Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TORONTO — No one has done it more quickly than Chris Sale.
When the Boston Red Sox left-hander caught the Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar looking at a third strike Tuesday night, it was strikeout No. 1,500 in his career. He accomplished that in 1,290 innings, the fewest innings required by a pitcher to reach that plateau in major league history, topping Kerry Wood (1,303 innings, according to STATS).
Sale went on to fan 11 in seven-plus scoreless innings, and Hanley Ramirez homered as the Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 3-0.
“You marvel at his pitch ability, you marvel at his overall stuff,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s blessed with such uniqueness from a delivery standpoint and physical abilities. It’s hard for to fathom that a guy can record that many strikeouts in less than 1,300 innings. Really remarkable.”
Sale said of setting the record, “That’s pretty crazy. This game has been around a long time. To do that, it’s cool. I appreciate it. I try not to get too caught up in it but I definitely take a step back and look at that and appreciate it.”
Sale held the Blue Jays to three hits and did not allow a walk as the Red Sox (75-57) won their second straight to open the three-game series.
He has not allowed a run to Toronto in 22 innings this season.
“He’s been doing that for a few years now,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s got that reputation, he’s got the results.”
Kendrys Morales had a second-inning double and an eighth-inning single for the Blue Jays (61-71) against Sale. Kevin Pillar also had an eighth-inning single against the left-hander.
Brett Anderson (2-3), who was signed by Toronto after being released by the Chicago Cubs, allowed six hits and one run over 5 2/3 innings in his Blue Jays debut. The left-hander struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“I thought he was tremendous,” Gibbons said. “He works fast, his stuff’s good. He gets a lot of ground balls. We’ve always known that. But he basically matched (Sale) until he ran out of pitches there at the end. But really it was a great night for him. Opened a lot of eyes.”
Anderson had made two starts at Triple-A Buffalo and is still building his pitch count.
“As far as my first start with a new team and back up in the big leagues for a while, you really couldn’t ask for much more,” Anderson said. “Got early contact, trying to get back to ground balls to what I’m normally accustomed to doing. I’m not going to overpower anybody for the most part, so if I can be quick and efficient and keep the defense on its toes and get some good plays behind me, that’s kind of the key to my game.”
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth, with two strikeouts, to earn his 31st save of the season.
The Red Sox had two hits in the first inning but failed to score. Eduardo Nunez doubled with one out and was thrown out at home by right fielder Jose Bautista on a two-out single by Mookie Betts.
Boston scored in the sixth. After Anderson had retired 11 batters in a row, Rajai Davis singled with two out and stole second on Anderson’s pickoff attempt. Davis scored when Nunez blooped a double to right field that bounced past Bautista.
Dominic Leone replaced Anderson after Andrew Benintendi’s infield single to first. After retiring his first three batters, Leone allowed Ramirez’s 20th homer of the season in the seventh.
Davis singled with one out in the eighth against Ryan Tepera, stole second and took third on the pitcher’s errant pickoff throw. Nunez, who had walked, advanced to second on the error. Benintendi hit an RBI single to right.
Morales and Pillar led off the bottom of the bottom of the eighth with singles. Addison Reed replaced Sale and struck out pinch hitter Ezequiel Carrera and Miguel Montero.
Ryan Goins singled to right to load the bases for Steve Pearce, whose grounder to shortstop forced Goins at second to end the inning.
“That was a vintage Chris Sale outing that we’ve seen so many times this year,” Farrell said. “He was powerful, he threw a lot of strikes. He got into a great rhythm and a great groove where, for six straight innings, he’s retiring everyone.”
In Sale’s previous start, he had allowed seven runs (six earned) in three innings in a loss to the Cleveland Indians.
“It seemed like a month,” Sale said about waiting for his next start after that loss. “Anytime you go out there and have a bad one, you want to get right back out there. As a competitor, that’s what you want to do, you want to get back out there and right the ship.”
NOTES: Toronto optioned RHP Leonel Campos to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for LHP Brett Anderson. Anderson is the club-record 14th starting pitcher used by the Blue Jays this season. They had used 13 starters in 2013, 2002 and 1979. … When Boston RHP Craig Kimbrel recorded his 30th save of the season Monday, he became the sixth pitcher with 30 or more saves in as many as seven straight seasons. … Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (8-15, 4.57 ERA) will face Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (6-10, 4.10) Wednesday in the series finale.