BALTIMORE -- Stephen Drew's recent slump became a distant memory on Saturday night, as the shortstop basically put the Red Sox on his back en route to a 7-3 victory over the Orioles.
Putting together his most productive night in a Boston uniform, Drew cranked two homers and drove in five runs, helping to fuel an offense that had sputtered in recent days.
Backed by Drew's big night, the Red Sox stayed just a half-game behind the Rays for first place in the American League East.
"Well, it's good," said Drew. "The past couple of games I've felt good at the plate and had no luck. It's just good to kind of get a turnaround and a good outcome. Also, it's a good win. That's what we really needed. [Ryan] Dempster came out and threw the ball well and we put some good [at-bats] together."
There was some drama later in the game, when Sox slugger David Ortiz was ejected in the seventh for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Tim Timmons.
Ortiz, who struck out in the at-bat, was upset about a 3-0 pitch that was called a strike and was ejected. After shattering a dugout phone with his bat, just inches away from teammate Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz bounded back on to the field, and had to be held back by manager John Farrell. Pedroia voiced his displeasure to Ortiz in the dugout.
"Guys get frustrated, it's part of the game," said Pedroia. "I just wanted to make sure that David didn't get too bad to where he gets suspended or any of that. But no, that's part of the game."
Farrell might have saved Ortiz a suspension by preventing him from getting near Timmons.
"It was horrible," Ortiz said. "People always focus on when we snap. We're not snapping every day out there, there's a reason why we snap. You always look like the bad guy -- I'm not a bad guy, I'm trying to do my job. You don't take my at-bat away from me like that."
Dempster earned the win, giving up six hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
"He stayed out of the middle of the plate, and he used his split effectively," said Farrell. "He was able to elevate his fastball to some left-handers to get some fly balls. And I think he's got a feel for how he pitches against this team. He doesn't necessarily -- he uses the whole count, for one. He's not afraid to get behind in the count and use a slider or split to get back in the count or get some mis-hits, and against a very aggressive fastball-hitting team, he matches up well."
After a 27-minute rain delay before the first pitch, it was Drew who got the Red Sox started in the third, belting a single off the wall in right. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury benefited from catcher's interference as he ripped a single to right. Thanks to rule 608 C, he was awarded with a hit, moving Drew to third. Shane Victorino drove home Boston's first run on a fielder's choice grounder.
In the fourth, Boston rallied off Baltimore starter Scott Feldman with two outs. Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia started it with singles. Then it was Drew again, and this time he hammered a three-run homer to right. It was Drew's first homer since June 4.
"Yeah, Stephen, those were some big hits for us," said Pedroia. "He swung the bat great. Good at-bats today from a lot of the guys. Good win, we can kind of build on that."
Dempster kept the Orioles off the board for the first four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. After singles by J.J. Hardy and Henry Urrutia, Brian Roberts hammered one off the wall in right. Victorino played the carom well, and just one run scored on the single. Following a strikeout of Nate McLouth, Dempster made a huge pitch, getting Manny Machado on an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Earlier in the at-bat, Dempster thought he was robbed by Timmons on what would have been strike three.
"Luckily I was able to just bear down, make a pitch, get a double play and get out of there," Dempster said.
Carp, again coming through in a spot start, belted a single to left to lead off the sixth. He went 3-for-4 on the night.
"He's done a heck of a job when called upon," said Farrell. "You might look down and say he should get more at-bats coming up here, the way he's been swinging the bat, and he just well might."
Saltalamacchia grounded into a fielder's choice. And Drew barreled one up again. The ball cleared the top of the wall in right and was initially ruled in play, causing mass confusion.
Saltalamacchia also seemed to think it was a home run, and Drew nearly lapped him. Drew wound up coming all the way around, and avoided the tag on a rundown for what was temporarily an inside-the-park homer. But the umpiring crew reviewed the play and correctly ruled that it was over the wall for a homer and the Sox had a 6-1 lead.
"I saw it," Drew said. "You could see me pointing. I'm hitting first and going around, going around and going to second and I could see it hit. No call. Salty's kind of the same way. He saw the same thing. It was just all around, a weird play."
The O's got one back in the bottom of the inning on a fielder's choice grounder against Craig Breslow.
But Victorino got that run back in the seventh when he cranked a solo homer down the line in right.
The difference in the game was Drew.
"An outstanding game for him," said Farrell. "Good swings to the pull side. The two home runs obviously speak for themselves. He hit Feldman well tonight. A couple of balls came back to the middle of the plate that I think he was trying to either cut in on him or sink a two-seamer back onto the plate. Much-needed, obviously."