BALTIMORE -- Chris Sale labored early, then dominated the rest of the way, riding two home runs from Andrew Benintendi to a 7-3 victory over the Orioles that allowed the Red Sox to sneak out of Baltimore with the split of a four-game series after losing the first two. Boston jumped
BALTIMORE -- Chris Sale labored early, then dominated the rest of the way, riding two home runs from Andrew Benintendi to a 7-3 victory over the Orioles that allowed the Red Sox to sneak out of Baltimore with the split of a four-game series after losing the first two.
Boston jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a Jackie Bradley Jr. single in the top of the first inning, giving a little cushion for Sale before he took the mound. But the Orioles, helped by a leadoff double by Joey Rickard, RBI hits by Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop and a pair of misplays by third baseman Pablo Sandoval, worked Sale for 39 pitches to take a 3-2 lead.
Despite pushing Sale, the Orioles bats went silent for the rest of the game. Sale gave up only two hits after the first inning before exiting the game after six innings. The lefty allowed six hits and struck out nine batters.
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"That's the job of a starting pitcher, fill up as many innings as you can," said Sale. "I really had to kind of refocus after that and not let the emotions get the best of me. Not only that, we're still in it. Cashing in after the first is going to make for a long day.
"Just having the confidence in my team behind me to go out there and just kind of keep pitching, knowing that at some point in the game we're going to score again."
Benintendi tied the game at 3 in the third inning with his first home run in 80 at-bats, but both offenses were silenced until the sixth inning when Orioles catcher Francisco Pena overthrew Manny Machado at third in a pickoff attempt, allowing two runs to score.
"You figure [Sale's] going to get right and pitch," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We were fortunate, Chris [Davis] got a jam shot over there and we got deep in counts with some foul balls. ... I think [Sale] found his way and got through. You knew when they scored and got ahead he was going to go to another level.
"He was good but I thought our guys were good off him. They got a bunch of good arms. You look at all the arms they run out at you, it's a challenge."
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Just when the Orioles thought they were still in reach, Benintendi struck again, launching another home run in the seventh inning, followed by an RBI single in the ninth to cap off his three-RBI afternoon.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed three earned runs on six hits through six innings. The righty walked four batters and struck out three.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pena's costly overthrow: In the top of the sixth inning, Tillman worked himself into a bases-loaded jam. With two outs, Tillman threw a knuckle curve in the dirt that Pena was able to keep in front of him. Pena then attempted to pick the runner off third, but sent the ball into right field, allowing two runs to score and breaking the 3-3 tie. More >
Benintendi's dingers: Benintendi hit his second home run onto Eutaw Street for his first multi-homer game. On a 1-1 count, the ball left Benintendi's bat at 107.1 mph -- his second-hardest hit in the Statcast™ Era -- and traveled a projected 388 feet to deep right field.
"It's been awhile since he got the contact point out front," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's got such a beautiful swing. Chris Sale clearly did his job through his six innings, but it's also good to see Beni get off the schneid a little bit with those extra-base hits today."
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"The thing that was even bigger for me to see was Pablo's next at-bat after all that happened. He didn't hang his head. He wasn't pouting about it. He came up with a plan, ready to go, and he ripped a double in the gap. I think that speaks a lot about who he is, his character, and the kind of teammate he is. When you see something like that, it lifts you up a little bit. And I think it got our team going in the right direction." -- Sale, crediting Sandoval for shaking off his defensive woes
"Today was much better. I was glad I was able to take that step. I just wish early on I made a few better pitches, especially off-speed stuff. ... You've got to be a little better with the off-speed stuff early on." -- Tillman, on how close he is to being all the way back after being on the disabled list to start the season
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Before breaking out on Sunday, Benintendi had slashed .123/.221/.137 with no HRs and five RBIs in his previous 73 at-bats.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Orioles had runners on first and second and issued a double steal. Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon threw to third and the runner, Rickard, was called out. After a manager challenge by the Orioles, the call was overturned. The review lasted 1 minute and 44 seconds.
In the bottom of the fourth, Trey Mancini led off the inning with a line shot to right field. Mookie Betts came forward to make the catch low to the ground, but the ruling on the field was that the ball was trapped. After a manager challenge by Boston, the call was overturned. The review lasted 50 seconds.
Red Sox: The Red Sox will spend Monday's off-day in New York, and then open a three-game rivalry series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. It is just the second series between the rivals this season. Thomas Pomeranz, who is coming off two solid starts in a row, gets the start for the Red Sox. He will be opposed by right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Orioles: After a day off on Monday, the Orioles will host the Pirates in the first of two games on Tuesday at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92) will take the mound for the O's against right-hander Ivan Nova. After some early-season struggles, Gausman has a 3.00 ERA in his last three outings, including two quality starts. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.
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Mandy Bell is an associate reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.