Jays can't solve record-setting Sale, blanked by Red Sox
Boston pitcher becomes fastest in MLB history to reach 1500 strikeouts
Brett Anderson couldn't have asked for much more out of his debut as a Blue Jay.
Except for maybe a win.
Anderson, selected from triple-A Buffalo before the game to make his first start in a Toronto uniform, went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on Tuesday in the Blue Jays' 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
The performance, which included three strikeouts, no walks and six hits, would have been worthy of a victory on most nights. But Boston starter Chris Sale was on the other side to prevent that from happening.
"It's a tough lineup and obviously going against one of the top two or three pitchers in the game, runs and hits are going to be at a premium," Anderson said. "I tried to go up there and throw up zeros and give us a chance to win. And for the most part I did that."
"It was good to get off on the right foot," he added. "Unfortunately it was a loss but all things considered, I'll take it."
Sale on fire
Sale (15-6) put on a masterful performance while reaching a MLB-record milestone, pitching seven-plus scoreless innings and allowing just three hits while striking out 11 batters.
The left-hander got Kevin Pillar swinging in the second inning to record his 1,500th career strikeout. Sale, a front-runner for this year's American League Cy Young Award, needed just 1,290 innings to reach that plateau — the quickest in MLB history.
And the accomplishments didn't stop there.
Sale struck out the side in the third inning, earning his 259th strikeout of the year and surpassing Smoky Joe Wood for fourth place on Boston's franchise list for most K's in a single season. Pedro Martinez holds the Red Sox record with 313.
35 strikeouts vs. two walks. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Yowzers?src=hash">#Yowzers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a> <a href="https://t.co/OelqJxW1fU">https://t.co/OelqJxW1fU</a>—@gregorMLB
"That's pretty crazy," Sale said of his 1,500-strikeout milestone. "This game has been around a long time. To do that, it's cool.
"I try not to get too caught up in it but I definitely take a step back and look at that and appreciate it."
Hanley Ramirez hit his team-leading 20th homer of the season for the AL East-leading Red Sox (75-57). Eduardo Nunez hit two doubles and drove in a run while Andrew Benintendi added an RBI. Former Toronto outfielder Rajai Davis stole two bases and scored twice.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 31st save.
Kendrys Morales had two of Toronto's three hits against Sale. The Blue Jays (61-71), who have won just twice in the last 11 games, fell to 3-9 against the Red Sox this season and 1-8 versus Boston at Rogers Centre.
Anderson pitched just 22 innings with the Cubs this year, racking up an 8.18 earned-run average before being released earlier this month. He signed a minor-league deal with Toronto two weeks ago.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, Gibbons was pleased with Anderson, who matched Sale through five scoreless innings and retired 12 in a row after a second-inning single from Rafael Devers.