The fiery Chris Sale speech that spurred insane Red Sox rally

LOS ANGELES — So let The Post get this straight:

Chris Sale keeps on not pitching through these marathon ballgames. But … he’s the Red Sox’s ace motivational speaker?

Hey, whatever works for these guys.

The Red Sox awoke from a high-profile hangover Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, moments after Sale did some dugout screaming, and now they stand one win away from a fourth championship in 15 seasons. Their 9-6 victory over the Dodgers in World Series Game 4, all of their runs coming in the final three innings, gave them a 3-1 lead in this series. On Sunday night, they’ll try to wrap it up here with Game 2 starter and winner David Price going on short rest against Dodgers ace and Game 1 loser Clayton Kershaw.

We thought we’d be viewing a Game 1 rematch of Kershaw and Sale, only to find out after the game from Boston manager Alex Cora the left-hander — who was hospitalized with a stomach ailment during the American League Championship Series and missed most of the regular season’s final two months with a left shoulder problem — would instead be available out of the bullpen and start Game 6 Tuesday night at Fenway Park if necessary.

In other words, the Red Sox have advanced this far with minimal mound help from Sale, who has a 4.40 ERA in four appearances (three starts) totaling 14 ¹/₃ innings. Yet their most recent and perhaps biggest win came together after a Sale pep talk.

“The troops rallied behind him,” Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers said. “It’s what we needed to get the guys going, and he was the right guy for it.”

“At that moment, that was huge, because it motivated us,” Rafael Devers, who delivered the pinch-hit, game-winning single in the ninth inning, said through an interpreter. “It scared me a little bit because I had never seen him yell like that and the words that he was saying, I had never heard that come from him before. But, you know, we came out sluggish, and that moment helped us get motivated for the rest of the game.”

“Sluggish” doesn’t quite do justice to how lethargic the Red Sox looked in the contest’s early going. In the wake of Friday night’s epic, 3-2, 18-inning victory by the Dodgers, which set Fall Classic records for its length in innings and time (seven hours and 20 minutes), Boston sleepwalked through the first six innings, totaling a single and three walks against Dodgers starter Rich Hill. When the Dodgers broke through against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez in the bottom of the sixth, breaking the scoreless tie thanks to a throwing error by Bosox catcher Christian Vazquez and then powering ahead on Yasiel Puig’s three-run homer, a 2-2 Series tie appeared imminent.

Until Sale’s speech, which the FOX cameras captured. The video, in which his teammates are anything but transfixed — most of them pass by Sale as one would do a sidewalk preacher in New York City — matches the version of events proffered by a downplaying J.D. Martinez, who said this: “I don’t know. I think everyone’s been yelling. It’s one of those things. It wasn’t like that. Just firing people up, really. … You play 18 innings, it’s a grind, you come in, you’re down four. It’s one of those things where I think the bench has been doing a really good job where if you’re not playing, you’re there, you’re supporting everybody.”

“We didn’t want to see him mad anymore,” Brock Holt said of Sale. “So we decided to start swinging the bats a little bit.”

Cora, who said, “We felt that we had no energy, actually none whatsoever,” credited that to Hill’s mound craftiness. When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts lifted Hill for lefty Scott Alexander and then Ryan Madson, everything changed, and quickly: Mitch Moreland (who said he wasn’t even present for Sale’s diatribe) slammed a three-run homer in the seventh. Steve Pearce tied it with a solo homer off Dodgers Kenley Jansen in the eighth, matching what Jackie Bradley Jr. accomplished in Game 3. And the Red Sox blew it open with five runs in the ninth against three Dodgers relievers.

Toward the end of his postgame news conference, Cora dropped the bombshell about the Price-Sale switch with a vague explanation: “We feel like David is good tomorrow.”

It’s an odd turn of events, for sure, and it brings one certain question to Game 5: Are the Red Sox so talented that they can win it all while getting more from their ace’s mouth than his left arm?

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