MLB strikeouts top hits for 2nd time in 3 months

A fan holds up strikeout number 13 after Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale struck out Seattle Mariners' Mike Zunino to end the seventh inning of Boston's 5-0 win over the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

NEW YORK (AP) Strikeouts exceeded hits in the major leagues for the second time in three months, a deviation that had never occurred before this year.

There were 6,776 strikeouts and 6,640 hits in June, the Elias Sports Bureau said Sunday. That leaves the season totals at 21,090 strikeouts and 20,671 hits about halfway through the season.

Strikeouts had topped hits in a full month for the first time in April, when then there were 6,656 strikeouts and 6,360 hits. The previous low differential was in April 2017, when there were 138 more hits than strikeouts.

There were 7,033 hits and 6,971 strikeouts in May.

Strikeouts per game averaged 16.9 in June, up from 16.75 in May but down from 17.5 in April, which was a record for a full calendar month. Strikeouts have set a record for 10 consecutive seasons, and this year’s rate projects to 41,464. That would shatter last year’s mark of 40,104; the total was 32,884 in 2008.

There have been 2,822 home runs in 1,236 games, an average of 2.26. That represents a drop from 2.52 last year through June, when there were 3,024 in 1,199 games.

The average climbed from 1.90 before the 2015 All-Star break to 2.17 in the second half that year, then rose to 2.31 in 2016 and a record 2.51 last season.

Thus far this season, 32 percent of 94,241 plate appearances ended without a batted ball in play: 21,090 strikeouts, 8,081 walks, 952 hit batters and 23 catcher’s interference calls.

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