Only four major league pitchers have done it: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and, for the second time in three seasons, Chris Sale. During Saturday’s 6-3 win against Tampa Bay, the Red Sox’ left-hander delivered 12 strikeouts to the Rays, marking his seventh consecutive outing with 10 or more strikeouts.
Sale issued two walks and three runs over seven innings, losing a couple of at-bats to home runs by Logan Morrison and Kevin Kiermaier. He struck out the side in the third and scattered the remaining nine strikeouts over the other six frames, coming just one strikeout shy of his season-high total and marking his third 12+ strikeout performance in 2017. If Sale can deliver another 10+ strikeouts in his next scheduled start, he’ll tie both Pedro Martinez’s 1999 record and his own 2015 record of eight consecutive appearances with at least 10 whiffs.
The Red Sox rallied behind Sale’s record-tying appearance, putting up six runs on Mookie Betts‘ two-run homer and RBI double and three runs from Deven Marrero and Xander Bogaerts. With the win, the Sox sit just four games back of the division lead behind the Orioles and second-place Yankees.