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Free-falling Red Sox make ump brunt of their frustration

China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-05 10:07
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) says something to home plate umpire Mike Estabrook after being taken out of the game against the New York Yankees during the fourth inning of game one of a doubleheader at Yankees Stadium, on Aug 3, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW YORK-Chris Sale threw an 0-2 fastball at the letters past New York's Gio Urshela in the fourth inning and didn't get the call.

The Red Sox starter raised both arms as if to say, "What's wrong?" and muttered at plate umpire Mike Estabrook.

From there, Sale's outing in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader spun out of control-just like Boston's season.

After the Yankees swept the Red Sox 9-2 and 6-4, Boston fell 13½games behind AL East-leading New York and 5½ games back of second-place Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox are 59-54-already with as many losses as their 2018 World Series championship squad (108-54).

"It seems like it has flip-flopped from last year, where we are right now," manager Alex Cora said.

Boston held a players-only meeting between games.

"Everybody's frustrated," reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts said. "Not every year is going to be like last year. We have to just figure out a way."

DJ LeMahieu homered twice in the day game and Gleyber Torres twice in the nightcap as New York moved a season-high 32 games over.500 at 71-39 and improved to 4-0-1 in doubleheaders this year.

Domingo Germán (14-2) won the day game and the Yankees then improved to 9-0 when using Chad Green as an opener, beating the Red Sox for the 10th time in 14 meetings.

New York slugger Edwin Encarnación broke his right wrist when hit by a pitch from Josh Smith in the eighth inning of the opener and is expected to be out up to five weeks.

Outfielder Aaron Hicks hurt his elbow on a sixth-inning throw in the second game and was scheduled for an MRI on Sunday.

In the opener, Sale and Cora were ejected by Eatabrook during a seven-run fourth after complaining about his strike zone. Sale nearly hit Urshela with his 1-2 pitch and wound up giving up hits to six of the next seven batters, including LeMahieu's second homer of the game.

"I felt like he kind of changed the landscape of the game. There's got to be something that can be done about this," Sale said of Estabrook.

"It's a little tough when at this level you give those guys in those situations extra strikes and extra outs. Yeah, I've got to do a little bit better job of locking it in and getting my job done, not worrying about what's going on back there with him."

Sale (5-11) tied his career high by allowing eight earned runs in 3.2 innings and fell to 0-4 with a 9.90 ERA against the Yankees this season. He was 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA for the Red Sox when he signed a six-year, $160 million contract in March but has a 4.68 ERA since.

New York took a 2-1 lead on four singles. Cora, not pitching coach Dana LeVangie, went to the mound with the intent of getting tossed by Estabrook.

"It was only one purpose. I wasn't talking about mechanics or anything," Cora said. "Just let me know when he's coming, and I'm going to let him know how I feel."

What did Cora say?

"You see all this traffic here? One pitch changed the whole inning," the manager recalled as the PG-rated version.

Cora pointed nearly two dozen times at various Yankees runners and the plate as he returned to the dugout.

"Umpires are human. They miss calls," Cora said. "And sometimes we bark at them and then we look at video. It's like, oh, he was right."

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