He got a standing ovation from the fans he used to pitch in front of, he faced his old team for the first time since being traded from Chicago to Boston, and then Chris Sale went out and gave up six runs on ten hits in his worst outing since joining the Boston Red Sox. Oh, he also got the win.
The Red Sox ace lasted just five innings but he got so much run support in Boston's 13-7 win over the White Sox last night that his highly unusual rough night didn't really matter. The Red Sox hit a total of six home runs off another lefty who's normally very good, Jose Quintana, two of those home runs coming from the number nine hitter in the line-up, third baseman Deven Marrero. Mookie Betts went back to back with Marrero in the third inning and Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland also joined the home run parade.
Sale looked to be cruising early, striking out four through the first two innings, but he ran into trouble with two outs in the third, giving up three runs to turn a 4-0 lead into a one-run game. But the Red Sox offense picked him up, just as he's bailed them out so many times already in the first two months of the season.
Tonight in game three of the series Drew Pomeranz will try to build on what was his best start in a Red Sox uniform, when he struck out a career high 11 against Texas last week. On the injury front there was somewhat good news when no ligament damage was discovered in Dustin Pedroia's wrist after he injured it in game one. But the Red Sox 2nd baseman has been placed on the 10-day disabled list to rest and let the swelling and inflammation of the wrist diminish. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval was reactivated to the big club and could play tonight at third, although with Marrero's five RBI game last night manager John Farrell may want to keep the rookie in the line-up.
The NY Yankees rebounded from a game one loss to the Baltimore Orioles with an 8-3 win at Camden Yards last night. As usual, the home run happy Yankees did it with the long ball, getting homers from Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday, who had two on the night, both off Chris Tillman, who hadn't given up a round tripper in any of his four starts until last night. Luis Severino got the win, improving to 4-2 on the season, allowing just one run on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out eight along the way.
In Queens, Asbrudal Cabrera owes a big thank you to his teammate Jay Bruce. Cabrera flubbed an easy infield pop up with two outs in the seventh to allow the Milwaukee Brewers to tie up a game the NY Mets were leading at the time, but the error became moot when Bruce singled in the game winning run in the bottom of the 12th for a 5-4 Mets walk-off win. The Cabrera error did extend a game that could have been over in nine innings and instead lasted nearly four and a half hours, but the guy he really should make amends to is star pitcher Tyler Pill, who would have been in line for his first major league win had the Brewers not tied the game up late. Pill spent seven seasons in the minor leagues before finally getting the call up to the bigs and held Milwaukee to just one run and six hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Don't look now but the Toronto Blue Jays, who got off to such a horrific start this season, are starting to get healthy and winning ball games. The Jays welcomed pitcher J.A. Happ back to the hill and he went four mostly effective innings. Kendrys Morales hit one of four home runs on the night, his shot breaking a tie in the 8th, and the Blue Jays beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4. Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, and Josh Donaldson also went yard. Toronto is still in last place in the A.L. east but they're only six and a half games out of first after starting the season 2-10 and have now won 7 of their last 8. They're also set to get starter Francisco Liriano back from the DL.
And after the that brawl started when San Francisco's Hunter Strickland drilled Washington's Bryce Harper in the leg with a fastball, Major League Baseball has handed down suspensions. Six games for Strickland and four for Harper, which is much worse for the Nationals than for the Giants. Strickland is a reliever and they can sometimes go multiple games without being called to pitch even when they're available. Harper is an every day player, and way more valuable to his team than Strickland is to the Giants. Strickland targeted Harper three years after Harper hit two home runs off him in the playoffs, and it's notable that San Francisco catcher Buster Posey did nothing to stop Harper when he took after Strickland, essentially telling his pitcher "If you can't let it go that he hit two homers off you three years ago, don't expect me to stop him from taking a swing at you when you hit him with a 98-mile per hour fastball."
At the French Open, where things are more genteel, Montreal native Eugenie Bouchard won her first round match against Japan's Risa Ozaki in straight sets yesterday. No major upsets yet in the men's or women's early round matches.