BALTIMORE — Red Sox manager John Farrell arrived at Camden Yards with list of items he wanted his team to accomplish over the final three games of the regular season.
The first was to win a few games and secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Along the way Farrell wants to get his primary pitchers some work and hopefully watch a few players accomplish some personal goals.
That made Friday night a complete success for the Sox. They thumped the Baltimore Orioles, 12-3, as Clay Buchholz went seven solid innings and David Ortiz belted his 30th home run before a crowd of 30,774.
Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes also homered for the 97-63 Red Sox, who have their most wins since 2004 with two games to play. They have won five of their last seven games.
Buchholz (12-1) allowed three runs on seven hits. He struck out four without a walk and threw 113 pitches for strikes. His velocity was down from his last start but his command of the strike zone was sharper.
Buchholz has thrown 24 innings and allowed five earned runs in four starts since returning from a three-month stint on the disabled list. The Sox have not announced their postseason rotation but he is lined up to pitch one of the first three games.
Ortiz’s home run, a three-run shot in the eighth inning, came off rookie lefthander Mike Belfiore, a former Boston College player.
Belfiore came out of the bullpen to face Ortiz in his major league debut. He fell behind, 2 and 1, before throwing a fastball that Ortiz took the other way and lined over the wall in left field.
Ortiz has 30 home runs and 103 RBIs. He joined Ted Williams as the only Red Sox players with seven seasons with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs. The home run also was the 431st for Ortiz, tying him with Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. for 45th place all time.
The Sox are 17-7 in September, their most wins in the month since 2005. They moved to 2½ games ahead of the Oakland Athletics in the race for the top seed in the American League pending the result of Oakland’s game at Seattle.
Baltimore starter Scott Feldman couldn’t get through the third inning. He allowed eight runs on eight hits, four of them for extra bases.
The Sox went to work in the first inning, sending nine men to the plate and scoring five runs as Feldman threw 32 pitches.
Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz singled before Mike Napoli drove a double to the gap in right field. It was Napoli’s first at-bat after a four-game break because of a sore left foot.
Daniel Nava followed with a three-run home run to right field, his 12th of the season. Nava had seven in his previous two seasons in the majors.
Gomes, who had sat for three games, drew a walk. With two outs, Stephen Drew tripled to right field, lining a ball down the line. Drew is tied for third in the majors with eight triples. Among American League players, only Brett Gardner and Mike Trout have more.
Nava singled with one out in the third inning. Gomes followed with a single before Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove a cut fastball to right field. The ball landed on top of the fence and was initially called a home run. After a video review by the umpires, Saltalamacchia was credited with an RBI double.
It was Saltalamacchia’s 40th double of the season, a record for a Red Sox catcher. Among active players, only Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, and Yadier Molina have had 40-double seasons while serving primarily as catchers.
Saltalamacchia’s shot ended the night for Feldman.
The Red Sox lost two runs when the home run was overturned. But they got them back quickly when Drew singled to center off reliever Zach Britton.
Britton went 3⅔ innings without allowing a run, slowing down the Red Sox offense.
Buchholz had an uneven outing that was effective. He allowed two hits in the first inning but got Matt Wieters on a fly ball to center for the third out.
In the third inning, Brian Roberts singled ahead of a home run to center field by Adam Jones. It was his 33d of the season.
In the sixth inning, Chris Davis homered deep to left-center. He has 53 on the year, seven against the Red Sox. Davis has 138 RBIs.
Before the home run by Jones, Buchholz had allowed only two home runs over 104 innings this season.
In his second game back after missing 16 games with a fractured bone in his right foot, Jacoby Ellsbury was 0 for 4 and played seven innings in center field. He twice lined out.
Ellsbury is 1 for 6 with a walk since his return.