Sale, Betts power Red Sox past Blue Jays

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - SPORTS - By Ian Har­ri­son

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 twoout 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 at­bats against Marco Estrada — his first two-strike­out game since July 31 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Close en­coun­ters

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

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