By Pat Bradley, CSN Staff
Chris Sale was treating this like a regular season game, and delivered an excellent, midseason performance.
The Boston Red Sox got a taste Tuesday of the star pitcher they acquired last offseason, when Sale dominated the New York Yankees in a 4-2 spring training road win in Tampa, Florida.
Sale, who entered the game having thrown 63 of his 68 spring pitches for strikes (92%), continued to show off his incredible command, throwing 58 of his 86 pitches for strikes (67%) in the victory.
The 27-year-old struck out five of the first six Yankees he faced, and finished with an even 10 strikeouts on the night. He’s now struck out 20 batters to just one walk this spring.
"Obviously, anybody who knows anything about sports knows about Boston and New York," Sale said, via The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Coming in here, playing against the Yankees, playing at their park in a night game, it gives it more of a regular-season feel. That's what we're here for. Anytime you can get that much closer to a regular-season game, the better off we're going to be."
His single blemish came on a 2-2 pitch to Yankees designated hitter and noted masher Matt Holliday, who sent the ball sailing to the opposite field for a two-run home run that at the time tied the score at 2.
Sale quickly regrouped, lining out Chris Carter to left field on his very next pitch to end his outing. His final line: two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts and a hit batsman in six innings on 86 pitches.
That’s quite a debut to the rivalry, and something the Red Sox are well aware could become a regular thing.
“I don't want to say tonight is the norm,” began Red Sox manager John Farrell, via The Providence Journal, “but certainly he is very capable of doing that every time he walks to the mound.”
Sale wasn’t the only one strutting his stuff on Tuesday, though. Youngsters Marco Hernandez and Sam Travis continued to hit and were pivotal parts of a Red Sox offense that pounded out 13 hits.
After Mike Miller opened the scoring with a solo homer for Boston in the third inning, Travis kept things rolling a few batters later when his base hit scored Hernandez.
Travis was back at it again in the seventh inning, when his groundout scored Heiker Meneses for what proved to be the game-winning run.
Hernandez and Travis each finished 2-for-4, with Hernandez tripling (his fifth of the spring) and scoring a run and Travis driving in two runs of his own. They raised their spring averages to .422 and .351, respectively.
Every member of the starting lineup -- which did not feature regulars Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval or Xander Bogaerts -- recorded at least one hit, save for Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts out of the cleanup spot.
Boston is back in action Thursday with a 1:05 p.m. start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.