BALTIMORE (AP) — After Chris Sale and Jackie Bradley Jr. got Boston to the 12th inning, Andrew Benintendi took it from there.
Benintendi delivered the tiebreaking home run, and Boston received a masterful pitching performance from Sale and a game-saving catch from Bradley in a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
With their fifth win in six games, the Red Sox reached .500 (19-19) for the first time since they were 1-1.
The game appeared to have reached its conclusion in the bottom of the 11th, when Trey Mancini hit a drive to deep center. Bradley ran back, dug his right foot into the barrier for leverage and reached far over the 7-foot wall to snag the ball.
“Just went back, tracked it, and got a good jump on it,” Bradley said. “Timed my footsteps the way I wanted to, and got up there and executed.”
The players in the Baltimore dugout went from jubilant to stunned as Bradley pulled the ball from his glove.
“Good players and great teams make great plays in big spots, and that was an ultra-exceptional play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Mancini tipped his helmet to Bradley to acknowledge the catch, which enabled Ryan Brasier (2-1) to earn the victory.
NOT TODAY. pic.twitter.com/bBLMdrAaou
— MLB (@MLB) May 9, 2019
“It really stinks to be on the losing side of it and think you hit a walk-off, but you’ve got to tip your cap to him there,” Mancini said. “That was insane.”
Not long after that, Benintendi connected off Yefry Ramirez (0-1) and Heath Hembree struck out the side in the 12th for his first save.
With Sale leading the way, the Orioles fanned 22 times — most since the team moved from St. Louis in 1954. In the seventh, Sale struck out the side on nine pitches, a feat known as an immaculate inning.
Sale struck out 14 and allowed one run, three hits and no walks over eight brilliant innings. Vying for his second straight victory after starting 0-5, the lefty was pulled with the score tied after throwing 108 pitches.
Benny says bedtime. pic.twitter.com/fK1wx7FVM7
— MLB (@MLB) May 9, 2019
“Over the last few starts, my fastball command has helped me out a lot,” Sale said. “I think that was my problem before, along with some other issues.”
Sale kept Baltimore hitless until Joey Rickard lofted a single to center with two outs in the sixth. Mancini followed with an RBI double to knot the score at 1.
That ended Sale’s run of scoreless innings at 16, a streak that began on April 28 against Tampa Bay.
Long after he was done pitching, Sale had the pleasure of watching Bradley’s contribution to the victory.
“He saved the game right there,” the pitcher said. “If he doesn’t catch that, the game’s over. That’s why you love having him out there.”
Mookie Betts put the Red Sox ahead 1-0 in the third inning with his seventh home run, a drive that sailed well over the left-field wall. That was Boston’s 185th run compared to 184 allowed, marking the first time since opening day that the Red Sox had a positive run differential.
It turned out to be the only run allowed by Orioles starter Andrew Cashner, who limited the Red Sox to four hits over six innings. The right-hander is 4-0 in seven starts since opening day.
WHITE HOUSE VISIT
The Red Sox are scheduled to visit the White House on Thursday to be recognized by President Donald Trump for winning the 2018 World Series. Some members of the team will attend, and some will not — including manager Alex Cora.
“One of the beauties of living here is we’re allowed to make our choice and respect each other’s opinions,” pitcher Brandon Workman said. “Guys that aren’t going, that’s their choice, their decision. I don’t really see what that has to do with baseball. I don’t feel like that’s an issue.”
Red Sox: LHP David Price (elbow) played catch on Wednesday, two days after being placed on the 10-day injured list. Cora said it’s unlikely Price will need a rehab stint before returning.
Orioles: LHP Richard Bleier (left shoulder tendinitis) picked up the win for Single-A Frederick in a one-inning rehab stint against Potomac on Tuesday night. He will next pitch Friday night for Double-A Bowie.
Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez (3-2, 5.40 ERA) starts on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Seattle Mariners, who took two of three from Boston to open the season.
Orioles: Following a day off, Baltimore sends Dan Straily (1-2, 7.43) to the mound Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels.