Francisco Liriano whiffed a career-high 15 batters on Friday night, but he still took a loss in a 6-3 game after giving up four runs — three earned — in eight innings against the A’s.
Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to account for all of the scoring off Liriano. It was one of just four hits he allowed.
Liriano joins Jake Peavy and Cliff Lee as the only active pitchers to have a 15-strikeout game turn into a loss. It happened to Peavy, then with San Diego, when he gave up two runs in seven innings against the Braves on May 22, 2006. Lee did it last year, allowing three runs in seven innings in a 5-0 loss to the Braves. Both Peavy and Lee actually fanned 16 in their losses.
Liriano is in really good company, though. The feat had been performed only seven other times since 1990: three times by Randy Johnson, once by Pedro Martinez, once by Curt Schilling and once by John Smoltz. And once by Sterling Hitchcock, but we’ll gloss over that one.
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.