Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale notched his 300th strikeout on the season after striking out 13 Baltimore hitters as Boston shutout the Orioles 9-0 on Wednesday night and swept the three-game series.
The Red Sox offense gave Sale plenty of run support beginning in the fourth inning when right fielder Mookie Betts and third baseman Deven Marrero each hit two-run home runs to put Boston up 4-0.
Designated hitter Hanley Ramirez — who had been out of the lineup for almost a week — drove in a pair of runs with a sixth inning double for a comfortable 6-0 Boston lead.
The Sox continued to add runs to their lead in the eighth inning when second baseman Dustin Pedroia doubled to drive in two more runs with the bases loaded and extended the lead to 8-0 before Ramirez drove in his third run of the game in the ninth inning to make it 9-0/
The story of the game, however, was Sale – who not only surpassed former Sox pitcher Roger Clemens (291) for second-most strikeouts in a season, but became the second pitcher in Red Sox history to reach 300 strikeouts in a season.
The last Boston pitcher to accomplish this feat was Pedro Martinez in 1999 when he finished that season with 313 strikeouts – a record Sale could easily beat as he is scheduled for two more starts before the regular season ends.
The lefty is now 17-7 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.75. He has only walked 41 batters all season.
With the win, Boston improved to 88-64 while Baltimore fell to 73-80. Their first-place lead over the New York Yankees remains at three games after the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.
Magic number to clinch the division: 8
Magic number to clinch a playoff berth: 1 – The Red Sox will punch a ticket to the postseason if the Los Angeles Angels lose to the Cleveland Indians.
Game MVP: Chris Sale: He pitched eight innings, gave up zero runs and walks, four hits and struck out 13 batters.
Honorable mention: Hanley Ramirez: He went 3-for-5 on the night driving in three runs after he missed the last week of games.
Fun fact: Sale is the first left-handed American League pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts since Randy Johnson.