It’s a sweep for Boston in Baltimore, giving the team a perfect start three games into a ten-game road trip. This was the easiest leg of the trip, of course, but they got the job done even if it wasn’t as dominant as it could have been. This one was mostly dominant, though. Chris Sale was outstanding yet again, allowing just one run for the second straight outing. He also got a little spicy with the umpire, which was entertaining. The offense did more than enough to win, scoring five runs thanks in part to a couple of solo homers from Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. It’s nice to have the band back together.
For the second straight start, Sale was absolutely electric and that has put aside most concerns we had after his pervious two outings. Prior to this game on the NESN broadcast, Jerry Remy point out a change to Sale’s starting position on the mound from his last outing where the lefty squared his shoulders up to the batter rather than starting closer to the stretch position. That clearly paid dividends in that outing, and while he wasn’t throwing 100 mph on Wednesday afternoon he certainly handled Orioles hitters with no problems. He brought consistent 98 mph heat along with an A-version of his slider, and it was unfair for his opponents.
As is the case for most of his great outings, you could tell right from the get-go that it had the potential to be a special night. He should have had a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts in the first, but he had to settle for a 1-2-3 inning with just one strikeout thanks to a bad call from the umpire. He also got a little help from Rafael Devers to end that inning, as the young third baseman seems to be making strides in the right direction on the defensive end of things.
Sale didn’t slow down at all after that either, striking out the first two batters he faced in the second. Baltimore did get their first baserunner that inning when Mark Trumbo’s jersey was just barely nicked by a pitch, but Sale came right back with a groundout to end the inning. The third would go similarly as the southpaw racked up a pair of guys around a single baserunner, though this time the runner did make it to second thanks to a single and a stolen base. Still, he was dominating.
The fourth would be the biggest sign of trouble to that point in the game, though more in terms of pitches thrown than real worry. He only allowed a single and a walk in that inning and struck out one batter around that. After that inning, Sale had to sit for a while thanks to a big rally from his offense, leading to some concern that he may struggle a bit in the fifth. Instead, he tossed a ten-pitch 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Ho hum.
He came back out for the sixth and worked around a leadoff single. The lefty would enter for the seventh as well, but he ended up walking the first two batters he faced before leaving the game. As a fun bonus, Sale was ejected on his way off the mound as he cursed out the ump. Nothing should come of it, though. Brandon Workman would come in and allow one of the runners to score before ending the inning and closed the book on Sale’s night with just one run being charged to the southpaw.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense were looking for a big day going up against an inexperienced pitcher unexpectedly making his major-league debut. Yefry Ramirez was called up from Triple-A for this game after scheduled starter Andrew Cashner was placed on the disabled list earlier in the week. The 24-year-old righty wasn’t overly dominant or anything, but he spent the first part of this game largely baffling Red Sox hitters and failing to allow much damage.
Over the first two innings, Boston hitters only managed to reach base twice. Once in the first inning on a well-placed blooper from Andrew Benintendi and another time in the second when Brock Holt was hit by a pitch. Other than that, it was a whole lotta nothing.
That changed in the third when we really got to welcome Betts back from the disabled list. After Jackie Bradley Jr. made the first out of the inning, Betts came to the plate and worked a full count. On the seventh pitch of the at bat, he got a fastball up and away and he pushed it way out into the seats in right-center field for his 18th homer of the year. With that, Boston had a 1-0 lead.
After that, the Red Sox wouldn’t be completely shut down for a couple of innings, but they didn’t get any runs on the board. They did manage one more runner in that third inning on an error, but nothing came of that. Then, in the fourth, they had a pair of singles but the first from Eduardo Núñez was quickly cancelled out when he was caught stealing.
So with that the score was still just 1-0 heading into the fifth, and there the young Orioles starter began to lose his control and the Red Sox were able to take advantage. After Bradley struck out to lead off the inning, Betts and Benintendi drew back-to-back walks and Ramirez was pulled from the game. Unfortunately for Baltimore, Mike Wright didn’t help. Instead, he moved Betts to third on a wild pitch before allowing a sacrifice fly to extend Boston’s lead to two. After Martinez drew a walk of his own, Devers came through with an RBI single and the lead was three. Núñez was able to keep it going with a single of his own, and though Martinez was almost out at home, almost doesn’t count. The play at the plate was reviewed and upheld, and ultimately the Red Sox got their lead up to 4-0 after their fifth try at the plate.
In the seventh, they were able to extend their lead by even more thanks to more power on display. It seems that Martinez got jealous of the Mookie love after the latter went deep, so in the seventh the Red Sox slugger took an 0-2 fastball above the zone and smashed it to the opposite field for his 22nd home run of the season. It’s June 13, by the way. Seems pretty good.
With the 5-1 lead after seven-and-a-half, the Red Sox turned to Justin Haley to make his Red Sox major-league debut. He had pitched some during the first half last year for Minnesota after being selected in the Rule 5 draft the previous winter. He allowed a one-out walk in the eighth, but that was it. The righty came back out for the ninth, and while he allowed a couple of baserunners to get into scoring position he eventually locked things down. It’s a sweep!
The Red Sox will look to carry this momentum from the sweep out west to Seattle as they take on a red-hot Mariners team. David Price will go for the Sox for the first game of this series, and he’ll take on Felix Hernandez. First pitch is at 10:05 PM ET.