Red Sox

Final: Red Sox 4, Orioles 1 — Sale dominant, bullpen pliant, insurance clutch

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WHO: Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
WHEN: 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
STARTING PITCHING: LHP Chris Sale (11-4, 2.04 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.55)
WHAT'S UP:  The Red Sox lead the majors in wins (84), win percentage (.706), and run differential (+210). ...  At 84-35, the Red Sox would need to go 22-21 (.512) or better in their final 43 games to break the franchise’s single-season wins record of 105, which was set during Fenway Park’s inaugural season (1912). ... The Red Sox are averaging 8.3 runs
per game in August (10 G, 83 R)...They have scored 10-plus runs in four of 10 games this month. ... The Red Sox have won 16 of their last 18 games vs. BAL, including 13 of 15 this season. ... They are 12-1 in their last 13 games at Camden Yards. ... The Red Sox are 28-9 (.757) in series finales, including 20-5 (.800) on getaway days. ... In his last 6 starts, Chris Sale — who is making his first start since July 27 (shoulder) is 5-0 with a 0.23 ERA (39.0 IP, 1 R, 67 SO, 6 BB). ... Since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, that is the 2nd-lowest ERA for a Red Sox pitcher over any 6-start span in a single season, trailing only Babe Ruth’s 0.16 mark in 1916 (source: Elias). ... Sale leads MLB in SO/9.0 IP (13.21), WHIP (0.87), opponent AVG (.179), and opponent OPS (.530). ... He also leads the AL in ERA (2.04, 2nd in MLB).
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Sean Sweeney here sitting in for Mr. McAdam today. Hope that I live up to your standards.

Middle first: Cobb fans Betts with a nasty breaking ball before he induces a ground ball to third by Holt off the end of the bat. He then goes 1-2 to Pearce before leaving the pay-off a little too high, and Pearce clobbers it into the stands in left for his sixth homer as a Red Sox. Martinez then stays alive with a foul off to the right, and Cobb comes back with another breaking ball to strike JD out. Two K's for Cobb, along with two pitches that had some control issues. 1-0 Red Sox after a half inning.

End first: Heat don't lie. Sale retires the side in order, with Rickard flying out to JBJ in center before throwing some 99-mph gas on the outside corner to strike out Villar, and had Jones admiring a called third strike, again with 99 stuff, on three pitches. 1-0 Sox after one at Camden.

Middle second: Sox go 1-2-3 with a 10-pitch frame by Cobb. A 1-4-3 off the bat of Moreland before Nunez flies to center. Devers then flies to left to retire the side.

End second: That was FILTHY. Mancini goes 5-3 (it looked like Devers had trouble getting that ball out of his glove) on the first pitch, before Beckham looks at an 81-mph breaking ball for strike three. Sale then goes full to Davis (Leon holding ball three for an extra few seconds) before sending a slider past him for his 4th K of the afternoon. Six up, six down for Sale.

Middle third: Another 1-2-3, 10-pitch frame for Cobb. Leon 4-3, JBJ with a fly ball to right center (didn't look like he got all of it), and Betts with a hard grounder to third.

End third: No no-hitter today, as Sale gives up a 1-2 single to Nunez... but he strands him there as he strikes out the side the rest of the way. Made Wynns look silly on a full count, and got Mullins and Rickard to swing through the fastball. Seven K's for Sale so far on 43 pitches through three.... two three-ball counts, and he's gone to two strikes to everyone but Mancini (first-pitch contact).

Middle fourth: Holt singles to right to lead off the inning, before Pearce popped foul to Wynns near the on-deck circle. Martinez fists a bloop toward the right-field corner, and Holt halts at third but goes home as Jones bobbles it. He slides in safely. Base hit, E9f for Martinez as he goes to second. No RBI on that. Moreland chops back to Cobb for the second out. Nunez then grounds to short. One run, two hits, one error, one left. 2-0 Sox.

End fourth: Villar foul-tip into Leon's glove on a 98-mph heater for the 8th K by Sale, before Jones grounds to Holt at short. Sale then goes full to Mancini, who strikes out for K No. 9. We're through four, Sale's at 55.

Middle fifth: Devers K's to lead off the inning, his head not on the ball on strike three. Leon barely makes an effort there for a K-2u. JBJ with a single through the right side for the bottom half of the order's first hit (0-for-9 until then), before Betts ground into a 5-4 fielder's choice to erase JBJ for the third out. Cobb is through 5 at 73 pitches. Not exactly over-powering.

End fifth: Sale K's Beckham for the second time, 99 heat, 10th K. Davis, chases, 11th K. Nunez, elevated above the belt, 12th K. He's at 68 pitches after 5.

