For a change, he had all three pitches working at once, something that hasn't happened often in 2019. That, unquestionably, was a big factor in Chris Sale picking up his first win at Fenway this season.
It's a lot easier facing a major league lineup -- especially one that had hung 13 runs on you in 14.1 innings in three previous starts this season -- when you have your full arsenal at your disposal and the luxury of throwing any one of those pitches for strikes.
"Obviously,'' said Sale, "this game's easier if you have more pitches than you can throw at them.''
So, yes, that helped. The slider had regained its tilt and a Sale had a better feel for his changeup, something, as he acknowledged, he really hadn't had all year. The changeup had been more for show than for any specific purpose.
But in the end, Sale is a power pitcher, and especially in 2019, fastball usage rules the day. Sale has a premium fastball, one that routinely registers in the mid-to-upper 90s, and it can overpower the best hitters in the game.