Victories in late August do not count more than the wins in April, but they sure seem that way.
Just ask the fans sitting on the edge of their seats rooting for the Orioles and the Red Sox in this week's series.
This much is certain: The Red Sox have been in first place or tied for first-place for 125 days this season, and they padded their lead over the Orioles on Tuesday with a 13-2 victory at Fenway Park.
The O's now trail the first-place Red Sox by 6 1/2 games in the American League East. Once again, Boston's starting pitching was outstanding, and the rotation now sports a 2.75 ERA in the Sox's past 13 games.
"It's been one of the constants of this team, and each guy who walked to the mound on this most recent trip not only went deep into the game, but along with what their level of performance showed, we'll need more of it going forward," manager John Farrell said. "We talked about it the other day. We feel like our rotation is going to be, and has been, one of the main keys and a cornerstone for us in how we fare over these last 30 games."
It will be John Lackey's turn come Wednesday. The Red Sox have been shut out five times in Lackey's starts. In his last outing, he fired an eight-inning complete game but lost, 2-0, to the Giants.
"I want to win the game. I didn't come here for ERA. I came here to try to win a championship," Lackey said.
The Orioles will counter with Bud Norris, who turned in his worst start with Baltimore on Friday. The right-hander exited after loading the bases in the fifth against Oakland and was eventually tagged with seven earned runs in the no-decision.
"I'm going to go look at some stuff and kind of figure some things out, but I felt pretty good," Norris said. "Threw the ball really well, but definitely have got to work and figure something out."
Orioles: Jones held hitless by Red Sox
• Adam Jones had hit in 11 straight games against the Red Sox dating back to Sept. 30, 2012, before going 0-for-3 Tuesday. He is still batting .327 with three doubles, three homers, eight runs and nine RBIs in his past 12 games against Boston.
• Manny Machado, who has 44 doubles this season, is on pace for 55, which would be one shy of Brian Roberts' club record set in 2009.
• Chris Davis has 21 home runs against AL East opponents this season.
Red Sox: Pedroia heating up
• Dustin Pedroia is batting .424 with six doubles, a triple, four RBIs and seven runs during his current eight-game hit streak.
• The Red Sox acquired outfielder Quintin Berry from the Kansas City system for right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen in a Minor League trade Tuesday.
•Clay Buchholz will make his second rehab appearance Friday and is scheduled to throw about 55 pitches with either Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket.
• Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is seven hits shy of 2,000 for his career.
• Orioles lead the season series, 6-5, which includes a 4-3 record in Baltimore and 2-2 mark in Boston. The O's have won 15 of the past 23 and 25 of the last 38 games against the Red Sox.
• The Orioles have won all five games Norris has started.