Chris Sale has been flat-out spectacular for the Boston Red Sox this season, and the left-hander added another brilliant performance to his 2017 campaign Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The left-hander dazzled against the Kansas City Royals, only allowing three runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings of work in Boston’s 8-3 win. Sale nearly notched the complete game, but a shaky ninth inning prevented him from the feat.
And Sale’s performance was matched by Boston’s bats. The Red Sox received hits from eight of their nine batters and notched 13 in all.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 40-31 and take sole possession of first place in the American League East thanks to the New York Yankees’ 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. The Royals drop to 34-36 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The Royals had been riding a hot streak, but they stood no chance against Sale. The left-hander imposed his will up and down Kansas City’s roster, sitting down batter after batter. He wasn’t able to finish off the complete game, but Sale’s performance against the Royals was one of his best this season.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox posted a four-run inning in the fourth, followed by a three-spot in the sixth frame. With the way Sale was dealing, that was more than enough run support for the left-hander.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale was tremendous against the Royals, and there weren’t too many blemishes in his performance. Kansas City jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead when Mike Moustakas took the left-hander deep in the second inning. But after that home run, the Royals’ bats were all but silent.
Sale allowed a hit in the third inning on an Alcides Escobar single, but from there, Sale was in complete control. He sat down 19 consecutive batters before the wheels fell off a tiny bit in the ninth inning.
With one out in the ninth, Sale allowed Whit Merrifield to reach via walk, and Jorge Bonifacio followed with a two-run blast. After Brandon Moss knocked a single during the next at-bat, Red Sox manager John Farrell pulled his starter.
— Fernando Abad entered in relief of Sale and recorded the final two outs.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox struck first in the third inning. After Deven Marrero sent a double the opposite way, Mookie Betts brought him home with a looping RBI single up the middle.
— Boston really got things going in the fourth, though. Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the inning with a sharp liner for a single, then hustled around the bases on a Sam Travis double off the left-field wall for the Red Sox’s second run.
After Josh Rutledge singled and advanced Travis to third, Sandy Leon brought in both runners with a double to right field, swelling Boston’s lead to 4-1. The Red Sox weren’t done in the frame, though, as a Marrero sacrifice fly plated Leon for run No. 5.
— The Sox’s bats were quiet in the fifth, but Boston recorded a three-run sixth inning.
Leon kicked things off with a single, followed by a Marrero walk. Chris Young then got in on the action with a sharp double, scoring Leon and advancing Marrero to third base. And with runners in scoring position, Xander Bogaerts delivered with a two-RBI single to boost Boston’s lead to 8-1.
TWEET OF THE DAY
This is awesome.
The Red Sox and Royals will battle in their series finale Wednesday afternoon. Drew Pomeranz is scheduled to get the ball for Boston and will be countered by Kansas City’s Ian Kennedy. First pitch from Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images