Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Chris Sale was absolutely lights-out but didn’t come away with a win.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander was virtually unhittable Thursday afternoon at Rogers Centre, dealing eight shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. But it took the Red Sox 10 innings before finally dispatching the Blue Jays 4-1 to earn the series win.
Boston’s roller-coaster victory improved the club to 10-6 on the season and into sole possession of first place in the American League East.
Here’s how this one went down.
GAME IN A WORD
Closer Craig Kimbrel wasted a terrific outing from Sale to allow the game to go to extras, and things could have gotten ugly for the Sox if they ended up on the wrong side of this one.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Mookie Betts roped a bases-clearing, two-out double down the left field line in the top of the 10th.
Betts’ clutch base-knock broke the game open to put Boston up 4-1 and ensure the team left Toronto with its third consecutive series victory.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale was downright dazzling over eight shutout frames. The left-hander allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out a season-high 13 batters, an all-time high for a Red Sox pitcher in Toronto.
Sale pumped the zone all day, throwing an incredible 80 of his 102 pitches for strikes, including 28 of his first 31. He struck out the side in the seventh inning and set down five of the last seven batters he saw via the K, facing the minimum number of Blue Jays batters over his final four innings.
It appears a lot of bats have holes in them today … pic.twitter.com/wIPsj6nNOm
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 20, 2017
The 28-year-old’s 102 pitches were a season-low, but manager John Farrell opted to pull him enter the ninth inning in favor of his closer, Kimbrel.
— Kimbrel spoiled Sale’s gem on just one pitch, allowing a game-tying, lead-off home run to Kendrys Morales in the ninth. Yet the right-hander came back on for the 10th and struck out the side to record the win, his first of the season.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox couldn’t solve Estrada, either, mustering just three hits through the first six innings.
— Boston’s best chance against Estrada came in the sixth, but Mitch Moreland struck out with Mookie Betts on third base to end the frame.
— Xander Bogaerts finally came up clutch for the Red Sox in the ninth, slapping an opposite-field single that scored Mitch Moreland from second base.
— Moreland set up the go-ahead score by smacking his 11th double of the season, which leads the majors.
— A Sandy Leon walk, Brock Holt hit and Andrew Benintendi walk in the 10th inning set the stage for Betts, who drilled a three-RBI double to break the game open.
Betts did strike out twice, though, one day after snapping his streak of 129 plate appearances without a punch-out.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Sale’s exit after eight terrific innings left more than a few people scratching their heads.
Sale threw 102 pitches or fewer in only 9 of his 32 starts last year.
— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) April 20, 2017
The Red Sox will stay in the AL East on Friday, traveling to Baltimore for a three-game set with the Orioles at Camden Yards. Drew Pomeranz is set to take the mound for Friday’s 7:05 p.m. ET contest.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images