BOSTON (CBS) — Red Sox ace Chris Sale has been stellar for most of the 2017 season, but his dominance has rarely come with any kind of run support from the offense. That changed in a major way on Wednesday night against the Rangers.
Sale battled his way through 7.1 innings of three-run ball, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and throwing just 97 pitches. He failed to record 10 or more strikeouts for the first time since his first start of the season on April 5, but did punch out six while walking only one.
On a night where Sale was solid but not necessarily at his best, run support became that much more important for the Red Sox offense. Aside from a 17-6 win in Minnesota on May 7, in which 10 of the Red Sox’ runs came in the ninth inning after Sale departed from the game, the team had averaged 2.9 runs in eight of the previous nine games that Sale had started.
It looked as if the trend would continue on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Then the Red Sox exploded for a seven-run barrage in the bottom of the seventh inning. For a team starving to support their ace, it felt like the floodgates had finally opened.
Sale himself, of course, appreciated the support.
“It’s huge. Seven runs right there, that’s big,” said Sale after the game. “The guys pulled through for me tonight. In a game where I was probably pretty mediocre, the guys picked me up. It seemed like we would score a run and I would give it right back … they never gave up on me.
“That’s big. That’s big for me, that’s big for the team, and it’s nice to see that.”
It would be even nicer if Sale’s run support could continue for the rest of the season.