BOSTON -- Chris Sale's dominance on Tuesday night at Fenway Park allowed him to reach rare heights.Pitching the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory over the Orioles, Sale joined Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez as the only hurlers in franchise history to strike out 10 or more batters in five
BOSTON -- Chris Sale's dominance on Tuesday night at Fenway Park allowed him to reach rare heights.
Pitching the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory over the Orioles, Sale joined Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez as the only hurlers in franchise history to strike out 10 or more batters in five straight starts.
"It's special," Sale said. "I don't put a whole lot of weight in those kind of things -- numbers, stats, that kind of stuff. But when you're talking about him, that's special, and I appreciate that."
Over eight innings, Sale (2-2, 1.38 ERA) allowed three hits and two runs, walking two and striking out 11. And the man whose No. 45 is retired on the right-field facade at Fenway has become a huge fan of Boston's new ace.
For the first time in Sale's six starts with the Red Sox, he got some semblance of run support. In fact, the five runs scored for the lefty surpassed the aggregate four he received in his first five starts. Hanley Ramirez accounted for much of the damage, hitting two towering shots over everything in left.
"They showed me something tonight," said Sale. "That was fun. It was a big win for us to get off on the right foot again. We had a great series against the Cubs, stumbled a bit last night and it was nice to get back on track tonight. I'll tell you what, I love watching Hanley hit."
It was a game that several other subplots. Adam Jones, the subject of racial taunts from spectators at Fenway Park on Monday, received a warm ovation when he came to the plate in the first inning.
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Sale threw a 97.8-mph fastball behind Manny Machado in the first inning, and warnings were issued to both sides as a result of all the friction between the two teams in recent weeks.
In the seventh, Machado mauled one over the Monster for a solo shot, and took 28.68 seconds to round the bases.
"One thing that I do know about him is that he's going to protect his players. Probably not the best move," said Jones of Sale. "Good thing it didn't hit him, because that was about 97. That wouldn't have felt good. He handled it properly and he ended up going deep later and showed his way of retaliation."
The Orioles turned a triple play against the Red Sox in the bottom of the eighth, when shortstop J.J. Hardy dropped a popup on the outfield grass by Jackie Bradley Jr. Hardy quickly fired to Jonathan Schoop, and he tagged out Mitch Moreland, who stood a few steps off of second base. Schoop then forced out Dustin Pedroia, who didn't move off of first base, at second and threw to Chris Davis to record the force at first on Bradley, who peeled off the line and never touched the bag.
"Pop up. Infielder was camped [under it]," said Bradley. "Usually it's an infield fly and I guess nobody called infield fly."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mookie's 4-star snag:Mark Trumbo led off the fifth with a slicer to right that looked like trouble, but Mookie Betts stayed in pursuit and made a sweet, leaping grab with his glove fully outstretched. It was the fourth 4-star catch of the season for Betts, tying him for first in the American League. The play had a Catch Probability of 41 percent, according to Statcast™. Betts needed to cover 83 feet to make the snag, and he had an opportunity time of 4.6 seconds.
"It's just a ball hit pretty well and I've got plenty of room to run," said Betts. "Pretty much just run until I catch it. I don't have to worry about a wall or anything." More >
Hanley's second blast key: It's a good thing for Sale and the Red Sox that Ramirez didn't stop at one home run in this one. The slugger unloaded for a second solo shot to lead off the bottom of the sixth, padding Boston's lead at 3-1. The shot had an exit velocity of 112-mph and a projected distance of 442 feet. It was apparent how important that homer was when Machado unloaded for a solo homer against Sale in the seventh. Instead of tying the game, Machado's homer merely put Baltimore's deficit back to a run. The Red Sox added on with two in the bottom of the seventh. Ramirez has been on a tear, hitting four homers in the last four games.
"I've just been working to stay short and more compact with my swing," Ramirez said. More >
"Just getting fired up. Invited everybody over for a pool party. I enjoy those. Throw some ribs on the grill, maybe a steak or two. Just trying to get the boys together." -- Sale, with a cryptic answer on the raw emotion he showed when he got back to the dugout after striking out Machado to end the first
"Much appreciated. Like I said before, it was much appreciated by the Boston Red Sox and MLB getting ahead of it. Just appreciative that action was taken and not everybody feels the same way as select people. It was much appreciated. Sale, who works extremely fast, took his time and let it relish a little bit. So I appreciate the sentiments." -- Jones, on first at-bat ovation
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Martinez holds the Red Sox record for most consecutive games of 10 strikeouts or more with eight back in 1999. Sale also had a run of eight back in 2015. Sale and Martinez are the only two pitchers dating back to 1913 to achieve that feat.
Orioles: For the second time in three starts, right-hander Kevin Gausman will oppose the Red Sox. Things have been rough for the O's starter in his last three outings, going 0-2, including a loss against Boston, with an 11.57 ERA over 14 innings pitched.
Red Sox: Lefty Thomas Pomeranz, who turned in a fine performance to beat the Cubs last time out, gets the nod for the Red Sox in Wednesday night's Game 3 of this four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Pomeranz has already faced the Birds twice this season, going 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.