TORONTO -- Chris Sale shook off an uncharacteristic start to put together another dominant performance on Friday in Toronto, but the Red Sox fell, 5-3, to the Blue Jays in the bottom of the 12th on a walk-off home run from catcher Luke Maile off Christopher Johnson.Sale struck out 15
TORONTO -- Chris Sale shook off an uncharacteristic start to put together another dominant performance on Friday in Toronto, but the Red Sox fell, 5-3, to the Blue Jays in the bottom of the 12th on a walk-off home run from catcher Luke Maile off Christopher Johnson.
Sale struck out 15 Blue Jays batters, which ties his career high and is his highest total since joining the Red Sox. He completed nine innings and allowed three runs, which included Maile's tying homer in the seventh. Sale limited Toronto to six hits and zero walks. It looked like he was done after eight and 104 pitches, but he finished the ninth with another 12 pitches and some help from his defense.
"I don't ever walk off the field looking to come out," Sale said after the loss. "I walk off the field every inning, go sit down in my seat. If [manager Alex Cora] is waiting for me, I know that's it. He was sitting down, so I kept walking."
After allowing a run in each of the first two innings, Sale truly buckled down in the fourth and fifth. He struck out the side in both frames and all six of those strikeouts ended with swinging third strikes.
There was variety to Sale's dominance in the middle innings, too. Three of those six strikeouts came on fastballs clocked by Statcast™ at 95.8 mph or harder, and the other three strikeouts -- including Josh Donaldson -- were on sliders.
"It was fastball command and pitching off of my secondary stuff," Sale said. "Those first couple of innings, I left some fastballs out and over [the plate]. Once we started to mix in a few more offspeed pitches and started locating the fastball better, that's when we started getting better results."
Sale struck out 12 in his last outing on Sunday against the Rangers, and his 27 strikeouts between the two starts are also his highest two-game total with the Red Sox. His ERA now sits at 2.17 for the season.
"His fastball was the best of the season," Cora said. "There were no stress innings."
Matt Barnes took over in the 10th inning and managed to escape after walking the first two batters he faced. Carson Smith then handled a scoreless 11th inning with one runner reaching base before Johnson allowed the walk-off shot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bogaerts' clout:Xander Bogaerts launched his fourth home run of the season to tie the game up in the fourth inning. His solo shot to straightaway center traveled 426 feet as projected by Statcast™, and left the bat with an exit velocity of 106.2 mph.
Relay catches Pillar: The Red Sox kept the game alive in the bottom of the ninth with an excellent relay throw to get Kevin Pillar trying to stretch a double into a triple for the second out. Andrew Benintendi chased down the ball in the gap and threw to Brock Holt, who relayed to Eduardo Nunez at third in time to tag Pillar inches from the bag. The Blue Jays challenged the call on the field, but it stood as called after the umpires reviewed the play.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Boston's third run of the game wasn't the prettiest play, but it counted. Sandy Leon struck out with Holt on first base for what should have been the final out of the inning, but Maile dropped the ball. His throw to first sailed high and into right field, allowing Holt to race all the way around the bases and score, while Leon made it safely to third.
• Leon reaches third base ... after striking out
Sale made his first error since 2015 in the bottom of the second inning on a chopper in front of the mound. With Teoscar Hernandez hustling down the line, Sale threw wide to the left of Mitch Moreland, which drew him off the bag.
HE SAID IT
"You've got to tip your cap to him for a hell of a night. The game-tying home run there in the seventh, then walked it off there in the 12th. When it's your night, it's your night." -- Sale, on Maile
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
J.D. Martinez came within inches of a towering home run to right field in the third inning with Hanley Ramirez on first, but it hit off the top of the wall and bounced to center fielder Pillar. He quickly fired to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who turned and relayed home just in time to get Ramirez sliding. The Red Sox challenged the play, saying that Maile covered the plate without having possession of the ball, but the review confirmed the call.
Nunez appeared to beat out a double play in the sixth inning on a bang-bang play at first base, but the Blue Jays challenged the call of safe on the field. The replay showed that the ball entered Justin Smoak's glove just before Nunez got to the bag, and the call was overturned to create a double play.
Mookie Betts was called out attempting to steal second base in the 10th inning despite getting a great jump on a strong throw from Maile. It appeared his foot might have slipped off the bag during his slide, but after the Red Sox challenged the play, it revealed that Betts did a great job of keeping his left hand and foot on the bag. The call was overturned and Betts was ruled safe, giving him his fifth steal of the season.
David Price takes the mound on Saturday afternoon at 4:07 p.m. ET. He missed his last start after he was diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. After Price opened the season with a pair of scoreless outings, he has posted an ERA of 8.11 over his last five starts. Cora said that Jackie Bradley Jr. is expected to return to the lineup for this second game of the series against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada.
Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.