He fell four strikeouts short of the history books, but Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sales was all smiles after his team picked him up with a 7-run 7th inning in a 9-4 win over the Texas Rangers last night at Fenway Park.
Sale had a chance to become the first pitcher to record at least ten strikeouts in nine consecutive starts, but struck out six, and so remains tied with a former Red Sox pitcher, some guy named Pedro Martinez, for the record of double digit K's in straight games, the record holding at eight.
But Sale did get the win and is now 5-2 on the season, and if not for that explosive seventh inning he may have suffered a loss. The Red Sox trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the frame but chipped away with singles by Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis, who recorded his first two major league hit, both singles, in his first big league start. Those two hits chased starter Martin Perez. Reliever Sam Dyson then provided anything but relief, giving up four hits, three walks, and a wild pitch that broke a 3-3 tie. Dustin Pedroia drove in two more and the rout was on.
The Sox have now won three in a row and are slowly gaining ground in the standings, now just a game behind second place Baltimore, as the Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins yesterday. The news for Red Sox fans was not quite as good out of Pawtucket yesterday, where David Price made his second rehab start for the triple A club in his efforts to come back from elbow soreness that put him on the DL to start the season. Price gave up 6 hits and six runs, although only three of those were earned as his defense made errors behind him. He threw 89 pitches and struck out four over 3 and two thirds and left without addressing the media. The Red Sox really need Price to return to the rotation and be a solid number two or three starter behind Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, but no word yet on when his first start for Boston will happen.
The NY Yankees still have a hold on first place after shutting out the Kansas City Royals 3-0 in the Bronx last night behind eight innings of four hit ball by Luis Severino. The game started with a remarkable catch by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who tracked a deep shot to the warning track, snagging the ball just as he crashed into the padded wall, his head and neck bearing the brunt of the collision. Ellsbury held onto the ball for the out but was bent over in pain and was removed from the game, doctors later saying he suffered a concussion that will put him on the disabled list. Didi Gregorious homered in the third inning and that was all the run support Severino would need, throwing a career high 114 pitches in picking up his third win of the year.
Two teams having difficult seasons met at Citi Field in Queens last night and both the NY Mets and San Diego Padres revealed in different ways why they're scuffling, but in the end it was the Mets leaving their fans groaning in disappointment when they failed to score in the 9th inning with no outs and the bases loaded, trailing by a run at the time. They were trailing because Hunter Renfroe of the Padres broke a 5-5 tie in the 8th with a monstrous upper deck home run to give San Diego a 6-5 lead. The Mets, though, had a golden opportunity to win or at least tie the game when they put ducks on every pond, only to leave them all stranded when lefty Brad Hand struck out Curtis Granderson and Rene Rivera with a killer slow curve that fooled both batters, and then got Juan Lagares to fly out to right to end the threat.
Speaking of tough seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays have been beset by injuries and lots of losses to begin the year, but they're showing signs of getting back to the team many thought they'd be when the season started, now winners of three in a row after an 8-4 victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee last night. Ryan Goins hit a grand slam in the 6th, and the Jays hit three more homers in the win. The Jays are also looking forward to the imminent return of short stop Troy Tulowitzki, which should provide another boost.
Tonight in Boston the Boston Celtics will try to hold off what seems like an inevitability: A third straight NBA finals featuring the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors are already waiting to see if LeBron James and the Cavs will be back to try and defend their title from last year, and if Cleveland wins tonight they'll punch that ticket. The Celtics have been fighting valiantly, the only team in the east to defeat the Cavs in these playoffs, albeit just one game. The Celtics are also trying to play underdogs without their best player Isaiah Thomas, who's out the rest of the season with a hip injury.
And if that game doesn't sound dramatic enough for you, check out the NHL eastern conference finals, which comes down to a winner take all game seven in Pittsburgh tonight as the Penguins face off against the Ottawa Senators. The Pens are trying to make it back to back appearances in the Stanley Cup finals. The Senators are hoping to become the first Canadian team to win a Cup since the Montreal Canadiens did it in 1993.