The Associated PressBOSTON (AP) — Red Sox ace Chris Sale and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister logged long hours in the video room after Sale was lit up twice by the rival 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 Boston over the Los Angeles Angels 3-0. 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,” Sale (6-11) said. “We spent a lot of time this week looking at some things.”
Sale’s brilliance against the Angels merely lowered his season ERA to 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 contest against the Royals that was suspended in the 10th inning with the score tied at 4-4.
Thursday’s game ran without issue and was over in a tidy 2 hours 16 minutes.
Boston pulled within 5½ games of the second AL wild card with Tampa Bay and Oakland idle.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do ahead, so [we’re] looking forward to tomorrow,” said first baseman Sam Travis, who hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off starter Dillon Peters in the second inning.
Angels star Mike Trout went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts a day after his 28th birthday. Los Angeles, which fell 10 games out in the AL wild card, suffered its season-high seventh straight loss.
“This is a tough stretch for us right now,” Trout said.
Sandy Leon tacked on a solo homer in the fifth against Peters (2-1), who gave up three runs and five hits while striking out eight over six innings.
Astros to extend netting
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros will extend the protective netting at Minute Maid Park to cover more of the seating area, joining other teams that have taken safety measures after foul balls injured fans.
The team said the extended netting would be installed before the homestand starting Aug. 19.
It will run farther down the left-field and right-field lines to better protect fans from foul balls and bats that fly out of hitters’ hands.