The Tigers tied a team record with 21 strikeouts in Wednesday night’s win over Seattle and tied a major-league record with 37 strikeouts in back-to-back games.
The weirdest part? They won both games.
Detroit struck out 16 times in Tuesday night’s 6-2 win over the Mariners, but that was nothing compared to the 14-inning marathon on Wednesday. Prince Fielder struck out five times and Austin Jackson had four as the Tigers reached 21 strikeouts for the third time in team history.
Detroit’s pitchers almost matched Seattle’s, striking out 19 Mariners. The team record is 20, set in 2000 and tied in 2001. The 40 combined strikeouts matched the second-most in major-league history.
The strikeout barrage began with Wednesday’s starters, as Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez both struck out 12 batters in eight innings.
“That was certainly worth paying your money for,” Jim Leyland said. “It was really terrific pitching by both sides. Felix and Scherzer hooked up in a great, great matchup.”
The Tigers finally took a 2-1 lead on Brayan Pena’s RBI groundout in the 14th inning. Pena then ended the night by holding onto the ball despite getting run over by Justin Smoak in a game-ending collision at the plate.
“In the past, I’ve made a mistake in that situation and cost my team a game,” he told FOX Sports Detroit’s John Keating after the game. “I swore that I would never let that happen. It’s my job to hold onto that ball.”
The Tigers joined the 2003 Chicago Cubs as the only team to strike out 37 times in back-to-back games, but the Cubs were only to split their pair of games with Houston.
“This was a great game, win or lose,” Leyland said. “It’s just a little greater with a win.”