Anyone Can Strike Out Nine Batters in a Row


Since he was drafted in the second round in 2015, Tigers left-hander Tyler Alexander barely needs two hands to count the number of times he’s struck out nine batters in a game. There was the first time, on April 23, 2016, when he was in High-A. There were two other nine-strikeout performances in 2017, and two more in the minors in 2019, along with one occasion in the majors in just his third big league appearance. That’s six instances of at least nine strikeouts in 126 career appearances as a pro, each one coming in a game he started.

On Sunday, Alexander struck out nine batters in a row. Not over the course of six or seven innings — just one right after another. Entering as a reliever in the third inning of the first game of Detroit’s doubleheader against the Reds, Alexander set the record for consecutive strikeouts in a relief appearance, and tied the American League record for consecutive strikeouts by any pitcher. And a two-strike fastball that drilled Mike Moustakas on his left arm is all that stopped Alexander from tying Tom Seaver for MLB’s all-time record. Actually, because he struck out Eugenio Suárez immediately after plunking Moustakas, that stray…

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