Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox are on course to shatter the franchise record for wins in a season

New York (AFP) - Having secured their first 100-win Major League Baseball season since 1946, the Boston Red Sox are taking aim at smashing the club-record 105 wins established in 1912.

Left-hander David Price pitched seven shutout innings, striking out seven batters while surrendering only three hits in a 1-0 victory Wednesday night over visiting Toronto to put Boston at the century-win mark.

“Pretty crazy,” Price said of the achievement. “As storied a franchise as the Red Sox are, that’s pretty cool. They’ve had a lot of really good teams here and to be in that same conversation with those teams, that’s a lot of consistency.”

The Red Sox, founded in 1901 and winners of the first World Series in 1903, went 105-47 in 1912, when they won their first of four titles in seven seasons.

The last of those came in 1918 against the Chicago Cubs, who own this year’s best record in the National League and could meet the Red Sox in next month’s World Series.

Both Boston and the Cubs have recently ended epic “curses” with titles. The Red Sox title drought from 1918 ended in 2004 with a World Series sweep of St. Louis and the Cubs halted their US-record championship drought from 1908 in 2016.

Price, 5-0 with a 1.56 earned-run average since the July All-Star Game break, has caught fire just as Red Sox ace Chris Sale has struggled with an inflamed left shoulder, throwing only six innings since the start of August.

“You lose one of your horses and the other guys have to step up. It’s not that he had to but he did, and he’s been great,” Red sox manager Alex Cora said.

The Red Sox, who have already secured a playoff berth, need only a combination of seven wins or New York Yankees defeats to clinch the American League East division title.

“The main goal now is to win 101,” said Price. “Like I said, this team is real focused on today. That’s what we’ve done all year long. That’s why we have 100 wins right now. That’s what we need to continue to do.”