The Boston Red Sox set the all-time MLB record for most strikeouts through the first nine innings of a game on Tuesday, amassing 21 punchouts against the Colorado Rockies.
Chris Sale led the way with a masterful seven-inning start. His 17 strikeouts were the most by a Red Sox starter in a single game since Pedro Martinez in 2000.
|Pedro Martinez||2000||Devil Rays||17|
After 108 pitches, Sale turned it over to the bullpen. Brandon Workman notched a pair of strikeouts in the eighth and Matt Barnes punched out another two in the ninth before the game headed into extra innings.
Following the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that he asked him - "sarcastically but probably seriously" - if he was going to let him go for 20 strikeouts, according to Chris Mason of the Eagle-Tribune.
"(Cora) has got two handshakes. You get one or the other and you know which one is the done one, " Sale said about getting the hook after 7 innings, according to Mason. "I'd love to have gone back out there, but also, like I said, I'll never question anything he does. He knows more about this game than anybody I know."
Sale, 30, became the first pitcher in MLB history to record at least 17 strikeouts in seven innings pitched or fewer. He's also the first Red Sox pitcher to toss back-to-back starts with 10-plus strikeouts and no walks since Cy Young in 1905, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The left-hander has struggled early in the 2019 season, entering Tuesday's start with a 1-5 record and 4.50 ERA. Leaving with a 3-2 advantage, Sale would have been in line for his second win of the season. But the Rockies took the lead in the eighth, preventing him from being the pitcher of record.
Boston fell two strikeouts short of the all-time record for the most in any game including extra-inning contests, punching out 24 over 11 innings. Despite the historic performance from their pitching staff, the Red Sox lost 5-4.