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Sale dominant again but Betts saves day in extra-inning Red Sox win

  • Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi celebrates in the dugout after scoring on Mookie Betts' 3-run RBI double in the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill

  • Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi, right, is congratulated by teammate Hanley Ramirez after scoring on a 3-run double by Mookie Betts in the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill

  • Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts celebrates after a 4-1 win over Toronto in 10 innings Thursday. AP

  • Boston Red Sox's Mookie Betts gets high-fives from teammates after they defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 in 10 innings of a baseball game in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill

  • Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale struck out 13 Blue Jays on Thursday. AP

  • Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista walks away from home plate after striking out against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill

  • Toronto Blue Jays' Devon Travis, front, gestures after sliding into second base safely as Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia looks on during the third inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill

  • Toronto Blue Jays' Devon Travis, bottom, slides in safe at second base as Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia fields the throw in the third inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill



Associated Press
Thursday, April 20, 2017

TORONTO – When his first pitch of the day was driven to the edge of the warning track, Chris Sale was concerned he might be in for a long afternoon. Turns out he had nothing to worry about.

Sale struck out 13 over eight shutout innings, Mookie Betts hit a three-run double in the 10th and Boston beat the struggling Toronto Blue Jays, 4-1, on Thursday.

“Powerful, a lot of strikes,” Boston Manager John Farrell said of Sale’s fourth start with his new team. “All three pitches working. He had such good swing and miss to his fastball up and away.”

At 3-12, Toronto is off to the worst start in team history, losing its first five series for the first time.

“You look at the names on the back here and it’s like ‘How is this happening?’ ” said Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, who was just as dominant as Sale through six innings. He allowed just three hits and left the game after striking out seven and walking two with 106 pitches.

Sandy Leon drew a one-out walk from Jason Grilli (0-2) in the 10th, and Brock Holt singled to stop an 0-for-12 slide. Andrew Benintendi walked with two outs, and Betts, who was 0-for-3 to that point, pulled a 2-0 fastball down the left-field line. Betts, who struck out Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 14, fanned in each of his first two at-bats against Estrada – his first two-strikeout game since July 31 against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I was just trying to put a good swing on a good pitch,” Betts said. “I did have a rough day but it can come down to one at-bat.”

Grilli, who helped Toronto reach the AL Championship Series last season, found it difficult to describe his team’s early struggles.

“Losing only makes you appreciate winning,” he said.

Mitch Moreland hit a two-out double in the ninth off Roberto Osuna and scored on Xander Bogaerts’s single, but Kendrys Morales homered against Craig Kimbrel (1-0) leading off the bottom half, the eighth time Morales has tied a game or given his team a lead with a homer from the ninth inning on.

Farrell called it a tough decision to take Sale out.

“We felt like it was time to turn to it over to a guy who was fresh and powerful,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, the second pitch goes out of the ballpark.”

Acquired from the Chicago White Sox during the offseason, Sale become the first Boston pitcher to strike out 12 or more in consecutive outings since Pedro Martinez did it in four straight starts in 2001.

“It’s impressive, man,” veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s just attacking the zone, overpowering guys with all of his pitches.

Sale allowed four hits, all singles, and walked one. Throwing 80 of 102 pitches for strikes, Sale lowered his ERA to 0.91. Yet, he is 1-1 because he has received just four runs of support over four starts.

Trainer’s room

Red Sox: LHP David Price has been dealing with soreness in his recovery from an injured left elbow, according to Farrell. Price threw on flat ground for the second straight day Thursday. He is to throw a bullpen session in Baltimore on Friday.

Blue Jays: RHP Mat Latos and RHP Casey Lawrence will be promoted to start against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday and Saturday, manager John Gibbons said. They will start in place of RHP Aaron Sanchez (blister) and LHP J.A. Happ (elbow).

Up next

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 5.23) starts the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore on Friday. He is 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA in five games against the Orioles. RHP Dylan Bundy (2-1, 1.86) starts for Baltimore.

Blue Jays: Latos was 0-0 with a 1.00 ERA in two starts at Triple-A. RHP Alex Meyer will make his season debut for the Angels.