It was all Chris Sale on Tuesday as the Red Sox shut out the Blue Jays 3-0 to win the first two games of the series in Toronto. Sale has now held the Jays scoreless in 22.0 inning over three starts of 2017.
After a horrendous outing in Cleveland last time out, one that tied for the shortest start of his career (3.0 IP), Sale came back strong. Through 7.0 IP Sale allowed no runs and no walks with just three hits and 11 strikeouts. For a second straight game, the relief tandem of Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel finished out the Red Sox win.
The Sox gained a half game in the American League East standings as the Yankees and Indians were postponed for rain.
Tuesday’s game featured five stolen bases, including two apiece for Andrew Benintendi and Sox newcomer, speedy Rajai Davis. It was just the 12th time since 1980 that the Red Sox have collected five or more stolen bases in a game, the first such game since May 30, 2013. Boston is now 22-1 when stealing multiple bases in a game this season.
Historical Year For Sale
Red Sox fans are enjoying history in the making with nearly every Chris Sale game this season.
On Tuesday, Sale got one major milestone out of the way by the second inning, collecting his 1,500th career strikeout in just 1290.0 total innings. It’s the fastest any pitcher has reached that many strikeouts in major league history. The previous record holder was Kerry Wood (1,303.0 IP).
With 11 strikeouts on Tuesday, Sale now has more games with 10 or more SO this season than any other pitcher and the most since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson had 23 such games with the Diamondbacks in 2001. It’s the most such games in one season for an American League pitcher since Hall of Famer Pedro Martínez did it in 19 games for the Red Sox in 1999.
With just one game, Sale lept from No. 7 to No. 4 on the Red Sox All-Time Single-Season Strikeout List. His MLB-best 264 strikeouts in 2017 moved Sale past Smoky Joe Wood‘s 1912 record (258). Sale needs 20 strikeouts to tie Pedro at No. 3 (284 in 2000). The club’s all-time strikeout record for a single season is Martínez’ 313 in 1999.
Sale is already the club’s single season strikeout king among lefties.
Solid against the AL East this season, Sale improved now to 4-1 with a 1.44 ERA in seven starts. His 2.36 career ERA when facing his new home division is the best mark since the division formed in 1969 (minimum 300 IP).