Chris Sale and Brian Knight were not on the same page Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards.
The home plate umpire appeared to squeeze the Boston Red Sox starter on a handful of pitches, which caused frustration to build within the left-hander as he continued his outing against the Baltimore Orioles.
Sale’s anger gave way in the seventh inning as Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled his ace from the ballgame. While making his way to the dugout, Sale barked at Knight and then let the umpire have it even more before he made his way to the clubhouse, prompting his ejection.
Although the fiery southpaw didn’t exit the contest on the happiest note, his great outing (one run allowed on two hits with nine strikeouts over six innings) paced Boston to a 5-1 win and a three-game series sweep.
After the game, Sale explained why his emotions got the best of him.
“Yeah, I mean, it happens,” Sale said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “There’s going to be points in the season, points in a game where stuff happens. No one’s perfect. Obviously lost my cool a little bit. That’s going to happen, too. I like competing and when I feel like I’m getting something taken away from me, I get pretty emotional. But at the end of the day, we’re human. Stuff is going to happen. It is what it is.”
Despite a helping of built-up frustration, Sale didn’t let loose until he was pulled from the game. As he explained in his postgame media availability, being too animated at any point before his departure would have been foolish.
“You put people in bad situations when you do that,” Sale said. “Our bullpen has worked their butts off this year. We’ve leaned on them quite a bit, so doing something stupid in maybe the second, third or fourth inning — I still got a job to do. I try to push that to the wayside and deal with it later. I’d much rather go out there and do my job and fill up innings and try to win a ballgame.”
Aside from being an elite pitcher, it’s safe to say Sale is an All-Star teammate.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Orioles:
— Mookie Betts got the Red Sox on the board with a solo home run in just his second game since returning from the disabled list. If you were surprised by Betts going yard so quickly coming off the DL, Sale can’t relate.
“I’m almost not even impressed by most of the things he does anymore,” Sale said. “He’s an unbelievable ballplayer. There’s nothing I can say here anymore that’s going to be anything new to anybody. He’s definitely a spark plug in our lineup.”
— Andrew Benintendi finished off the series with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. In the three games against the O’s, the young outfielder went 5-for-10 with a home run, two RBIs and five walks.
— Justin Haley was strong in his Red Sox debut. The 26-year-old tossed two scoreless innings to close out the game in which he allowed two hits.
— J.D. Martinez kept up his red-hot pace with his 22nd home run of the season. After not homering in Boston’s first six games of the campaign, the veteran slugger hasn’t suffered a home-run drought longer than five contests.
— The Red Sox improved to 9-1 against the Orioles this season.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports