TORONTO — Roughed up in Cleveland his last time out, Boston’s Chris Sale couldn’t wait to get back on the mound.
The down time between starts sure seemed to drag, however.
“It seemed like a month,” Sale joked.
Maybe so, but it was definitely worth waiting for.
Sale and two relievers combined on a four-hitter, Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Sale (15-6) fanned 11 in his ML-best 17th double-digit strikeout game, raising his league-leading total to 264. His 15 wins lead the AL.
The left-hander, who matched a season-worst by allowing seven runs in his previous outing, gave up just three hits in seven innings.
“Anytime you go out there and have a bad one, you want to get right back out there,” Sale said. “As a competitor, that’s what you want to do, you want to get back out there and right the ship.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell credited his ace for “an outstanding effort.”
“That was a vintage Chris Sale outing,” Farrell said. “He was powerful, he threw a lot of strikes.”
Sale has not allowed a run in 22 innings against the Blue Jays this season.
“He’s got that reputation, he’s got the results,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
After Toronto DH Kendrys Morales hit a one-out double in the second inning, Sale retired 17 consecutive batters before Morales singled to begin the eighth.
Kevin Pillar chased Sale with a single, and Addison Reed came on to strike out pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera and Miguel Montero. Ryan Goins singled to load the bases for Steve Pearce, but he grounded into a fielder’s choice.
“Reeder was huge there in that eighth inning,” Sale said. “I left him in a dumpster fire right there.”
Craig Kimbrel finished for his 31st save in 35 chances.
Toronto has lost nine of 11.
Sale caught Pillar looking at strike three in the second for the 1,500th strikeout of his career. Sale reached the milestone in 1,290 innings, quicker than any other pitcher. Kerry Wood did it in 1,303 innings.
“It’s hard for me to fathom that a guy can record that many strikeouts in less than 1,300 innings,” Farrell said. “Really remarkable.”
Even Sale considered his achievement “pretty crazy.”
“This game has been around a long time,” he said. “To do that, it’s cool. I appreciate it. I try not to get too caught up in it but I definitely take a step back and look at that and appreciate it.”
Promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to make his first start for the Blue Jays, left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3) allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings
“I thought he was tremendous,” Gibbons said. “It was a great night for him. Opened a lot of eyes.”
Boston’s Eduardo Nunez doubled in the first and tried to score on a two-out single by Mookie Betts, but was thrown out at home plate by right fielder Jose Bautista.
After Morales doubled in the second, Sale and Anderson combined to retire 22 consecutive batters before Boston’s Rajai Davis hit a two-out single in the sixth. Davis stole second and scored the game’s first run when Nunez blooped an RBI double past a sliding Bautista, who failed to make a backhanded catch.
Anderson left after Andrew Benintendi followed with an infield single. Dominic Leone came on and retired Betts to end the inning.
“As far as my first start with a new team, I couldn’t really ask for much more,” Anderson said.
Ramirez hit a two-out drive off Leone in the sixth, his 20th.
In three starts against Toronto this season, Sale has struck out 35 while walking two.
Anderson is the 14th pitcher to start for the Blue Jays this season, the most in team history. Toronto used 13 starting pitchers in 1979, 2002, and 2013.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow) is expected to throw off the mound Wednesday. Price last threw from the mound July 22, allowing six runs in five innings in a start against the Los Angeles Angels. … 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee) ran the bases and will do so again Wednesday. If all goes well, Pedroia hopes to return during Boston’s upcoming series with the New York Yankees.
Toronto optioned RHP Leonel Campos to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Anderson and granted OF Nori Aoki his unconditional release. RHP T.J. House cleared waivers and was assigned to Buffalo.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (8-15, 4.75) won his first four starts in August before allowing a career worst 11 runs against Baltimore on Aug. 25.
Blue Jays: After going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his first three August starts, LHP J.A. Happ (6-10, 4.10) is 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA in his past two outings.