Jason Heyward makes history in loss to Dodgers

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heyward headshot.jpgBut it’s not the kind of history you normally want. As the Dodgers snapped the Braves nine-game winning streak on Friday night, Jason Heyward was 0-for-5 while tying a record for a nine-inning game with five strikeouts.

We’re all familiar with the “golden sombrero,” but it’s not often that
we get to pull out the “platinum sombrero,” or my personal favorite, “The
Olympic Rings.” According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it has been done 54 other times in major league history and as recently as June 4, 2009 by Alex Rios. Heyward struck out four times against starter Clayton Kershaw and once against closer Jonathan Broxton.

Bobby Cox’s reaction to the event, according to O’Brien: “Whatever.”

It’s a momentary distraction from what otherwise has been a fantastic debut for the 20-year-old. Even with a recent 1-for-19 funk at the plate, Heyward is currently batting .274 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI. He currently ranks fourth in the National League with a .402 on-base percentage and .939 OPS. Sure, he has struck out in 24 percent of his at-bats, but you’ll sign up for a 42/33 K/BB ratio from a 20-year-old rookie anytime you can get it.

By the way, another piece of history, Kenshin Kawakami is now the first Braves pitcher to start a season 0-8 since Rosy Ryan of the 1926 Boston Braves. He hasn’t won a game since last August 31. It’s time to wonder if Kris Medlen has a chance to stick in the rotation once Jair Jurrjens returns from the disabled list later this month.

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.

The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.

For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dodgers clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
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Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.

The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.

Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.

It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.