Boston’s Chris Sale and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister logged long hours in the video room after Sale was lit up twice by the Yankees recently.
With a few tweaks, the lanky left-hander was picture perfect Thursday night.
Sale righted himself and struck out 13 over eight innings of two-hit ball to lift the Red Sox over the Angels 3-0 at Fenway Park. He had allowed 14 runs over nine innings during his previous two starts, both against New York, but he bounced back with his 13th double-digit strikeout game this season.
“Just getting back to kind of what I was doing to make myself successful before all this,” said Sale (6-11). “We spent a lot of time this week looking at some things.”
Sale’s brilliance against the Angels lowered his season ERA to merely 4.41.
“This is August, so there’s a lot of question marks for the right reasons, obviously,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “At least for today, he looked great.”
A resurgence by Sale would be welcome news for a Boston club that needs to make up a sizable deficit in order to defend its World Series title.
The Red Sox had lost nine of 10 games, not including’s Wednesday’s matchup against the Royals that was suspended in the 10th inning with the score tied 4-4. Thursday’s game ran without issue and was over in a tidy 2 hours, 16 minutes.
Boston moved to 5½ games behind Tampa Bay for the American League’s second wild-card spot.
Los Angeles, which fell 10 games out in the AL wild-card race, endured its season-high seventh straight loss.
Indians 7, Twins 5: Jose Ramirez drove in three runs, Mike Clevinger kept Minnesota quiet with nine strikeouts in seven innings, and visiting Cleveland won to cut host Minnesota’s AL Central lead to one game.
Indians closer Brad Hand ended the game by retiring Eddie Rosario on a flyball with the bases loaded to earn his 29th save.
Yankees 12, Blue Jays 6: Gio Urshela hit two home runs for the second straight game as visiting New York extended its winning streak to a season-best nine games.
Urshela hit two-run homers in the first and third innings, his 15th and 16th of the season, and outfielder Mike Tauchman also had a two-run shot during New York’s six-run third.
Marlins 9, Braves 2: Brian Anderson homered twice and Elieser Hernandez pitched six shutout innings as Florida beat Atlanta in Miami for the first time in seven tries this season.
Cubs 12, Reds 5: Nicholas Castellanos hit two home runs and Ian Happ had his second consecutive four-RBI game as visiting Chicago won for the sixth time in seven games.
Cincinnati’s Aristides Aquino hit a two-run home run that was measured at 118.3 mph, tying the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez and Mets’ Pete Alonso for the hardest-hit homers this season.
Tigers 10, Royals 8: Jordy Mercer hit a two-run homer in the ninth to give host Detroit the victory.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Chris-Sale-strikes-out-13-as-Red-Sox-beat-Angels-14292188.php.