Rays strike out 21 batters, lose in 15 innings anyway

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The Rays had MLB’s highest strikeout game in five years Monday, fanning 21 A’s in 15 innings, only to lose 4-3 on a Jemile Weeks sacrifice fly.

The 21 strikeouts were a franchise record for Tampa Bay, as well as a franchise record for A’s hitters. It was the first team a team has struck out 21 batters in a game since the A’s fanned that many Rangers in a 13-inning game on Aug. 6, 2007.

Of course, the record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game is 20, established by Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986 and later matched by Clemens in 1996 and the Cubs’ Kerry Wood in 1998. Randy Johnson also struck out 20 batters in 2001, but that game went into extra innings.

The record for strikeouts in an extra-inning game is 26, established by the A’s in a 20-inning game against the Angels on July 9, 1971. They won that game 1-0. The record was later matched by the Angels in a 17-inning loss to the Brewers in 2004.

Leading the way for the Rays tonight was David Price, who fanned 11 in seven innings. It was his third double-digit strikeout game of the year. The bullpen racked up 10 more K’s from there, with Wade Davis striking out the side in his inning of work.

Josh Reddick and Brandon Inge fanned four times apiece for the A’s. Weeks was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts before ending the game with a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.