Boston Red Sox

After taxing his bullpen in back-to-back nights, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was honest about the fact that he needed Chris Sale to go deep in Wednesday’s series finale in Baltimore.

Sale more than delivered, too, with a six-inning outing that included nine strikeouts and just two hits in a 5-1 win for the Red Sox.

Much like last Friday’s start against the White Sox, you could tell it was going to be one of those days for Sale, too, as he was sensational from the start. He even had seven strikeouts through four of the cleanest innings he’s thrown all season.

The biggest difference for Sale this time around, though, was that the Red Sox actually provided some run support for Sale behind a third-inning solo home run from Mookie Betts and a three-run top of the fifth inning.

J.D. Martinez provided extra insurance with a solo shot of his own in the top of the seventh.

The home run was good for Betts’ 18th of the season, moving him into a three-way tie with the O’s Manny Machado and New York’s Aaron Judge for the fifth-most in the league.

Martinez, meanwhile, moved within homer of Mike Trout for the league lead by way of his 22nd of the season.

Back on the hill for the bottom of the seventh, Sale received the hook from Cora after back-to-back walks to begin the home half.┬áBut Sale’s 109-pitch outing wasn’t truly finished until home plate ump Brian Knight decided it was done with an ejection.

The ejection was just the second of Sale’s career, and first since 2015.

Sale’s victory put an end to a three-start losing streak for the Sox ace, and improved his record to 6-4 on the year. He’s now allowed just two runs and struck out 19 batters over his last 14 innings, too.

The victory also improved the Red Sox to 18-7 in their last 25 games.

The Red Sox will now move on to Seattle for the second series of this 10-game road trip. It will be a four-game set against the Mariners, and begins with what should be a great duel between Boston’s David Price and the M’s Felix Hernandez.