Move over Ted Williams. Stand aside Cal Ripken Jr.

Make way for David Ortiz.

With a three-run homer in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’ 12-3 pounding of the Baltimore Orioles last night Ortiz joined Williams as the only players in franchise history to post seven 30-homer 100-RBI seasons. And for good measure the homer was the 431st of Ortiz’ career tying Orioles great Ripken for 45th on the all-time list.

“It’s a huge honor for myself to be mentioned with one of the greatest that ever played the game in this organization” Ortiz said of Williams. “Got to keep the line moving try to keep on producing.”

Ortiz also is the only left-handed hitter to notch seven 30-homer 100-RBI seasons in the last 11 years. And considering the 37-year-old slugger missed the final two months of last season and all of spring training and spent the first two weeks of April on the disabled list with a slow-to-heal Achilles injury there were many who doubted whether Ortiz could reach those numbers again.

“Things happen for a reason” Ortiz said. “We have a great medical staff and we have a manager who’s been unbelievable. Everything that is happening is based on what John (Farrell) has done with all of us. He’s the No. 1 reason why everything has changed around here.

“I remember I had a setback in spring training. He came to me straight up and he was like ‘Hey I know I need you but I’m not going to rush you. Take your time. Make sure you’re good to go. When you’re good to go you’re working.’ Those are things that stay in your mind and keep you positive and make you feel like you want to be ready soon as soon as possible so you can come and play for that guy and go to war with him. He’s been incredible.”

Belief in Lester

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer has long been a fan of Jon Lester and as a TV analyst in Baltimore he often has seen the Red Sox lefty at his very best namely a 14-start winning streak against the Orioles early in his career.

So despite everything that happened last season Palmer always believed Lester eventually would pitch like an ace again.

“He’d be the first to tell you he didn’t pitch well last year” Palmer said. “But he also wouldn’t be the first pitcher to have one bad year.”

If anything Palmer credits Lester’s turnaround to improved fastball command. On June 16 the Orioles beat Lester by hitting his cutter his signature pitch throughout the years. And they weren’t the only ones. Lester was in the midst of a 10-start stretch in which he posted a 6.49 ERA prompting even Farrell to suggest that he had become too reliant on the cutter.

But Palmer noted that Lester’s cutter is most effective when he gets ahead in the count with his fastball which he wasn’t doing nearly enough. Since the All-Star break though he has gotten hitters to swing at 49.1 percent of his fastballs compared to 39.4 percent during his midseason downturn according to data compiled by Brooks Baseball an indication that he’s throwing strikes more consistently.

Not coincidentally Lester is 7-2 with a 2.29 ERA including seven shutout innings July 28 against the Orioles. And after making his final regular-season start tonight he may be in line to start Game 1 of the AL Division Series Friday at Fenway Park.