Chris Sale impressive in first start in two years as Red Sox wallop Orioles

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BOSTON — Bolstered by Chris Sale’s first major league appearance in just over two years, the Boston Red Sox hit five homers while pounding Baltimore 16-2 on Saturday, handing the Orioles their 10th straight loss.

The 32-year-old Sale completed his return from Tommy John surgery by pitching five innings, giving up two runs on consecutive homers by Austin Hays and Trey Mancini in the third. Relying mostly on his sharp slider, the lanky left-hander struck out eight and walked none.

Rafael Devers got Boston off to a fast start with a three-run homer in the first against Jorge López (3-13). J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer and Bobby Dalbec added a solo shot during a seven-run fifth inning — right after Sale left to a loud ovation.

Dalbec hit his second solo homer an inning later, and Hunter Renfroe connected in the eighth.

When Sale finished the fifth, he was greeted with a handshake, then a hug from manager Alex Cora.

Chris Sale
AP

The seven-time All-Star last pitched in the majors when he started on Aug. 13, 2019. He had surgery on his 31st birthday — March 30, 2020 — and missed last year’s pandemic-shortened season.

Sale’s return created an electric atmosphere on a steamy afternoon. Many of the fans were on their feet when Hays foul-tipped Sale’s 94.2 mph first pitch.

Devers finished with four RBIs. Alex Verdugo hit four singles for Boston, and Kiké Hernández scored four times.

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