Chris Sale joined an elite fraternity in the Boston Red Sox’s 9-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, but he didn’t know it at the time.
The Red Sox ace reached the 300-strikeout mark when he froze Ryan Flaherty with a nasty slider to end the eighth inning, and when he headed for the dugout he was unaware that he had become the second Red Sox pitcher to reach the mark.
“When I ran out there, and everyone — when I struck out the last guy, when they started losing it, I was like, ‘oh, well, I guess it was it,’ Sale said, per ESPN.
And when he was asked if he knew how important the strikeout of Flaherty was, Sale had a surprising answer.
“No idea,” Sale said. “I knew I was close. But I didn’t know that I needed just one more. ”
The hard-throwing left-hander joined Pedro Martinez as the only member of the Red Sox to accomplish the feat. Martinez struck out 313 batters during his dominant 1999 campaign.
Sale will have at least one more start to match or break Martinez’s mark, but he’s not focused on individual accolades.
“Like I said, I appreciate it. I don’t want to downplay it or anything, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Sale said. “We have quite a few games left, and hopefully more beyond that. Just keep your eye on the prize and look back on this when it’s all said and done.”
The lefty has had a tremendous first year in Boston, one that should culminate with him taking home the American League Cy Young Award.
Thumbnail photo via Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports Images
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