August 12, 2018

G120: Red Sox 4, Orioles 1

Red Sox  - 100 100 002 - 4  9  0
Orioles  - 000 000 010 - 1  5  1
Chris Sale came off the disabled list - and gave an unprecedented pitching performance.

Since the mound was moved to its current distance from the plate 126 years ago (1893), no pitcher had ever thrown five or fewer innings and allowed one or no hits while striking out 12 or more batters. Not until Sale faced the Orioles on Sunday: 5-1-0-0-12, 68.

Only four of Sale's 68 pitches were put into play. There were two groundouts, one fly out, and a single. He struck out five Orioles on sliders and seven on fastballs (five of which were clocked at 99 mph). Sale's innings:
1st:  F8  Ks  Kc
2nd:  53  Kc  Ks
3rd:  1B  Kc  Ks  Ks
4th:  Ks  63  Ks
5th:  Ks  Ks  Ks
Sale has allowed only one run over his last 44 innings, for a 0.20 ERA. He's the first Red Sox pitcher  in history to post an ERA under 0.20 over seven consecutive starts since 1913, when ERA became an official stat. He has struck out at least 10 batters in seven of his last eight starts and eight of his last 10.

Steve Pearce got the afternoon started with a line shot down the left field line in the first inning for his 10th homer of the season. Brock Holt led off the fourth with a single and J.D. Martinez doubled to right, near the foul line. The ball died in the grass and Adam Jones could not pick it up cleanly and Holt, who planned on stopping at third, raced home on the error, sliding in headfirst ahead of the throw.

Martinez's second double of the afternoon gave Boston runners at second and third with one out in the sixth, but Mitch Moreland struck out and Eduardo Nunez grounded to shortstop.

The Red Sox tacked on two runs in the ninth. Nunez singled and stole second. With two down, Jackie Bradley singled to left, bringing Nunez home. Mookie Betts doubled to right and Bradley scored from first.

After Sale was lifted, Tyler Thornburg got the first two men in the sixth, but Joey Rickard singled. Thornburg walked both Jonathan Villar and, after a passed ball advanced the runners, Adam Jones. Ryan Brasier came in and struck out Trey Mancini in a nine-pitch confrontation (bbcsfbffs).

The shutout bid ended in the eighth with Matt Barnes on the hill. Cedric Mullins and Villar singled. A wild pitch put runners at second and third and then Jones walked. It was an extremely similar situation to what happened in the sixth inning, except there was only one out here, so Mancini's fly to center brought in a run. Barnes then struck out Tim Beckham.

Craig Kimbrel whiffed three in the ninth, but his outing was not smooth. He walked Renato Nunez and allowed a single to Austin Wynns, both with one out. He struck out pinch-hitter Mark Trumbo with his 25th pitch to end the game and complete the four-game sweep.
Chris Sale / Alex Cobb
Betts, RF
Holt, SS
Pearce, DH
Martinez, LF
Moreland, 1B
Nunez, 2B
Devers, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Notes from PeteAbe (Globe):
Bogaerts jammed his left pinky last night sliding into third. X-rays were negative. ... Benintendi had "heavy legs" after the turf in Toronto so they're giving him today off to get two in a row. ... Brian Johnson is in the bullpen today. Rick Porcello will start Tuesday in Philly. Johnson or Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday. ... JD Martinez likely to start both games in Philly. Mookie Betts will get a day so they can string two together for him.
I really wanted the Red Sox to be the team that dumps the Orioles a near-unimaginable 50 games out of first place, but a victory this afternoon will leave Baltimore only 49.5 GB the unstoppable Red Sox. #bestteaminbaseballproblems


When Chris Sale went on the DL with mild shoulder inflammation, he paused a streak of nine starts in which he had a 0.75 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. He had allowed no home runs and opposing batters had an feeble OPS of .413. ... Sale leads the AL in ERA (2.04), WHIP (0.87), Fewest H/9 ( (5.75), and Most K/9 (13.2).

Xander Bogaerts, on Mookie Betts, after Betts hit for the cycle on Thursday: "He's fucking amazing. ... He's just fucking amazing."

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