April showers turned into a Sale storm on Saturday afternoon.
Spoiler alert: not the good kind.
Chris Sale’s first home game since the 2021 ALCS was a mixed bag from the start.
He was a walking contradiction (sans any actual walks) in the first inning, striking out three batters interspersed with an early 3-0 lead for Baltimore Orioles on a single to Adley Rutschman and a pair of home runs. The velocity was there, but his command was all over the place.
Zack Kelly was already warming in the bullpen during the third inning, but Sale managed to get out of the frame by striking out Ramon Urías for the third time.
In three innings, he allowed seven earned runs on seven hits (three home runs), walked two, struck out six, and hit one batter. 74 of his 43 pitches were for strikes, and he got 13 swing-and-misses, but his command was erratic.
Not an ideal debut, but he’ll try again in five days.
And at the end of the night, it didn’t matter. Sale’s shaky start couldn’t keep the Red Sox down; much like the weather, which improved drastically as afternoon turned into evening, the lineup looked more and more comfortable at the plate as the game went on.
Faced with a their second 6-run deficit in as many games, Boston battled back once again. Adam Duvall, Alex Verdugo, and Kiké Hernández each collected their first home run of the season.
Trailing 8-7 with two outs in the ninth inning, Duvall delivered yet again. His second home run, a 2-run shot that landed at the very edge of the Monster, gave the Red Sox their first victory of the season.
A lineup shouldn’t be forced to overcome 6-run deficits, but it’s encouraging that these guys don’t look bowled over by them, either. Their largest comeback last season was five runs.
And if the Red Sox can hit this way in two games with early 6-run deficits, imagine what this team can be when they figure out the pitching.