EditorsNote: Edit 2: Adds two grafs regarding Sale’s immaculate inning
Chris Sale shut down Kansas City’s offense, and the visiting Red Sox took advantage of a shoddy Royals defense in Boston’s 8-0 victory Wednesday night.
Rafael Devers hit a home run, scored three runs and drove in three. Brock Holt and Andrew Benintendi each had three hits.
Sale (2-7), making his 220th start, and the 300th appearance of his 10-year major league career, scattered three singles in a complete-game shutout, with 12 strikeouts and no walks. It was the seventh time in his last nine starts that Sale has struck out at least 10. It was his first complete game since a 1-0 loss (eight innings) against the Phillies at Philadelphia on June 15, 2017, and his first shutout since April 15, 2016, against the Rays at Tampa Bay while with the Chicago White Sox.
Sale also threw an immaculate inning — striking out three batters in an inning on nine total pitches — for the second time in less than a month. Sale struck out Kelvin Gutierrez and Nicky Lopez looking, and then Martin Maldonado went down swinging. Sale’s previous perfect inning came May 8 in Baltimore.
There have been 96 such innings in major league history, and Sale joined Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Max Scherzer in having turned the trick multiple times. Koufax accomplished it three times.
Jakob Junis (4-6) gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss. He struck out five and walked three. The first inning has been a problem for Junis this season. He has allowed 13 runs (12 earned) in the first inning this season. He’s allowed runs in the first inning of eight of his 13 starts.
The Red Sox took advantage of a leadoff walk to Mookie Betts in the first. Betts scored on a fielder’s choice by Devers. Following an error on first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert, the Red Sox got another run on a two-out single by Holt.
The Red Sox got four more runs in the fifth. Benintendi led off with a double and scored on Devers’ one-out double to the wall in right center. The defense then let down the Royals again. A high chopper to Junis resulted in a hit for Holt when Cuthbert failed to cover first in time. That loaded the bases with one out. Junis struck out Michael Chavis, but Jackie Bradley Jr. unloaded them with a double to the wall in left, and Junis was done for the night.
The Red Sox got two more in the seventh on Devers’ ninth home run of the season and a sacrifice fly by Sandy Leon.
—Field Level Media