Chris Sale made history again on Friday night, tying Pedro Martinez’s 1999 record and his own 2015 record for the most consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts. He whiffed 10 of 27 batters during the Red Sox’ 3-2 loss to the Athletics, marking his eighth such start in a row.
Sale kept the game scoreless through 4 1/3 innings, losing his shutout on Mark Canha’s RBI triple in the fifth. He allowed another run on a Khris Davis double in the sixth, but returned in the seventh to induce back-to-back strikeouts from Chad Pinder and Josh Phegley and polished off his outing with his ninth and tenth whiffs of the night.
The Red Sox’ southpaw will still need another 10 strikeouts to set a new all-time record, something he’ll get the opportunity to do when the Rangers come to town next week. He’s 4-2 against Texas in 11 career appearances, touting a 3.33 ERA and 60 strikeouts over 51 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.