Sale became the first pitcher in baseball history to strike out 17 or more batters in a start lasting seven innings or fewer in the 5-4 loss Tuesday at Fenway Park in Boston. The seven-time All-Star allowed just three hits and two runs in the start. Boston's staff totaled 24 strikeouts in the extra-innings defeat.
Sale left the game at the end of the seventh inning, with the Red Sox holding a 3-2 advantage. Charlie Blackmon put the Rockies ahead 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning. Mitch Moreland tied it up for Boston with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.
Mark Reynolds won it for the Rockies with an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning.
The Red Sox earned a 3-0 lead through six innings after homers from Michael Chavis, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers, before Rockies star Nolan Arenado took Sale deep with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. Arenado's 11th home run of the season sparked the Rockies' rally.
"Baseball is very much a timing game," Sale told reporters, according to MLB.com. "Seven innings is great and 17 punch-outs is great but at the same time, I had terrible timing with giving up the runs I did. ...
"I appreciate what happened tonight. I'm not taking away from that. But at the same time, it's pretty crappy timing to give up a two-run homer and give a team a new life."
Sale is 1-5 on the season with a 4.24 ERA. His 73 strikeouts are the second most in the American League and fourth most in baseball.
The Red Sox host the Rockies in the final game of the series at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday in Boston.