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Chris Sale strikes out 13, gets no decision in Red Sox win over Toronto

  • 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

  • Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, right, 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'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 throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP) Fred Thornhill

  • 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. “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 and has lost 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?’” Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada said.

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, pulled a 2-0 fastball down the left-field line.

“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’ 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,” 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.

Estrada allowed three hits, all singles, in six innings.

SWING AND A MISS — Betts, who struck out Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 14, fanned in each of his first two at-bats against Marco Estrada - his first two-strikeout game since July 31 against the Los Angeles Angels.

NOT COOKING AT HOME — Toronto went 2-7 on its opening homestand, its worst start at home since 0-8 in 2004.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS — Twenty of the past 22 meetings between Boston and Toronto have been decided by three runs or fewer.

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

UP NEXT — Red Sox LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 5.23) starts the opener of the 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.