Sale shines but Red Sox need 10 to top the Jays
Betts’ three-run double wins it
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.
Red Sox: LHP 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 today.
Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 5.23) starts the opener of the threegame series at Baltimore tonight. 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.
Cavaliers 119, Pacers 111
LeBron James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and Cleveland set an NBA postseason record by erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to beat Indiana on Thursday night and take a 3-0 lead. James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game. Kyrie Irving Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye all scored 13 points for Cleveland. The Cavaliers will try to sweep the series Sunday. The incredible rally ruined Paul George’s big night. He had 36 points, a playoff career-high 15 rebounds and nine assists. Cleveland trailed by 26 in the first half and was still down 74-49 at halftime. The largest halftime deficit overcome to win a playoff game had been 21 points by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948. James scored 13 points in the third quarter to get the Cavs within 91-84. Cleveland regained the lead twice during a 15-5 fourth-quarter run and closed it out with a 12-5 spurt. James now has 5,669 points, 29 ahead of Bryant. He also matched three other ex-Los Angeles Lakers — Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and James Worthy — for most consecutive first-round wins. This comeback began with a second straight devastating third-quarter punch from the Cavs. After Cleveland cut the deficit to 77-62 and then watched Indiana extend the margin to 20, Cleveland finished the quarter on a 17-4 spurt to make it 91-84.
Bucks 104, Raptors 77
Khris Middleton scored 20 points and Milwaukee overwhelmed cold-shooting Toronto for a win to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. Greg Monroe added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bucks, who held DeMar DeRozan without a basket and never looked back after leading by 20 points after the first quarter. Making this blowout even more impressive was that they barely needed All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He finished with 19 points and eight boards. The Raptors looked frazzled after shooting 4 of 18 in the first quarter. Kyle Lowry had 13 points. DeRozan scored eight but was 0 of 8 from the field. The Raptors and their playoff-tested backcourt looked nothing like the crew that held off the Bucks in Game 2 in Toronto. The Bucks moved the ball well Thursday, hit open shots and had a double-digit edge on points in the paint for much of the night. On the other end, the Bucks’ length bothered the Raptors. Toronto also started poorly from the 3-point line, missing its first six shots from behind the arc. With about 6 minutes left in the second quarter, the Raptors had called their fourth timeout while trailing by 31.
Late Wednesday Warriors 110, Trail Blazers 81
Stephen Curry scored 19 points on an off night, JaVale McGee sparked Golden State off the bench with 15 points, and the short-handed Warriors beat he Portland in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series without injured leading scorer Kevin Durant. McGee shined on a night none of the usual stars found their consistent shooting strokes. The backup big man made all seven of his field-goal attempts and delivered several more of his signature alley-oop dunks as Durant watched with a strained left calf he hurt in the playoff opener Sunday. Draymond Green had another fantastic all-around game, getting 12 rebounds, 10 assists, six points and three more blocked shots. Curry went 6 for 18 and also had six assists and six rebounds. Klay Thompson was 6 of 17 with 16 points and CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard were hardly were the dynamic scoring duo for Portland they’d been combining for 75 points only three days earlier.