Sunday was a first for Chris Sale.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander had been untouchable during the first inning during his first 11 starts of the season, but the Baltimore Orioles figured him out during the first frame at Camden Yards.
The O’s knocked Sale around to the tune of three runs on three hits in a 39-pitch inning. Over his first 11 starts of the season, he only had allowed one hit during the first frame.
But the Red Sox lefty bounced back, throwing 71 pitches and allowing just three hits over the next five innings.
Sale ended up allowing three runs on six hits while striking out nine in six innings of work in the Red Sox’s 7-3 win.
It was all in day’s work for the hard-throwing lefty.
“That’s the job of a starting pitcher,” Sale said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Fill up as many innings as you can. I really had to refocus after that (first inning), not let my emotions get the best of me. We’re still in it, so you cash it in after the first it’s going to be a long day. I have confidence in my team behind me, to just go out there and pitch and know that at some point in the game we are going to score again.”
Sale hasn’t been his normal dominant self over his last six starts. He has a 4.66 ERA and only has tossed four quality starts over that time frame. But he is 5-0 in those six starts, and the Red Sox are 9-3 overall when Sale takes the hill.
Sale did exactly what an ace is expected to do Sunday: He gave the Red Sox a chance to win despite not having his best stuff. And the Red Sox rewarded his effort.
Here are more notes from Red Sox vs. Orioles.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. is on a tear. He has hit safely in six straight games, going 8-for-19 with 10 RBIs.
— Dustin Pedroia’s sprained left wrist is progressing and he is scheduled to take batting practice Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, Red Sox manager John Farrell told the media before Sunday’s game.
— Andrew Benintendi entered Sunday’s game hitting .129 in his last 73 at-bats. He went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI against the Orioles on Sunday.
— Brian Johnson hasn’t been ruled out for next weekend’s spot start against the Detroit Tigers. Johnson was expected to take the place of the injured Eduardo Rodriguez when the Sox return to Fenway Park, but he was removed from his start Saturday with Triple-A Pawtucket due to what is being called a hamstring cramp. Farrell, however, said no decision has been made on Johnson’s availability.
“I know that he was going in for some exams here this morning,” Farrell said, per Mass Live’s Christopher Smith. “I had a chance to exchange a few texts with him. He felt better than maybe anticipated. But we’ll see how he comes through the exam there today and any type of prescribed treatment or throwing program that would take place following.”
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