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.
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 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.