Chris Sale continued his dominance Tuesday, striking out 11 and allowing only two runs in 7 innings against the Twins here at Target Field.
But the Red Sox lost 6-2. Boston dropped to 8-8 in games started by Sale despite the ace’s 2.74 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.
The Red Sox have averaged 4 runs per game in his starts this year and just 2.4 runs per game over the past five games.
“It’s part of it,” Sale said. “I think you can look at Jacob deGrom and feel even worse for him. It happens. This isn’t rocket science. It’s not something that there’s a formula for it. … There’s so many aspects of this game that are so uncertain on a given day. I’m not going to hang my head about it. I know these guys in here want to win. I know they’re not doing anything different on my day. Maybe I’ll bring popsicles or something to the guys.”
Both runs against Sale came in the bottom of the sixth.
Rafael Devers broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when he launched a 103 mph solo home run 418 feet to right field against Twins ace Jose Berrios.
But Sale — who lost his perfect game and no-hitter with two outs in the fifth — couldn’t record a shutdown inning. He allowed a leadoff single to No. 9 hitter Ryan LaMarre, then hit Joe Mauer with a pitch.
One out later, Eduardo Escobar delivered a two-run double to left field, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.
But home plate umpire Carlos Torres missed a strike three call in LaMarre’s at-bat.
Ahead 0-2 in the count, Sale threw an 80.2 mph slider that was in the strike zone but Torres called it a ball. (See the strike zone chart, pitch 4).
“Yeah, that was pretty clearly a strike, but at the end of the day people are going to mess up,” Sale said. “Stuff happens. Gotta fight through that. Still gotta make another pitch. Wasn’t able to do that. So obviously frustrating giving up that hit right there.”