Chris Sale has struggled as of late as the Boston Red Sox ace, although, the strikeout numbers have stuck around, and he figured everything else out on Wednesday. Sale struck out 13 over eight innings, reaching the 300-strikeout mark in the 9-0 shutout of the Baltimore Orioles. The win gives the AL East leaders a sweep of the Orioles, as they also clinched a playoff berth on the night. Sale did not walk a batter in his 17th win of the year, as he became the first AL pitcher with 300 strikeouts in a season since Pedro Martinez did it in 1999. That year, Martinez set the Red Sox record with 313 punch-outs. Sale is the first left-hander to reach the milestone since Randy Johnson in 1993, as he did it on his 111th pitch of the night by striking out Ryan Flaherty. Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero both went deep, as Boston kept pace with the New York Yankees, who blew past the Minnesota Twins Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox still hold a three-game lead on their historic rivals. Boston got off to a 6-0 lead against Wade Miley, who suffered his 14th loss for Baltimore. The run support helped Sale tie a career-high for wins, as he reached double figures in strikeouts for the 18th time this season. The Red Sox will start an interleague series in Cincinnati against the Reds tomorrow night.
Indians Win Fourth Straight, Dodgers Drop Fourth Straight
The Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers have gone on complete opposite paths as of late, and both of those runs stayed true to form on Wednesday night. The Tribe snapped a tie in the seventh inning on a two-run home run from Francisco Lindor for a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels. The win was their fourth in a row, and 26th in the past 27 games, as they look well on their way to being the top seed in the American League. Edwin Encarnacion added to the lead in the seventh with an RBI single, as the Indians held off an attempted Angels' rally. Mike Trout doubled home a run, while Albert Pujols went deep to pull the AL Wild Card hopefuls within one run. Bryan Shaw shut things down in the final two innings for his third save of the year. The Indians are now looking to take over for the best record in baseball, which would give them home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason. Their competition, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are nearly handing that mark over to them in the final month of the regular season. The Dodgers dropped their fourth in a row, 7-5, against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night. Aaron Altherr played hero once again with the go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning, as the last place team in the NL East can complete the sweep on Thursday afternoon. Altherr also tied the game with a two-run homer in the seventh, all of this just one night after hitting the go-ahead grand slam off of Clayton Kershaw. The loss for Los Angeles puts their lead at just one game over Cleveland for baseball's best record. Both the Dodgers and Indians will finish off their current series with matinee matchups on Thursday.
Cubs Fall to Rays to End Win Streak
The Chicago Cubs' win streak came to an end on Wednesday night, and it was the continuous struggles of Jon Lester that haunted them again. Lester was charged with seven earned runs in 4.1 innings in what was an 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, which snapped their seven-game winning streak. The Rays scored three runs in the second and fifth, while Steven Souza Jr. went deep to support Blake Snell in his fourth win of the year. The Rays' starter struck out five over seven shutout innings, handing the Cubs their first loss since a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers on September 8th-10th. Wilson Ramos led the offensive charge for Tampa Bay with three of their 10 hits, including a two-run single that knocked Lester out of the game. Snell allowed just two hits on the night, and improved to 4-0 in 10 starts since July 24th, and has given up no earned runs in three of his past six starts. This comes after being demoted to the minors earlier this season after an 0-4 start to the 2017 campaign. The Rays will move on to Baltimore to battle the Orioles. while the Cubs head to Milwaukee to start a crucial four-game series with the Brewers. Chicago currently leads the Brew-Crew by 3.5 games for the top spot in the NL Central.