The Boston Red Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, capping the series with a 4-1 win at Camden Yards.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale gave up one hit and no earned runs with 12 strikeouts through five innings. It was a fantastic performance, one that gave the Sox a chance to win during a rare game where Boston’s lineup couldn’t get much going until the ninth inning.
The Red Sox improved to an MLB-leading 85-35 with the win, while the Orioles fell to an MLB-worst 35-84 with the loss. Boston is 50 games above .500 for the first time since 1946.
Here’s how it all unfolded.
GAME IN A WORD
The Sox ace threw a near-perfect game through five innings in his first outing since being activated off the disabled list.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale got off to a hot start, breezing through the Orioles with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first inning. The Sox ace was even more dominant in the second inning, where he picked up another two strikeouts, including a filthy slider to send Chris Davis back to the dugout. Sale allowed a leadoff single in the third frame, then struck out the side, bringing his K total to seven.
He showed more of the same dominance in the fourth inning by collecting another pair of strikeouts to keep the O’s scoreless. Sale, in his last inning of the day, struck out the side.
He was on a 100-pitch limit and was pulled after five innings. The left-hander allowed one hit and zero runs, struck out 12 (!) and walked no one.
— Tyler Thornburg came out of the bullpen for the sixth inning. He got two quick outs, then loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Ryan Brasier came in and got the final out, striking out Trey Mancini in a nine-pitch at-bat. The Red Sox escaped the inning still leading 2-0.
— Brian Johnson came into the game for the seventh frame. He gave up no hits and one walk in a scoreless inning of work.
— Matt Barnes exited from the bullpen to start the eighth inning. He allowed two singles, then threw a wild pitch to give Baltimore runners on second and third with only one out. A walk to Adam Jones loaded the bases, and Mancini got the Orioles on the board with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
— Craig Kimbrel entered the game in the ninth looking to get the save. He gave up a single and a walk, but closed it out with a strikeout for the final out. All three outs he recorded were strikeouts. Kimbrel now has 35 saves on the season.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Steve Pearce gave the Sox an early lead with a solo home run to left field in the first inning. It was his sixth homer of the season.
— Brock Holt singled in the fourth inning, and later came around to score on a throwing error by Adam Jones during a J.D. Martinez double. The Sox closed the frame with a 2-0 advantage.
— Pearce walked in the fifth inning and advanced to third on Martinez’s second double of the afternoon. Boston wasn’t able to grow its lead, though, as Mitch Moreland struck out and Eduardo Nunez grounded out to end the frame.
— The Red Sox added two huge insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Nunez led off with a single and then stole second. He later scored on an RBI single by Jackie Bradley Jr. as the Sox took a 3-1 lead. Bradley later scored on an RBI double by Mookie Betts. The double extended Betts’ hit streak to eight games. Both of Boston’s ninth-inning runs came with two outs.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Sale is putting up sensational stats in 2018.
The Red Sox travel to Philadelphia for an interleague series with the Phillies beginning Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images