Thanks to some late-game heroics from Adam Duvall, the Red Sox pulled off a come-from-behind, walk-off win over the Orioles on Saturday. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 9-8 at Fenway Park to improve to 1-1 on the young season.
As was the case on Opening Day, the Red Sox did not get much out of their starter. Chris Sale, making his first home start since the 2021 ALCS, got shelled for seven earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over just three innings of work.
The Orioles got to Sale right out of the gate. After striking out Ramon Urias for the first out of the game, the left-hander gave up a one-out single to Adley Rutschman and then served up a two-run home run to Ryan Mountcastle to open the scoring. Two batters later, Austin Hays extended Baltimore’s lead to three runs with a solo shot to center field.
Sale got through a scoreless second inning despite allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base. With two outs and runners at second and third, Sale got Rutschman to hit a soft groundball to the left side of the infield. Rafael Devers charged at the ball and prevented the runner at third from crossing the plate by making a bare-handed grab and a low throw that was picked by Triston Casas at first base.
Devers’ fine defensive play kept the Orioles at three runs. Duvall then got his productive day at the plate started by lacing a leadoff triple to begin things in the latter half of the second. With Casas at the plate, Duvall scored Boston’s first run on a wild pitch from Baltimore starter Dean Kremer.
Though the deficit was reduced to two, Sale’s struggles continued into the third. The lefty retired Mountcastle for the first out and then allowed the next three batters he faced to reach on two singles and a walk. With one out and the bases full, that runner at third (Anthony Santander) scored when Jorge Mateo grounded into a force out at second base. Mateo then stole second base to put runners at second and third for Cedric Mullins, who promptly crushed a three-run shot over the center field fence.
Sale got through the rest of the third unscathed, but his outing ended there. Finishing with a final pitch count of 74 (43 strikes), the 34-year-old hurler topped out at 97.2 mph with his four-seam fastball and induced 13 swings-and-misses altogether. Six of the seven hits he gave up had exit velocities that exceeded 103 mph.
With Sale’s day done and the Orioles now leading 7-1, the Red Sox responded by putting up a four-spot of their own in the bottom of the third. After Enrique Hernandez drew a leadoff walk, Alex Verdugo drilled a 419-foot two-run home run into the right field bleachers. Justin Turner then reached via a one-out double before Duvall came through with a two-run blast of his own to make it a 7-5 contest going into the fourth.
Zack Kelly received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora in the fifth and surrendered another run on an RBI double off the bat of Santander. Josh Winckowski and John Schreiber then combined for three scoreless frames of relief before the Boston bats struck again in the seventh.
There, Hernandez led off by taking Austin Voth 393 feet deep over the Green Monster for his first home run of the season. Devers then greeted new Orioles reliever Cionel Perez with a hard-hit double before coming into score on a ground-rule double from Duvall to cut the deficit to one at 8-7.
Following two more scoreless innings from Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen, the Red Sox were down to their final three outs and up against O’s closer Felix Bautista. It appeared as though they were going to go down quietly, as Devers struck out and Turner grounded out. Masataka Yoshida then lifted a lazily-hit fly ball to Ryan McKenna to left field for what should have been the third and final out. Bautista thought as much, but McKenna could not make a clean catch as the ball deflected off the heel of his glove.
That gave the Red Sox extra life, and Duvall made the most of the additional opportunity. After taking a 100 mph fastball for ball one, Duvall tore into another 99.7 mph heater from Bautista and barely cleared the Green Monster for his fifth career walk-off hit.
Duvall finished the day going 4-for-5 with a triple, a double, and his first two home runs of the season. The 34-year-old fell a single short of the cycle while driving in five runs and scoring three times out of the five-hole.
Other worthwhile observations:
Kenley Jansen made his Red Sox debut on Saturday. The veteran closer worked his way around a single and a walk in a scoreless ninth inning. He struck out two of the five batters he faced and picked up the winning decision.
The Red Sox allowed five more stolen bases on Saturday and have now allowed 10 through two games this year. The Orioles are the first team in major-league history to open a season by swiping five bags in each of its first two games, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
According to OptaStats on Twitter, Adam Duvall is the first player in big-league history to come to the plate needing a single to complete the cycle and hit a walk-off home run instead.
Next up: Houck’s season debut
The Red Sox will go for their second straight win in the rubber match of this three-game series against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Tanner Houck will get the start for Boston while left-hander Cole Irvin will do the same for Baltimore.
Houck is coming off a miserable spring in which he posted a 9.74 ERA with 25 strikeouts to 12 walks over six starts (20 1/3 innings). Irvin, meanwhile, was acquired by the O’s in a January trade with the Athletics.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Adam Duvall: Maddlie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)