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.

Matt Shepard to be the Tigers new full-time play-by-play guy

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Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.

This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.

Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.

Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.