Middle sixth: With Thornburg warming, Holt flails at strike three before Pearce checks his swing on a full count for a walk. Martinez then belts a knee-high breaking ball to the left-field wall for a stand-up dub, Pearce to third. Moreland checks his swing on 1-2, but it's a K. Nunez then grounds to short, and that's what we call a squander. Sale looked like he was going to the clubhouse.

End six: Thornburg in, and he gets Wynns to ground to third for openers, before JBJ charges in on a Mullins liner to center. Thornburg goes 3-0 to Rickard before he singles to left-center, and JBJ holds him to a single thanks to that cannon on his shoulder. Thornburg then walks Villar, and Dana Lavangie comes out for a chat. A passed ball moves the runners up on the first pitch to Jones... Jones is swinging for the downs on a 2-0 pitch... and then Thornburg walks him to load the bases. Cora coming out, and that's it (thankfully) for Thornburg. Brasier in, and he throws ball one..... ball two... hey, a strike, whaddayaknow... he eventually K's Mancini with the breaking ball to leave the bases loaded, and we can all step away from the ledge.

Ending line on Sale: 68 pitches, 48 strikes in 5 IP. He fans 12, allows one hit, the O's only baserunner until that Rickard single.

Middle seventh: Devers beats out a grounder to second for the infield hit, before Leon does his job and sacs himself, 1-3, to move Devers to second. BJ warming for the Sox. JBJ meekly strikes out, before Betts gets the free pass on 3-1. Roger McDowell out to have a chat with Cobb. Holt then grounds sharply to Beckham at short, whose throw to first is a touch askew, but Davis stretches to save it and from compounding the sitch. It's stretch time in the Inner Harbor.

End seventh: Brian Johnson in for the Sox. He gets Beckham to line out to Holt, before BJ gets Davis to swing and miss at strike three while the bat goes flying, and it's the third time Davis has fanned today. BJ walks Nunez on a full count. Wynns then grounds to Holt for the 6-4FC, making Nunez redundant.

Middle eighth: 1-2-3 frame for the Balmer reliever. Moreland 0-for-4 today.

End eighth: Barnes in, and Mullins chops to Pearce, Barnes breaks for first, but Mullins has wheels and he has an infield single. Rickard flies to JBJ for the first out, before Villar singled through the right side to put two on. Barnes then uncorks a wild pitch to advance the runners 90 feet. Jones walks on four, and that brings up Mancini for the second time with the bases loaded. Mancini then hits a sac fly to center, bringing Mullins in for the first Baltimore run, and Villar moves to third. Barnes then baffles Beckham with a hearty breaking ball to end the inning, stranding a pair. 2-1 Sox through eight.

Middle ninth: Kimbrel warming up. Nunez with his first hit of the day with a solid base hit to the left of second. Devers K's. Nunez swipes second. Leon with a pop to Beckham at short, even though The Other Nunez had a chance at it (whatever happened to 'I Got It'?). JBJ then with an opposite field single to get Nunez around for a critical insurance run. And then Betts comes up with another, as his double to the wall brings JBJ all the way around from first; Jones gave up on that. Did he have the E9 from earlier in his head? That's the end of the road for Givens, and Scott is in. Holt flies to deep left. 4-1 Sox after 8 1/2.

End ninth: Welcome to the Jungle. Kimbrel is in, and that's a K for Davis, Golden Sombrero City. Nunez walks, Wynns singled, and Mullins K's. Trumbo pinch-hits for Rickard, and he chases badly on 1-1, before Kimbrel fans him with a knee-high breaking ball, and that's it here in Baltimore. 50 games over .500, the 12th series sweep of the season for Boston, and a well-deserved day off coming for the Olde Towne Team.

As Vin Scully would say, that was enjoyable (well, to a point). Thanks for reading.

LINEUPS

RED SOX (84-35)

Mookie Betts, RF
Brock Holt, SS
Steve Pearce, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Eduardo Nunez, 2B
Rafael Devers, 3B
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

ORIOLES (35-83)

Joey Rickard, RF
Jonathan Villar, 2B
Adam Jones, RF
Trey Mancini, DH
Tim Beckham, SS
Chris Davis, 1B
Renato Nunez, 3B
Austin Wynns, C
Cedric Mullins, CF

PRE-GAME NOTES

  • Xander Bogaerts has a jammed pinkie (had a tough tag on a late pickoff last night) but he's available off the bench.
  • Brian Johnson is available in the bullpen today. Rick Porcello is definitely starting on Tuesday. "We'll see what we do on Wednesday," Cora said. "If Johnson doesn't pitch (today), maybe it's him." Nathan Eovaldi is the other option.
  • Blake Swihart is playing for Lowell today. Steven Wright is throwing a bullpen in Lowell today.
  • With a big two-game series vs. the Phillies coming up Tuesday, Cora said Martinez will likely play both games while Betts will rest in one of them, likely Wednesday.