BALTIMORE -- Mookie Betts hit a career-high three home runs on a five-RBI night that highlighted the Red Sox's 6-2 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a seventh-inning single.Betts went deep twice off Orioles starter
BALTIMORE -- Mookie Betts hit a career-high three home runs on a five-RBI night that highlighted the Red Sox's 6-2 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a seventh-inning single.
Betts went deep twice off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, including a leadoff shot, and then again off reliever Dylan Bundy in the seventh. He became the first Red Sox player with a three-homer game since Will Middlebrooks on April 7, 2013. Betts is also the first Red Sox leadoff hitter to go deep three times in one game.
• Mookie posts first 3-HR game of career
"He's been having a solid year for us -- you look at 35 RBIs out of the leadoff spot coming into tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, "so I can't say that we were waiting for him to turn it on. But tonight was one of those rare nights that a player has."
Dustin Pedroia followed Betts' first homer with another off Gausman, who has allowed three homers in back-to-back starts. It marked the second time the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs this season and the first time they led off with consecutive homers since July 27, 2011, against the Royals.
In his season debut, Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez allowed two runs on six hits over six innings against his former club. O's center fielder Adam Jones went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
"I think it's pretty obvious that we're kind of struggling right now, but hopefully we can just kind of turn it around and even this series up," Gausman said. "They are the best team in baseball right now, so you have to be on your game and if you're not, it's tough against this team, against this lineup, against their bullpen."
The win ensured that the Red Sox (32-20) would close the four-game set Thursday in sole possession of first place in the American League East, dropping Baltimore to 28-22.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bogaerts keeps hit streak intact: Facing Bundy, Bogaerts blooped a single to left, just out of the reach of diving left fielder Nolan Reimold to extend his his streak to 24 games.
"I knew I had [to get] that to live another day," said Bogaerts, who finished 1-for-5 and is batting .393/.430/.607 (42-for-107) over the course of his streak. More >
E-Rod sharp in '16 debut: Given a two-run led before taking the mound, Rodriguez allowed single runs in the third and the fifth and kept the O's off the board in the sixth after Manny Machado's leadoff double. Rodriguez struck out three and didn't issue a walk, throwing 61 of his 89 pitches for strikes. More >
Young shines with glove: With Jackie Bradley Jr. on paternity leave, Chris Young made the most of his first start in center field this season. With the Orioles trailing, 5-1, in the third and trying to mount a comeback, Young robbed Machado of a potential two-run homer to center. Young timed the play perfectly, leaping at the warning track and extending his glove just above the seven-foot wall to make the catch.
"He saved two runs right there," Rodriguez said. "I've got to take him for dinner tonight or [Wednesday] night for that."
Gausman struggles, rebounds: After allowing just three home runs in his first six starts, Gausman has allowed three in each of his past two games. Still, he was able to go six innings. The righty didn't allow a hit after Travis Shaw's two-out double in the third, struck out eight and matched a career high with 113 pitches.
"The first couple innings, he had trouble finding his way," manager Buck Showalter said. "They hit the mistakes he made, obviously. But it's good to see him come back and compete and get through those six innings."
The backsliding O's: Baltimore has lost seven of its past nine, scoring two or fewer runs in five of those contests. After a red-hot first month (14-9), the O's are three games out of first place and closed May one game over .500 (14-13).
"It's the snowball effect. To a certain extent, that's kind of what we have going right now," third baseman Paul Janish said. "As quickly as the game goes the other way, it can go our way, too, and that's what we're waiting for, and we look forward to that happening sooner or later."
"I'm thinking to myself like, 'Mookie is having himself a pretty good night. I can do without him adding to it with that catch, right?' He is one of the better young players in the game, obviously. At this juncture in time, I could use the hit, so I'll give him a hard time [Wednesday] in BP about it." -- Janish, on Betts' diving catch in the seventh
"I know each day that I got it. I wake up, I know I have it. I come to the field, I know I have it. The first couple of at-bats, you're not trying to put pressure on yourself, but as the game goes on, third, fourth at-bat, you know you're time is running out, so you just try to focus a little bit more, put up a good at-bat and see what happens. I definitely know I have it." -- Bogaerts, on his 24-game hitting streak
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Betts became the first Red Sox player to homer in each of the first two innings of a game since Manny Ramirez (Aug. 31, 2004 vs. Angels) and the first leadoff hitter in Red Sox history to hit two homers in the first two innings.
With two outs in the eighth, O's slugger Chris Davis sent Koji Uehara's ball deep into the right-field stands. The ball was ruled foul and, after a brief crew chief review, it stood as called.
"Chris hits a home run and we can't get a camera angle that will show it." Showalter said. "We finally got one that showed it was fair. I think everybody knew it was probably fair, but if they had called it fair, they wouldn't have overturned it."
Red Sox:Joe Kelly (2-0, 6.30 ERA) returns to the mound after throwing just 4 2/3 innings and allowing nine hits and five runs in a 7-5 loss in Toronto on Friday. Kelly did not factor in the decision and enters Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. ET matchup with the longest winning streak in the AL. He is 10-0 in his past 10 decisions over 14 starts since Aug. 1, 2015.
Orioles: Baltimore will seek its first win of the series, sending right-hander Mike Wright to the mound. Wright has gone five innings in three of his past four starts. He went just 4 2/3 in his last outing against the Indians, in which he surrendered three runs on six hits in a no-decision.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com.