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Yu Darvish sets Cubs record with eight consecutive strikeouts

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Cubs starter Yu Darvish set a new club record with eight consecutive strikeouts during Tuesday night’s home start against the Reds. Darvish struck out Sonny Gray and Josh VanMeter to end the second inning, then consecutively fanned Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez, and Aristides Aquino to end the third inning. In the fourth, Darvish whiffed Tucker Barnhart, Phillip Ervin, and Brian O’Gray to quickly get out of the frame. The streak ended when José Peraza lined out to third base to kick off the fifth inning.

The major league record for consecutive strikeouts is 10, held by the Mets’ Tom Seaver, who accomplished the feat on April 22, 1970 against the Padres. Doug Fister holds the American League record at nine. We remember that one fondly.

Darvish struck out 14 batters over six innings on Thursday against the Padres. He’s been on quite the roll, tossing 15 consecutive scoreless innings coming into Tuesday’s start. However, the Reds plated three runs off of him in the first inning. Overall, Darvish came into Tuesday’s action with a 3.97 ERA and a 204/55 K/BB ratio in 163 1/3 innings on the season.

Yankees keep ALCS hopes alive with 4-1 win over Astros

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The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.

In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.

Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).

Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.

With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.