belted a two-run homer on top of the Green Monster in left that gave Boston a 4-0 edge.
In the fourth, against left-hander Donnie Hart, Benintendi made it 5-0 on an RBI infield single. Xander Bogaerts added an RBI single later in the inning for a six-run advantage.
Baltimore finally scored in the fifth when Tim Beckham came in on one of Eovaldi’s wild pitches. Adam Jones added another run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly.
Sean Gilmartin threw four scoreless innings in relief, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out two.