On Tuesday, the dominance of Chris Sale at Boston’s Fenway Park took him to new heights as a strikeout artist.
Pitching his Red Sox team to a 5-2 win over American League East rivals the Baltimore Orioles, the southpaw ace for Boston tied a franchise record for 10 strikeouts or more in five consecutive starts with Pedro Martinez, who is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Sale called the stat special. He said he usually does not put too much weight into those types of stats and numbers, but when you bring Martinez into the fold that makes it special.
Over his eight innings of work, Sale gave up two runs on three hits, walked 2 and struck out 11. Sale is now 2-2 on the season with an ERA of 1.38.
Martinez, who has his No. 45 retired, has become one of Sale’s most ardent supporters.
Sale in five previous starts with Boston did not receive much run support, but on Tuesday that finally came, in fact the five runs Boston scored for the southpaw surpassed the overall aggregate of four he had received through five starts to begin the season.
Hanley Ramirez made sure Sale had runs to spare with two towering home runs that cleared everything in left landing on Yawkey Way behind the wall.
Not to be overshadowed, Boston fans gave Adam Jones, who the night before complained of racial taunts yelled at him by spectators, received a big ovation when he came to bat during the first inning.
During the first inning, one of Sale’s 98 mph fastballs was pitched behind the back of Orioles’ slugger Manny Machado. Immediate warnings by the home plate umpire were given to both dugouts due to friction between the rivals the past few weeks.
A triple play was turned in the game, which did not lack for excitement, by the Orioles in the eighth. A popup was dropped by J.J. Hardy at short, but on the outfield grass. He fired quickly to Jonathan Schoop who tagged Mitch Moreland out, who was off second.
Schoop then was able to force out Dustin Pedroia at second, as Pedroia had remained on first base and proceeded to threw to Chris Davis to force out Bradley who had never reached first base.
Boston is how in third place at 14-12 in the AL East 2 ½ games behind both Baltimore and the New York Yankees in first place at 16-9.