Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale entered Sunday's game at Camden Yards with the best wins above replacement of any starting pitcher in major league baseball (3.3), but that didn't deter the Orioles in the first inning.

After a one-out double steal by right fielder Joey Rickard and third baseman Manny Machado, they opened a 3-2 lead on a two-run single by first baseman Chris Davis and a one-run double by second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

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But the production halted after the early burst.

Sale settled into form, and Boston didn't allow another run. He limited the Orioles to six hits, striking out nine and walking one in a 7-3 Red Sox win that earned them a split of the four-game series before an announced 31,819.

"[Sale] found his way and got through," manager Buck Showalter said. "You knew when they scored and got ahead he was going to go to another level."

The lineup's struggles mirrored that during Saturday's 5-2 loss, when the Red Sox's other star pitcher, David Price, blanked the Orioles in six of his seven innings. Baltimore finished with seven hits and left six on base.

The Orioles had combined for 10 runs to prevail in the series' first two games.

"Winning those first two games and trying to take a shot at those two guys," Showalter said, "it's a challenge."

In the finale, just Schoop and Machado had more than one hit, while the team stranded six runners.

Starter Chris Tillman, meanwhile, couldn't hold the early 3-2 advantage.

He allowed the tying run in the third. Then after Tillman loaded the bases in the sixth, the Red Sox scored two when catcher Francisco Pena committed an error on a throw to third with two outs.

"I've felt like I've thrown the ball well against them," Tillman said, "but they're spoiling a lot of good pitches right now."

Missed opportunity

Right fielder Mookie Betts helped the Red Sox preserve a tie at three in the fourth inning with a sliding catch to rob Orioles left fielder Trey Mancini of a single.

Second base umpire Laz Diaz initially ruled that the ball touched the grass before Betts secured it, but Red Sox manager John Farrell challenged.

The review showed that Betts made the catch, so instead of having Mancini on first with no outs when he stepped the plate as the next batter, Schoop didn't advance any runners when he doubled to right.

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Schoop reached third on a wild pitch, but he never scored as Pena and shortstop J.J. Hardy struck out to end the inning.

Benintendi's burst

The Orioles pitchers struggled to handle Andrew Benintendi as the Red Sox left fielder went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBIs and a walk. He scored three runs in his first multihomer game.

Against Tillman in the third inning, Benintendi hit his first home run to right-center, tying the score at 3.

Right-hander Mike Wright relieved Tillman in the seventh, but he didn't fare any better against the second-year major leaguer. With one out, Benintendi lined another solo shot to right to extend Boston's lead to 6-3.

Machado's rhythm

Machado boosted his batting average to .219 — it had fallen to .205 against the New York Yankees on May 31 — with two multihit outings during the series.

Sunday, he went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and a run scored.

In 16 plate appearances in the series, Machado had six hits — including two home runs and two doubles — and scored five runs.

Schoop provides something extra

After hitting two doubles Sunday, Schoop has 25 extra-base hits this season, fourth most in the major leagues among second basemen.

In 13 games against Boston this season, Schoop is hitting .356 (16-for-45) with eight RBIs.

ccaplan@baltsun.com
twitter.com/CallieCaplan

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