BOSTON (AP) Baltimore manager Buck Showalter was a 21-year-old minor leaguer in the Yankees' system in 1979, with a locker made of ''two nails and a piece of tape.'' None of the players in his current clubhouse was even alive the last time the Orioles held a double-digit lead in the AL East.
''It's just a step,'' he said on Monday night after the Orioles beat Boston 4-0 to open a 10-game lead in the division over the second-place Yankees. ''Every night you get to take a step toward your goal.''
Nelson Cruz had a pair of hits and Miguel Gonzalez took a shutout into the seventh inning as Baltimore won for the ninth time in 12 games. The Orioles have their first double-digit lead in 35 years - and the second-place New York Yankees have 21 games to play.
''It's been incredible,'' said Gonzalez, who has allowed just four earned runs in his last 34 2-3 innings. ''I think our defense and offense have been there the whole year. We're in a good spot.''
Gonzalez (9-7) allowed six hits and three walks while striking out four in 6 1-3 innings. Steve Pearce also had two hits for Baltimore.
The last-place Red Sox had only one runner reach second base in the first six innings. They did not put a runner on third until the seventh, when they loaded the bases with three straight singles against Gonzalez.
But Tommy Hunter struck out Will Middlebrooks and David Ross to end the inning.
Joe Kelly (1-2) allowed three earned runs, six hits and three walks in 6 1-3 innings. He also hit two batters and struck out six.
''We didn't play good defense behind him,'' Ross said. ''We didn't come up with any big hits, especially late. We had the guy on the ropes and couldn't come up with any.''
Baltimore went ahead on singles by Cruz, Chris Davis and Pearce in the second. The Orioles added two runs in the sixth thanks to a walk, a hit batter and an error on shortstop Xander Bogaerts when he couldn't convert a double play. Another failed double play helped Baltimore score a run in the seventh.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy missed the game - his third in a row - and was sent back to Baltimore to have an MRI on his ailing back. Hardy said he took some groundballs and swings but wasn't healthy enough to play. He was scheduled to fly to Baltimore for tests and a possible cortisone shot.
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz (right foot) and 1B Mike Napoli (illness) returned after missing Sunday's game.
The teams play the second game of the three-game series on Tuesday, with Chris Tillman (11-5) scheduled to face Boston rookie Anthony Ranaudo (3-1). The Orioles' magic number to clinch the AL East is 11.
The Red Sox hit into three double plays. But they couldn't turn one in the infield despite five chances, with Orioles batters repeatedly beating the relay to first. With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, the Red Sox botched a potential 3-6-1 double play when shortstop Bogaerts' throw bounced past Kelly, who was covering first, allowing another run to score. Boston did manage a strike out-throw out double play in the ninth.
KICKING IT AROUND
Boston had three errors in the game. In addition to Bogaerts' error, Ross threw the ball into center field when attempting to catch Alejandro De Aza stealing second in the seventh. With De Aza on third, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was rushing in to field Adam Jones' fly ball but muffed it, allowing the run to score.