Chris Sale returns and dominates the O’s for five: Fresh off the disabled list following shoulder inflammation, the Red Sox ace came back looking positively refreshed. Five innings of one-hit ball on 68 pitches, 48 of which for strikes. He struck out 12, including the side twice. In all, Sale faced one hitter over the minimum (16) and looked like he could go, at the very least, one more inning to give the bullpen that much more rest. But Alex Cora said he was on a 75-pitch limit (the NESN guys said 85-90), and 68 was plenty.
Bullpen bends: Sale gave way to Tyler Thornburg who, after recording the first two outs in the sixth, couldn’t get the third. Thornburg loaded the bases on a Joey Rickard single before issuing back-to-back free passes to Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones. Cora then summonsed Ryan Brasier, who would start out 2-0 and finally went full to Trey Mancini before fanning him on a breaking ball, leaving them loaded. Brian Johnson pitched the seventh (essentially a side session) before Matt Barnes pitched the eighth, loading the bases and yielding the Orioles’ lone run on a Mancini sac fly. With a little insurance, Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth to secure his 35th save of the season. The bullpen had six K's to give Boston 18 strikeouts of the Orioles Sunday.