They said the beef was over, but the beef was not over. The bad blood between the Orioles and the Red Sox continued tonight after Chris Sale threw behind Manny Machado in the first inning, earning warnings for both teams, but thankfully, that was the end of it for the night. At the very least, it certainly set the tone. No love was lost here.
It was surprising, because seconds earlier, things looked so nice. When Adam Jones came to the plate in the second spot, most of Fenway Park got up for a standing ovation, in an explicit rejoinder to the alleged (and almost certainly real) racial abuse he took the night before. When he struck out, Sale took a moment to let the applause accompanying his return to the dugout resonate in the game’s oldest ballpark. It was a nice moment.
It didn’t last long. The next pitch was behind Machado, the teams were warned, and Sale didn’t budge as Buck Showalter likely argued, like much of Twitter, correctly, that Sale should have been ejected. He wasn’t, and that would be the difference on this night. His cheese thereafter would prove the difference.
That, and the fact the Sox actually score runs for him, for once. Han-Ram hit titanic solo moonshots in the fourth and sixth innings, giving the Sox a lead they would never relinquish. I think it’s fair to say he’s heating up, and on a night that Sale would strike out 11 in 8 innings, his offense would be key to the Sox. A Machado moonshot in response wouldn’t do much after a two-run seventh inning for the Sox made the score 5-2.
But that wasn’t the end of the fun. In the eighth inning, there was a triple play! Jackie Bradley Jr. flied to left with nobody out and runners on second and third, and the ball was dropped. When it was relayed back to the infield, Moreland was tagged out between second and third and the force play was initiated at second and first bases. It happened fast enough that it was easy to miss, but it sucked nonetheless.
Then Craig Kimbrel came on an thoroughly owned the O’s, and everyone was happy, especially me, except for the speed in which it happened. Fittingly for a Sale start, I barely had enough time to write this before the game was over, as I generally hope for some delays in the late innings to get my story straight. We didn’t get that tonight, but I’m happy with what we did get.