50 years ago today: Ryne Duren strikes out seven straight Red Sox

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June 9, 1961

Making his first start of the year in the second game of a doubleheader, the California Angels’ Ryne Duren fans seven straight Red Sox to set an American League record in a 5-1 victory.

Duren’s streak started when Frank Malzone whiffed to end the first inning with two men on.  He went on to strike out the side in both the second and third innings before Carl Yastrzemski grounded out to begin the fourth.

The hard-throwing Duren ended his outing with 11 strikeouts.  He gave up one run and walked four in 6 2/3 innings.  Eli Grba took over in the seventh and finished the game from there for a save.

Duren’s rotation stint didn’t last, however.  He walked eight in 2 1/3 innings in a game against the Athletics later in June.  He was sent back to the pen in July after two starts in which he combined to allow eight runs and walk nine in 4 2/3 innings.

Duren was selected to his third and final All-Star Game in 1961 anyway, but he didn’t get to pitch.  He ended the year 6-13 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 starts and 30 relief appearances.  He struck out 115 and walked 79 in 104 innings.

Duren ended up making 32 career starts and going 7-11 with a 4.55 ERA.  A feared reliever in his early years because of his wildness and poor eyesight, he finished with a 3.57 ERA in 279 appearances out of the pen.  In 589 1/3 major league innings, he struck out 630 and walked 393.

Duren’s AL strikeout record was matched a few times during the 1960s before being broken by Nolan Ryan on July 9, 1972.  Ryan struck out eight in a row against the Red Sox then and again just a year later versus the Tigers on July 15, 1973.  The major league record for consecutive strikeouts is 10, set by the Mets’ Tom Seaver on April 22, 1970.  He fanned the last 10 Padres he faced and 19 overall.

Duren passed away earlier this year at age 71.

Indians sign Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league deal

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The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.

Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.

Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.