Chris Sale is still Chris Sale.
For the first time in 732 days, the Boston Red Sox pitcher got to take the mound and face Major League hitters in a real game, making his season debut against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
After one inning it was clear: everyone he faced was going to approach the at-bat as if he were in midseason form. Sale went a full five innings, recording eight strikeouts and no walks.
He scattered six hits and gave up back-to-back home runs for only the second time in his career, but those were the only runs he allowed in a game with plenty of insurance from the offense. He threw 60 of his 89 pitches for strikes, topping out at 96 mph.
Here are highlights from his return. Let’s start with all those Ks.
Not bad for his first time pitching in two years.