BOSTON (AP) — Even playing in wild chills below freezing couldn’t slow down the red-hot Boston Red Sox.
Andrew Benintendi got three hits and the Red Sox extended the best start in their 118-year history, beating the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Sunday at frigid Fenway Park.
“I was miserable, nothing short of miserable,” Boston ace Chris Sale said. “I said it when I came out of the game: ‘This is the most miserable I’ve ever been on a baseball field, by far, not even close.'”
Mitch Moreland also had three hits for the Red Sox, who improved to a major league-best 13-2 under new manager Alex Cora.
“There was no complaining. They knew the conditions were going to be awful,” Cora said.
Boston completed an abbreviated three-game sweep and finished 8-1 on its first homestand of the season. The series was supposed to last four games, but the traditional Patriots’ Day game scheduled for Monday morning at 11:05 a.m. was postponed late Sunday afternoon due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain throughout the day.
The game will be made up May 17, which had been an off day for both teams prior to their next series at Fenway.
It’s the first time the Patriots’ Day game in Boston has been postponed since 1984.
Manny Machado had an RBI double for Baltimore, which has lost five of six.
Players on both teams wore extra layers, many with neck wraps or head shells. Fenway Park, usually packed with fans, was less than half-full in conditions that made it feel more like a New England Patriots home game in mid-December. The Red Sox posted an announcement offering free hot chocolate to fans from the middle of the fifth inning on.
Heath Hembree (2-0) worked two innings of scoreless relief. Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his fifth save.
Sale gave up one run and two hits in five innings, striking eight and walking two. Orioles starter Dylan Bundy (0-2) allowed three runs — one earned — on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts, two walks and two wild pitches.
“It was tough,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “Obviously, Chris Sale is an outstanding pitcher and we think Dylan is, too.”
Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, the Red Sox tied it on Benintendi’s RBI triple. They went ahead the next inning when J.D. Martinez scored on a wild pitch after reaching on third baseman Danny Valencia’s fielding error and advancing on Moreland’s double. Tzu-Wei Lin’s RBI double made it 3-1.
Pitching in short sleeves with a game-time temperature of 34 degrees and a wild chill in the mid-20s, the lanky Sale gave up hits to two of the first three batters in the game. Trey Mancini reached on an infield hit and scored on Machado’s double.
Considering the forecast for Monday, neither team seemed surprised this one was played.
“I thought we would play today because I knew the weather for the next couple of days doesn’t look very good,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. “I thought if there was a chance for us to play today, whether it was in the sleet and snow, I think we kind of expected to play.”
Before the game, Boston designated hitter Hanley Ramirez was asked if he could remember playing in such cold conditions.
“In the Dominican,” he joked.
Then the slugger explained he doesn’t like wearing long sleeves because they feel “tight.”
Orioles: 2B Jonathan Schoop missed his second straight game after he was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a strained right oblique.
Red Sox: Cora gave OF Mookie Betts the day off after he bruised his left foot sliding into the plate and colliding with Baltimore catcher Chance Sisco’s shin guard.
There was a moment of silence commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Two bombs went off near the finish line less than an hour after the Red Sox completed their annual Patriots’ Day game on April 15, 2013.
Cora said he never considered not pitching Sale in the rough conditions because the lefty had worked in the cold when he was with the White Sox.
“I think it’s tough to play anybody in these conditions,” Cora said. “Somebody that’s capable of doing it is him — he played in Chicago.
“I read an article — I think it was (in) 2016, Robin (Ventura) was his manager and said: ‘I know it’s miserable, but it’s a happy day when you have your ace going.'”
Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1, 2.50 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series Tuesday in Detroit.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (1-1, 2.40) pitches the opener of a nine-game road trip Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. Price left his last start Wednesday after feeling a “sensation” in his throwing hand.
Boston Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez, right, scores on a wild pitch by Baltimore Orioles’ Dylan Bundy, left, in the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)