BALTIMORE — One of the greatest seasons for a pitcher in Red Sox history saw a milestone toppled Wednesday night.
In a dominant start vs. the Orioles at Camden Yards, Chris Sale became the first American League pitcher this century to strike out 300 batters in a season. He also put himself in striking distance of the Red Sox single-season record for Ks, 313.
Sale is the 14th different pitcher since 1920 to reach the 300 mark. The only other pitcher to do so in a Red Sox uniform was Pedro Martinez, who set the club record of 313 in 1999.
Sale was at 12 strikeouts and 99 pitches through seven innings Wednesday night with the Sox ahead 6-0. The offense added two more runs in the top of the inning, prompting Sox manager John Farrell to warm up righty Austin Maddox.
But Sale nonetheless took the mound. The first two batters of the inning grounded out. On a 2-2 pitch to the left-handed hitting Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a front-door slider that caught Flaherty looking. It was his 111th pitch of the night.
Sale has two more scheduled starts, although he may only make one more.
His final appearance of the regular season projects to be Game No. 162 against the Astros. If the Sox have the American League East wrapped up, Sale could well be held out of that game.
The Sox and Astros meet for four games to end the regular season at Fenway Park, and may be first-round opponents if the Indians maintain the best record in the AL and therefore home field advantage.
The last time a pitcher in either league struck out 300 was 2015, when Clayton Kershaw did so for the Dodgers.
Sale was in line for his 17th win Wednesday, tying his career high.