Braves left-hander Chris Sale fans 9 in 6 innings and earns 11th win in 3-1 victory over Giants


ATLANTA (AP) — Chris Sale allowed only three hits in six innings to earn his 11th win, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Sale (11-3) tied Kansas City’s Seth Lugo for the most wins in the majors, confirming his return to his early career form of winning 11 or more games in seven consecutive seasons with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.

“Is that more wins than I've gotten in the last five years combined?” Sale asked with a smile.

It is Sale’s most wins since finishing 12-4 in 2018 with Boston. The left-hander recorded nine strikeouts while allowing one run and positioned himself for All-Star consideration.

“We'll cross that bridge if it gets here,” Sale said when asked about the possibility of being named the NL starting pitcher. “... I would appreciate it but again we've got games to play. I don't want to be distracted.”

The Giants were held to four hits by Sale and three relievers.

Austin Riley hit a two-run double in the fifth.

Sale needed only six pitches to retire the Giants in order in the first, setting the stage for his strong start. The left-hander struck out the side in the third. Sale added two more strikeouts to open the fifth before Curt Casali lined a single to center field for San Francisco's first hit.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead on three consecutive hits, including Adam Duvall's run-scoring double off Jordan Hicks (4-5) to open the second. Duvall had three hits.

Hicks allowed three runs in five innings.

“It's not like he pitched poorly,” said Giants manager Bob Melvin of Hicks. “It came down to not solving Sale and then three pretty good relievers after that.”

Riley's two-run double off the right-field wall in the fifth stretched the lead to 3-0.

Home plate umpire Ryan Additon called Riley safe on his slide at the plate as he tried to score from second on Travis d'Arnaud's single to right field. The Giants challenged the call, and the replay showed Casali tagged Riley after catching the throw from right fielder Austin Slater.

Matt Chapman’s double drove in Jorge Soler in the sixth for the Giants’ only run.

Chapman reached on an infield single with one out in the ninth before Raisel Iglesias finished off his 21st save in 23 chances.

Giants left fielder Luis Matos made a diving catch of Riley's sinking liner to end the third.