PHILADELPHIA -- Representing the go-ahead run, Chris Sale was stranded on third base in the eighth inning of the Red Sox's 1-0 loss to the Phillies on Thursday night. In the bottom of the frame, the game's only run crossed the plate after Sale made one of his only mistakes
PHILADELPHIA -- Representing the go-ahead run, Chris Sale was stranded on third base in the eighth inning of the Red Sox's 1-0 loss to the Phillies on Thursday night. In the bottom of the frame, the game's only run crossed the plate after Sale made one of his only mistakes of the night.
Sale struck out 10 and allowed only four hits in eight superb innings, but it wasn't enough for the Red Sox to complete a four-game sweep of the home-and-home series. He also smashed a ball up the middle with the bases loaded in one at-bat that resulted in a bang-bang play at first and had the Red Sox's only extra-base hit of the night in another.
"It was an outstanding performance all the way around," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Sale. "He personally did everything he could to impact this team in all facets."
On the mound, Sale added to his Major League lead in strikeouts. He hit the 10-strikeout mark for the ninth time in 14 starts this season and fanned two batters in each of the first four frames.
"Sale is a phenomenal pitcher," said Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who struck out and grounded out in two at-bats vs. Sale. "We all know what he does. He threw 87 pitches through seven. The guy's phenomenal."
The six-time All-Star also kept the Phillies off the basepaths. Sale surrendered just one walk, and the Phillies put just one runner in scoring position prior to the eighth inning.
It was a good sign for Sale, who allowed 25 hits in his past three starts (18 innings) entering Thursday's outing. The Red Sox still won all three of those outings thanks to an average of 10.3 runs per game in them. Sale was hoping to return a favor to his offense.
"They picked me up my last handful of starts," Sale said. "I really wanted to pick them up tonight. It's not a matter of if, it's when with this team. I really would've liked to get that one for them."
The only inning in which Sale allowed more than one baserunner was the eighth. Andrew Knapp hit a one-out single, which was followed by an RBI double into the left-field corner by pinch-hitter Ty Kelly. The game's only run-scoring hit came on a slider Sale left over the plate.
"I just threw the worst pitch of the game at the wrong time," Sale said.
Offensively, two of the Red Sox's best scoring chances happened because of Sale. With the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, Sale hit a sharp grounder (104.6 mph off the bat according to Statcast™) up the middle. Phillies second baseman Howie Kendrick made a diving stop and threw out Sale at first to keep the Red Sox off the board.
In the eighth, Sale led off the inning with a double over the head of left fielder Daniel Nava. Sale, who entered the game with 20 career Major League at-bats, admitted there was a little luck involved.
"I figured he was going to throw a fastball and swung at it," Sale said. "I didn't know where it went off the bat. I just started running."
Sale then ran to third base on a sacrifice fly to right field by Mookie Betts, but he would not get any further. Phillies reliever Pat Neshek fanned Dustin Pedroia and got Xander Bogaerts to pop out to end the threat.
"I don't do it very often," the career long American Leaguer said of hitting. "It was fun to mess around a little bit, but I would've liked to get the win. [I'd] trade it in."
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Red Sox on Thursday.