Masataka Yoshida’s routine fly ball sailed to medium deep left field, and Baltimore's Ryan McKenna moved slowly to his right before settling under it preparing to make the grab for the final out.
Then the ball kicked off the palm of his glove and fell to the ground. The Fenway Park crowd was screaming.
Two pitches later, the Boston Red Sox were celebrating at home plate and walking off with their first win of the season, 9-8 over the Orioles on Saturday behind Adam Duvall's second two-run homer.
“When it hit, I wasn't sure if it was a homer of not,” said Duvall after the ball hit just above the Green Monster and caromed off a tabletop back onto the field. “I saw them stop going for it and I saw the lights start to flicker. I was hoping it was going to stand as a homer.”
Duvall had four hits and five RBIs.
“I turned my back and started to go the clubhouse and I hear the fans screaming,” winning pitcher Kenley Jansen (1-0) said.
Duvall lined his shot against Félix Bautista (0-1).
“Mac’s done a really great job in the outfield for us for a few years now,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, it was a just tough time. ... I feel bad for him. Nobody feels worse in there in than Mac.”
Baltimore stole five bases and became the first team to steal 10 in its first two games since at least 1901. Jorge Mateo swiped two, and Cedric Mullins, McKenna and Austin Hays one each.
Mullins hit a three-run homer, Ryan Mountcastle had a two-run shot and the Orioles tagged Chris Sale for seven runs over three innings in his first Fenway start since 2021.
“Obviously, it sucks, but you move forward,” McKenna said.
Hays went 5 for 5 with a solo shot for the Orioles, who won Thursday's opener 10-9 after taking a six-run lead.
Baltimore went ahead 7-1 on Mullins' homer before Boston rallied behind Duvall, who fell a single shy of the cycle. Rafael Devers had three hits and Alex Verdugo a two-homer homer for the Red Sox, who cut it to 8-7 in the seventh on Duvall's RBI double.
Making his first start in Fenway since a loss in Game 5 of the 2021 AL Championship Series, Sale gave up three homers. He did have six strikeouts, getting Ramón Urías three of his five times.
“I left them completely out to dry tonight,” Sale said. “About as embarrassed as I’ve even been on a baseball field. ... I was out there throwing batting practice.”
Baltimore’s Andy Rutschman went 1 for 5 with a single in his first at-bat after going 5 for 5 and reaching base six times in the opener.
With a very light rain falling and the sun peeking through the clouds, Sale took his warmups in Boston’s bullpen.
About 30 minutes later, he found himself in a 3-0 hole after giving up homers to Mountcastle - a shot into the Monster seats on a slider down the middle- and Hays’ drive to center on a 95.7 mph fastball.
Sale made just two starts last year. The left-hander broke the pinkie on his pitching hand when he hit by a line drive from the Yankees’ Aaron Hicks, and Sale's season ended when he broke his right wrist in a bike accident.
THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES
The Red Sox finally got Rutschman out when third baseman Devers made a charging barehand grab on a slow roller, with first baseman Triston Casas making a scoop on a close play with two runners on.
McKenna made a diving catch on Kiké Hernández’s liner after Mountcastle’s diving snag on a grounder of the previous batter, Reese McGuire.
Orioles: Mateo injured his right hand on a headfirst slide but stayed in the game.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (recovering from hip surgery in September) pitched four innings for Triple-A Worcester in a rehab start on Friday. Manager Alex Cora said he’ll start for Double-A Portland next in the Sea Dogs’ opener Thursday and “most likely that’ll be his last one before joining us.”
LHP Cole Irvin is set to make his Orioles debut and start Sunday afternoon’s series finale. Baltimore traded shortstop prospect Darell Hernaiz for him in January. RHP Tanner Houck is scheduled for the Red Sox. --- AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
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