BALTIMORE — Mookie Betts hit a career-high three homers and drove in five runs, and the Red Sox cruised past the Orioles 6-2 on Tuesday night to open a three-game lead in the AL East.
Betts led off the game with a shot to center and added a three-run drive to left in the second inning. After lining out to second base in the fourth, Betts hit a solo homer to right in the seventh.
Batting in the ninth inning with a chance to tie the major-league record of four homers in a game, Betts grounded out to second against rookie Ashur Tolliver.
Still, he's the first Boston player to hit three homers in a game since Will Middlebrooks against the Blue Jays on April 7, 2013. Betts' 12 home runs rank second on the team behind David Ortiz, who has 14.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts stretched his career-best hitting streak to 24 games with a single in the seventh inning. It's the second-longest streak in the majors this season behind teammate Jackie Bradley Jr., whose 29-game streak ended last week.
Bradley was placed on the paternity list Tuesday, but the Red Sox banged out 10 hits without him.
Betts and Dustin Pedroia opened the game with back-to-back home runs on Kevin Gausman's second and fifth pitches. In the second inning, Betts followed two walks with a liner that squeezed inside the leftfield foul pole for a 5-0 lead.
Betts made it 6-2 in the seventh with a shot off Dylan Bundy.
Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez pitched effectively in his season debut. The left-hander was activated from the disabled list after being sidelined since March with a right knee injury.
Gausman settled down after his rough start but tied his career worst for the second straight outing by allowing three home runs.