Red Sox ace Sale becomes fastest in MLB history to 2,000 Ks
Jason Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck out the 2,000th batter of his illustrious career Tuesday, breaking Pedro Martinez's record as the fastest ever to do so.

Martinez - a Red Sox legend himself - required 1,771 1/3 innings to reach the milestone, while Sale bested the mark handily at 1,626 innings, according to MLB Stats.

The lefty also became the 83rd pitcher in Major League Baseball history to join the club and just the 15th to do so before reaching his 31st birthday.

Sale - who doesn't turn 31 until March 30, 2020 - notched his 2,000th punchout against Cleveland Indians outfielder Oscar Mercado.

Pitcher Ks before turning 31
Walter Johnson* 2467
Nolan Ryan* 2426
Sandy Koufax* 2396
Sam McDowell 2391
Bert Blyleven* 2357
Don Drysdale* 2307
Clayton Kershaw 2275
Felix Hernandez 2264
Pedro Martinez* 2220
Christy Mathewson* 2124
Bob Feller* 2108
Tom Seaver* 2099
Roger Clemens 2033
CC Sabathia 2017
Chris Sale 2000

* - denotes Hall of Famer

Sale has already cemented himself as one of the best strikeout pitchers of all time, posting the best K/9 in MLB history among starters with at least 1,500 innings. Entering Tuesday's contest, the southpaw had authored an 11.09 K/9 through 1,527 2/3 innings as a starter, with an 11.06 K/9 including his time as a reliever.

Among pitchers with at least 1,500 innings, Sale entered Tuesday leading an incredibly elite group:

Pitcher IP K/9
Chris Sale 1623 11.06
Randy Johnson 4135 1/3 10.61
Max Scherzer 2252 10.54
Pedro Martinez 2827 1/3 10.04
Clayton Kershaw 2226 1/3 9.73
Nolan Ryan 5386 9.55
Tim Lincecum 1682 9.29
Sandy Koufax 2324 1/3 9.28
Francisco Liriano 1798 9.02
Justin Verlander 2921 2/3 9.00

''It's cool. It's special,'' Sale said postgame, according to The Associated Press. ''I'm not a guy who is really into his stats, but I respect it. I appreciate what it means. A lot of people put in a lot of hard work to help me get there.''

Red Sox ace Sale becomes fastest in MLB history to 2,000 Ks
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