Sale reaches 300-strikeout mark as Bosox clinch playoff spot

AP
Sale (17-7) reached the milestone on his last pitch, a called third strike against Ryan Flaherty to end the eighth inning.
AP
AFP

Starting pitcher Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter in the first inning of their MLB game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 20, 2017.

Chris Sale struck out 13 to become the first American League pitcher in 18 years to reach the 300 mark, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth hours after beating the Baltimore Orioles 9-0 on Wednesday night.

Boston (88-64) was assured at least a wildcard and its second consecutive trip to the postseason when the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Cleveland Indians. Of course, the Red Sox are looking for much more than that. They lead the AL East by three games over rivals New York Yankees with 10 to play as Boston pursues its third division title in five years.

Sale (17-7) reached the milestone on his last pitch, a called third strike against Ryan Flaherty to end the eighth inning. The last AL pitcher to fan 300 batters in a season was Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999, when he set a club record with 313.

Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero homered for the Red Sox.

After winning two straight 11-inning games over the skidding Orioles, Boston jumped to a 6-0 lead in the fifth and coasted to its 11th win in 14 games.

Betts and Marrero hit two-run homers in the fourth against Wade Miley (8-14), and Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the fifth.

Sale allowed four hits and walked none in matching his career high for wins.

Boston joined AL Central champion Cleveland and AL West champion Houston in the AL playoffs, which begin next month. Two spots are still up for grabs.


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