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CLEVELAND — Red Sox lefthander Chris Sale made history in the third inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians when he struck out Oscar Mercado swinging at a one of his signature sliders.

It was the 2,000th strikeout of Sale’s career and no major league pitcher has reached that mark faster.

It took Sale 1,626 innings to get to 2,000. That broke the record held by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who needed 1,711⅓ innings.

Randy Johnson (1,733⅓ ), Max Scherzer (1,784), Clayton Kershaw (1,837⅔ ), and Nolan Ryan (1,865⅔ ) are next on what is a list of impressive pitchers.

Sale struck out five of the first 11 batters he faced on Tuesday. Mercado, a 24-year-old rookie who had never faced Sale before, punched out twice.

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Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.