“Nobody likes to face them, but they look forward to the challenge,” Showalter added. “You wouldn't be at this level if you didn't like those challenges. Like I've said many times, when a pitcher's on top of his game and a hitter's on top of his game, the pitcher wins more times than not. That's why pitching is at such a premium.”

Ortiz’s homer -- which was his first hit against Jimenez in 11 career plate appearances against the right-hander – was his 432nd career home run, passing Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. for 45th on the all-time list.

Napoli added insurance for Boston (1-1) with a two-run single off reliever Ryan Webb, the Red Sox’s first hit in 13 at bats this season with runners in scoring position.

After right fielder Daniel Nava reached on a one-out single, second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit a ball down the third base line that Ryan Flaherty gloved and threw wildly past first baseman Chris Davis for an error, placing runners at second and third.

Webb intentionally walked Ortiz to load the bases and create a double-play situation, but Napoli laced a single to left that plated two and gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead.

“I thought we were [in it] at 4-2, but the other two they tacked on made for a whole different environment those last few innings," Showalter said.

Left-hander Brian Matusz prevented further damage in the seventh, inducing an inning-ending pop-up from Grady Sizemore. Matusz stranded two baserunners that inning and has stranded 50 of 55 inherited baserunners bating back to the 2012 season.

Lackey, who allowed just two hits after Nick Markakis led off the bottom of the first with a single, struck out six and walked one.

He improved his career mark against the Orioles to 14-5 – his .737 winning percentage against Baltimore is his second best against all American League clubs – and has allowed just three runs in his last two starts against the Orioles, spanning 15 innings.

“He was hitting each part of the plate,” Orioles left fielder David Lough said. “He was locating really, really well and he was on tonight. We kind of weren’t, offensively.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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