Sox ace matches mark he already co-owned with Pedro
By Alex Espinoza
Special to MLB.com |
OAKLAND -- Chris Sale's evening started with a strikeout and ended with another addition to the MLB record book.
With a 10-strikeout performance in Friday night's 3-2 walk-off loss to the A's in 10 innings, the Red Sox's ace reached double-digit strikeouts for an eighth straight appearance, matching a Major League record he already co-owned with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. Sale also accomplished the feat pitching for the Chicago White Sox in 2015. Martinez rattled off eight straight 10-strikeout games for Boston in 1999.
As he stood at his locker in the quiet visitor's clubhouse after the loss, Sale didn't want to expand on his record-setting evening.
"I'd rather be 8-0 with no punchouts, honestly," Sale said. "Peripheral stats don't matter in this game. I know people love to crunch numbers and talk about this and that. They're flashy, they're cool, but at the end of the day, they don't matter. They really don't. Other than your win-loss record for your team, every other stat doesn't matter."
Entering Friday's game with an extra day of rest, Sale's heater came out humming. He used a 96-mph fastball to strike out A's leadoff man Rajai Davis to begin his evening, setting the tone for another dominant outing. Sale punched out four straight batters at one point, striking out the side in the bottom of the third.
Sale reached the 10-strikeout plateau by striking out Chad Pinder and Josh Phegley back to back to end his outing. He finished having allowed two runs on seven hits and no walks in seven innings. Of Sale's punchouts, five came via fastball, four on sliders and one on a changeup. The lefty leads the Majors with 95 strikeouts, 19 more than the next closest pitcher, Mets righty Jacob deGrom.
Sale exited the contest with the scored tied at 2 and settled for a no-decision. After Jackie Bradley Jr., made a sensational grab to rob the A's of a homer in the ninth and send the game to extras, Heath Hembree gave up a walk-off solo shot to Mark Canha in the 10th.
Despite completing at least seven innings for the eighth time in nine starts this year, Sale was hard on himself for not throwing a complete game to save the overworked bullpen.
"I told myself going into tonight, I wanted to finish it," Sale said. "Even before the game started, I knew the circumstances. We've been relying on our relievers quite a bit and they've been doing a hell of a job for us. I really wanted to pick them up tonight, I really did. Wasn't able to do that."
Said manager John Farrell: "That's eight in a row. It's almost commonplace. Certainly, that's a lofty comment. But he's that good of a pitcher and he's on that good of a roll."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Red Sox on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.