The Red Sox asked Chris Sale if he would prefer to return to Boston between his rehabilitation starts Tuesday and Sunday in Portland.

The response from Sale, not known for dawdling when he’s on the pitching mound, was immediate.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I want to stay here.”

Sale’s not lying. For lovers of baseball, Hadlock Field this week might have been a better locale than any mystical cornfield in Iowa.

On Sunday, Sale drew another sellout crowd and the Sea Dogs provided their third straight walk-off celebration. After Tanner Nishioka on Friday night and Tyreque Reed on Saturday night, it was Devlin Granberg’s turn to be mobbed, de-jerseyed and doused with water by jubilant teammates after ending the game with a hit.

Granberg’s 10th-inning single scored Pedro Castellanos from second base to give the Sea Dogs a 6-5 victory over the Harrisburg Senators before a crowd of 7,368. The Sea Dogs have won 18 of 19 and remain in first place in the Double-A Northeast League.

“I appreciate these guys letting me be a part of this team,” said Sale, who has treated the Sea Dogs to sushi, lobster and other fine post-game fare since his Tuesday start. “They’ve had something going for a few months now so for me to just kind of pop in and all of a sudden be a part of it, they made me feel welcome. And I appreciated that. This is a gritty team. They’re very talented.”

Sale wasn’t quite as dominant as his previous outing – he gave up six hits to go along with nine strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings – but he pitched his way out of a jam and came out of it feeling positive.

“I don’t think I was quite as consistent with my pitches,” he said. “All of my misfires or mistakes just caught the zone too much.”

Reed, Castellanos and Ryan Fitzgerald all homered and Jeisson Rosario had three hits as the Sea Dogs took a 5-3 lead into the ninth before Rhett Wiseman’s two-run double forced an extra inning.

As for Sale, he tossed 64 pitches and never reached a three-ball count to any of the 18 batters he faced. His fastball topped out at 96 miles per hour and his slider was responsible for seven of those nine strikeouts.

“That’s something I really want to sharpen a lot,” he said of his signature breaking pitch. “Because I know that’s going to be a big tool for me when I get back to Boston.”

The timetable for Sale’s return to the Red Sox remains uncertain. His next rehab start is likely to be in Triple-A Worcester.

The only Senator with two hits against Sale was No. 9 batter Osvaldo Duarte, who entered the game with a .175 average and no home runs this season. Duarte sent Sale’s 86 mph change-up over the scoreboard in left-center, traveling an estimated 442 feet. An inning later, he lined a Sale 91 mph fastball to right for a double.

“That’s my best feeling in baseball,” said Duarte, who added a double in the ninth and saw his average climb to .191. “I’m in a dream right now with my eyes open.”

After Sale held Harrisburg hitless on Tuesday, the Senators broke through Sunday with at least one hit in each of the four innings he pitched. Jake Alu hit a two-out double and Gilbert Lara a two-out single. Duarte opened the third with his home run and Cole Freeman and Wiseman followed with a wall double and bunt single.

Two strikeouts and a hit batsman loaded the bases and prompted a mound visit from pitching coach Lance Carter before Sale used his slider for another strikeout.

“Obviously no pitcher wants to go out there and give up home runs and hits and stuff like that,” Sale said. “But it’s good to have that before I get back to the big leagues, having to pitch out of some stuff.”

Count Sea Dogs Manager Corey Wimberly among the impressed with Sale’s extrication efforts.

“That inning could have gotten out of hand easily,” Wimberly said. “But you saw the competitiveness of him really kick in. You saw his stuff tick up right away. He started locking in and making some pitches. That’s a great sign for us.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.