Chris Sale walked off the mound with two outs in the fourth, pulled after being battered by the Yankees. As he headed toward the dugout, he spilled out his anger, yelling and gesturing at plate umpire Mike Estabrook.
The Red Sox lefthander put a lot of blame for a game gone horribly wrong on Estabrook, who put an exclamation point on Sale’s departure by ejecting him.
It was another frustrating day for Sale against the Yankees in a frustrating season for him and the Sox.
The Yankees hung seven runs on Sale in the fourth and got to him for eight runs and nine hits overall in their 9-2 win during the day shift of a day-night doubleheader Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
The defending champions dropped 12 1/2 games behind the Yankees after their sixth straight loss, leading to a players-only meeting. When the clubhouse door opened, Sale calmly let Estabrook have it again via the media, mentioning several questionable ball-strike calls that went against Boston and seeking accountability in particular for an 0-and-2 fastball that could have meant a no-run fourth — a ball call in favor of Gio Urshela, who went on to get a one-out hit. (Sale and manager Alex Cora thought the pitch to Ursula caught the top of the zone.) Cameron Maybin then popped up for what could have been the third out. Instead, the Yankees produced four singles, a double and a home run later in the inning.
“It’s hard to play this game as it is,” Sale said. “Give these guys extra outs and it’s going to hurt. I felt like [Estabrook] kind of changed the landscape of the game. There’s got to be something that can be done about this.
“We’re held accountable as players, as coaches. I take pride in holding myself accountable. I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t think I threw the ball terrible, but I definitely didn’t throw the ball great today.”
With the Yankees leading 2-1 in the fourth and the bases loaded, Cora visited the mound. “I wasn’t talking about mechanics or anything like that,” Cora said. “It was, ‘Just let me know when [Estabrook is] coming and I’ll let him know how I feel.’ ”
Estabrook ejected Cora, and the ensuing avalanche rolled over Sale. DJ LeMahieu’s second homer of the game, a three-run drive, made it 7-1. Then Aaron Judge doubled. Sale left and Judge soon scored.
So Sale fell to 5-11 with a 4.68 ERA — after receiving a five-year, $145 million extension in March.
“It’s tough for everybody because every five days we count on him,” Cora said.
Sale sees it two ways, saying, “I obviously haven’t been good, but I haven’t been lucky at all, either.”
He dropped to 0-4 with a 9.90 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season. “Just too many balls out over the plate, I think,” Sale said.
And what about Estabrook’s ball-strike calls? Sale said MLB won't do anything.
“Nothing’s going to happen to him, I’m sure,” Sale said. “ . . . I’m sure I’ll get fined; I’m sure [Cora] will get fined — all for things that I think we’re justified about.”