BALTIMORE -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the Orioles:
* Porcello is burnishing his Cy Young credentials.
Porcello earned his 21st victory Monday at a time when no one else in the league has 20, going the distance while allowing just two runs.
He also lowered his ERA to 3.08 and moved into third in the A.L. in innings pitched. In fact, in virtually every meaningful category other than strikeouts, Porcello is in the Top 5 among A.L. starters -- innings, wins, ERA, complete games.
But here's what might be most impressive: Porcello has lost twice in his last 23 starts.
And sure, the "win'' for starters has been devalued and debunked in recent years, given that it's too tied to run support and other things beyond the control of a starter.
Still, to go four months and lose only twice, while routinely taking his team deep into games, remains fairly impressive.
* Given some building animosity, it could get interesting at Camden Yards over the next three nights.
Maybe it's the familiarity that comes with playing 19 times per season.
But there's some testiness between these clubs, exhibited a few times Monday night.
First, Manny Machado, who seems to have a particularly low threshold when it comes to being hit or pitched inside, jawed with Rick Porcello on his way to first after being drilled in the arm by a Porcello fastball.
Porcello didn't take kindly to the message, reminding Machado that he had no reason to throw at him with Mark Trumbo on deck and the Sox in possession of a mere 2-0 lead. Porcello asked, in a fairly profane way, to re-examine his thought process.
Later, Tyler Wilson came inside on David Ortiz and caught him in the legs with a pitch. Ortiz didn't seem to object or read too much intent, but dugout shots showed that Porcello was irate.
Three more games here this week. Stay tuned.
* What is it with Mookie Betts and Camden Yards?
Betts has played seven games here this season and has hit eight homers.
Recall that back in late May-early June, Betts hit five homers here in the span of seven plate appearances.
When the Red Sox returned here in mid-August, Betts had himself another multi-homer game, hitting two on Aug. 17 while knocking in five runs.
On Monday night, Betts had two walks, and of course, another homer -- a two-run shot in the third to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Eight homers in seven games in an opposing ballpark?
Of course, Camden Yards is a homer haven, with short power alleys. But in a power-packed Red Sox lineup, no one has had (italics please) that (end italics) kind of success here. Not David Ortiz, nor Hanley Ramirez or any other power threat.