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Angels tie record, fan 20 Mariners in 5-4 victory

Sep 26, 2012, 2:07 AM EST

Zack Greinke Getty Images

The Angels tied a major league record Tuesday as five pitchers combined to fan 20 batters in a 5-4 defeat of the Mariners.

Zack Greinke struck out 13 and allowed one run in his five innings of work, but with his pitch count up to 110, the Angels decided to pull him early. That didn’t reduce the errant swings, though. Garrett Richards fanned the side in the sixth, Kevin Jepsen added two in the eighth and Ernesto Frieri got two more in a scoreless ninth to tie the record.

For all the whiffing, the Mariners actually made a game of it in the seventh against Scott Downs. The Angels chose to pull Richards despite all of his success in the sixth, and it proved costly, as Downs gave up two doubles and homer to the five batters he faced.

Between the seventh and the eighth innings, the Mariners sent eight straight batters to the plate without any strikeouts. However, after Miguel Olivo singled and Trayvon Robinson put down a sac bunt in the eighth, Jepsen rebounded to strike out Mike Carp and Dustin Ackley to end the inning.

The Angels became the first team in major league history to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game using multiple pitchers. The previous three official 20-K games were all single pitcher affairs (Roger Clemens in 1986 and 1996 and Kerry Wood in 1998). Randy Johnson also had a 20-strikeout game against the Reds in 2001, but that one ended up going into extra innings.

As for the victims, Ackley led the way with four strikeouts, followed by Robinson and Brendan Ryan with three apiece. Justin Smoak hit two homers and walked for Seattle, but even he struck out once in the contest.

  1. florida727 - Sep 26, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Obviously one heck of an accomplishment, but what it really does is emphasize how amazing Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood, and Roger Clemens’ achievements were, especially Clemens doing it TWICE. Say what you will about his (alleged) PED’s usage, TWENTY K’s is something few will ever accomplish at the MLB level… let alone do it multiple times. I almost put this up there with Johnny Van der Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters as one of the most improbable records ever to be tied or broken, though the back-to-back no-no’s pretty much stands on their own. I really believe that one will never been threatened, especially in a day of specialized relievers.

  2. alexo0 - Sep 26, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    Impressive, but it’s the strikeout equivalent to the combined no-hitter.

  3. geoknows - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I had to laugh at all the talking heads going on about the “great” game Greinke pitched. C’mon, folks! He gave up seven hits and two walks and could only go five innings. On 110 pitches! The fact that the punchless Mariners swung through or looked at enough pitches to allow him to accrue 13 strikeouts in said five innings does not mean he pitched a great game.

  4. samgod13 - Sep 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    What’s the most hits by a team that struck out 20 times? They had 8 outs on balls in play compared to 11 hits. Kind of crazy.

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