Their presumed ace got lit up for seven runs over three innings.
They allowed five more stolen bases, making it 10 over the first two games.
It was still far from the image many believed would have to be rolled out by these Red Sox if contending status was to be secured.
Yet, there they were. Veterans and youngsters alike, having just excited the new Fenway Park festival of lights, milling about in their clubhouse unable to wipe the smiles off their faces.
"That was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of," said reliever Chris Martin.
A few lockers over, his veteran bullpen-mate Kenley Jansen shared a similar sentiment. "I remember in my major league debut I felt like that. It’s amped up. It’s excited. It was right when I got out there, that level of energy I had, it has been a while. Credit our offense to keep us in the game, and credit to the bullpen. And you could feel it from the fans as the game got closer. It was exciting."
He added, "You hear about all these good things about it, how intense they are. And you could feel it today. When you’re on the road you don’t feel it until you wear this uniform. I’m telling you, it’s electric."
What they had experienced was a less-than-sold out crowd of 29,062 offering all it could muster - weathering an early 7-1 deficit - before Adam Duvall's two-out, ninth-inning walk-off just over the Green Monster's red line punctuated the entire package.
The malaise that had festered among Boston baseball fans from the first pitch of the season though Sale's exit from his first seven-run outing since Aug. 3, 2019, had been wiped away with Duvall's 106.7 mph line-drive off Baltimore closer Felix Bautista.
This was the payoff. Great crowd. Great comeback. Hope on the horizon. And making the package even prettier was knowing that it was one dropped fly ball away from falling into the close-but-no-cigar category for a second straight game.
For many - both in the stands and in the dugout - heads had already been sunk as Masa Yoshida's fly ball to left field seemingly headed into the glove of left fielder Ryan McKenna for the game-ender. But the ball was dropped, and that's when the Red Sox walked through the door to their first win of the season.
"Like I've been saying offensively, we do believe this is gonna happen," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whose team became the first group of Sox to score nine or more runs in each of their first two games for the first time since 1995.
"We're gonna move the line we're gonna keep grinding and we're gonna put the ball in play. Yeah, they drop a fly ball, but we put the ball in play right? So just keep putting good at-bats, using everybody. Obviously the pitching thing we have to do better. But we will. We will. I think offensively, we have a good team."
Sale was bad. And the Red Sox' run prevention as a whole has been tough to watch for the most part through these first two games.
But there was - and has been - enough to offer some raised eyebrows (in a good way) regarding this team. There were home runs by Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernandez and, of course, Duvall (who also hit two). And the group that came in behind Sale - Zack Kelly, Josh WInkowski, John Schreiber, Martin and Jansen - held Baltimore to one run over the final six innings.
ln short, those wearing red and white at Fenway Saturday had a good time. And, right now, that will suffice.
"It’s a totally different feeling. It’s exciting," said Jansen. "Credit to all those teams I played with, the Braves and the Dodgers … It’s crazy. This atmosphere is electric and I’m going to feed off it all season. That will be my fuel and my energy."