Chris Sale struck out eight and allowed two runs over five innings in his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery, and the Boston Red Sox routed the visiting Baltimore Orioles 16-2 on Saturday.
Sale (1-0) allowed six hits and walked none in his first big league start since Aug. 13, 2019, at Cleveland. The seven-time All-Star left-hander missed all of 2020 and the first half of this season while working his way back from a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs, Bobby Dalbec homered twice for three RBIs and J.D Martinez had a three-run shot for Boston. Hunter Renfroe added a solo blast and Xander Bogaerts was 3-for-3 with two RBIs in his 1,000th career start at shortstop for the Red Sox.
Boston won for the third time in four games following a win over Baltimore in the series opener Friday.
Austin Hays and Trey Mancini hit back-to-back solo homers off Sale in the third inning for Baltimore. Orioles starter Jorge Lopez (3-13) tied Chicago Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay for the most losses in the majors after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Baltimore allowed a season high in runs and has been outscored 98-32 during its 10-game losing streak.
Sale’s first start in just over two years began with a 94-mph strike to Baltimore’s Austin Hays. Hays popped out and Sale proceeded to punch out Trey Mancini for the second out. After allowing a Pedro Severino infield single, Sale clocked in at 96 mph on a sinker to strike out Anthony Santander and retire the side.
Devers’ team-leading 29th homer capped a four-run first inning for Boston. Up 7-2 through four, the Red Sox put the game out of reach with seven runs in the fifth. Boston scored in every inning but the third and seventh.
Sale’s 89th and final pitch induced an inning-ending groundout before leaving the mound to a standing ovation after the fifth.
–Field Level Media