It’s no secret that Chris Sale is a dominant pitcher.
And he continued to showcase that dominance with a nine-inning, 15-strikeout performance in the Boston Red Sox’s 5-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Despite a high pitch count heading into the ninth, Sale said there was never any doubt that he would go back out there to pitch another inning.
“I don?t ever come off the field looking to come out. I walk off the field every inning going to sit down in my seat,” Sale said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “If (manager Alex Cora’s) at the top step waiting for me I know that?s about it. He was sitting down, so I kept walking.”
The lefty’s first two innings were rough, but he quickly shook off any rust and cruised through the remainder of the game, tallying 15 strikeouts that included 24 swings-and-misses.
The ace had four consecutive 1-2-3 innings and at one point, retiring 18 of the last 19 batters he faced.
Cora kept it simple when talking about Sale, saying he was “outstanding” and “impressive.”
On top of tying a career-high for strikeouts in a game, Sale joined some elite company as being the third Red Sox pitcher with 15 K’s while issuing zero walks.
The other two pitchers to do it? Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.
Here are some more notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— Friday was Sale’s 21st 10-plus strikeout game, with the Sox, which is a new franchise high.
— The bullpen got out of trouble several times in extra innings, but it was Brian Johnson who surrendered the walk-off shot to Luke Maile in the 12th.
“The (leadoff) walk killed him, to be honest,” Cora said. “You need to attack (Curtis) Granderson, he didn’t and we paid the price.”
— Cora elected to go with Johnson in the 12th over closer Craig Kimbrel. After the game, the skipper was asked why he made that decision:
“We?re not going to go to Craig after back-to-back (outings) in New York unless it?s a save situation,” Cora said. “If we use him in a tie game and they don?t score, we?ve got to take him out and we lose him the next few days.”
— J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to 12 games Friday night by going 1-for-5 with an RBI.