Chris Sale returned from the disabled list in style on Sunday, striking out 12 Orioles in five innings while Steve Pearce homered as the Boston Red Sox defeated Baltimore 4-1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Sale (shoulder inflammation) made his first start since July 27 and helped Boston complete a sweep of the four-game series. The left-hander did not allow a run and gave up just one hit.
He needed just 68 pitches to record the 12 strikeouts -- without a walk -- through the five innings and left with a 2-0 lead. Sale (12-4) fanned at least two each inning.
Every Oriole struck out at least once against the 6-foot-6 left-hander. Sale now has won seven consecutive decisions.
The Boston Globe reported that Sale became one of just seven pitchers in history to strike out at least 12 in five innings or less. Boston used four relief pitchers before Craig Kimbrel took care of the ninth, earning his 35th save.
Sale's performance overshadowed a good effort from Baltimore starter Alex Cobb (3-15). He gave up two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven innings.
Boston took the lead early when former Oriole Pearce hit a solo homer in the first inning. Cobb hung a breaking ball, and Pearce crushed it into the seats in left for the game's first run.
The Red Sox made it 2-0 with some help from Baltimore in the fourth inning.
Brock Holt led off with a single, and J.D. Martinez later doubled into the right-field corner. Holt had stopped at third but Adam Jones dropped the ball while trying to pick it up, and that allowed Holt come in to score.
This was Jones' first error as a right fielder, and Martinez did not get an RBI on the play.
The Orioles wasted a bases-loaded chance in the sixth and had the same opportunity in the eighth, scoring once on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly, making it 2-1.
Boston answered with two in the ninth thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr. (RBI single) and Mookie Betts (run-scoring double).
--Field Level Media