Aaron Harang gave up a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin, then fanned the next nine batters tonight against the Padres to break the Dodgers’ record for consecutive strikeouts set 49 years and nine months ago by Johnny Podres on July 2, 1962.
Harang needs to strike out Will Venable in the fourth inning to tie Tom Seaver for the major-league record and needs to fan Chase Headley to break it.
A strikeout in the fourth would also get Harang halfway to the MLB record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game held by Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Kerry Wood. The Dodger record for strikeouts in a game is 18, held by Sandy Koufax and Ramon Martinez.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, have parlayed an error, a two-run infield single (!) by Mark Ellis, walks to Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera and a broken-bat two-run single by Andre Ethier for four runs in the bottom of the third – great for the team, maybe not so great for Harang’s groove.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, have parlayed an error, a two-run infield single (!) by Mark Ellis, walks to Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera and a broken-bat two-run single by Andre Ethier (who now leads the majors with 12 RBI) for four runs in the bottom of the third – great for the team, maybe not so great for Harang’s groove.
Update: Well, you could almost see that coming after Harang sat in the dugout for so long. Starting the fourth, Venable hit a 3-1 pitch for an opposite field home run to left field. Harang gave up two more runs in the fourth before notching his 10th strikeout – but the Dodgers came back with four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, capped by Kemp’s two-run homer, for an 8-3 lead.
Update 2: Harang struck out one in a perfect fifth and two in a perfect sixth to tie his career high with 13 strikeouts. He has thrown 97 pitches.
Remember, Harang threw six no-hit innings at his last Dodger Stadium appearance, pitching for the Padres on July 9. So if you could ignore the fourth inning tonight, Harang would have allowed one hit with 19 strikeouts in his past 11 innings at Dodger Stadium.
D.J. Short of Hardball Talk notes that Harang, who led the National League in strikeouts in 2006, had gone 44 straight starts before tonight without fanning nine in a game.
Update 3: After giving up a one-out walk in the seventh inning on his 109th pitch, Harang’s night ends with 6 1/3 innings, four hits, two walks and 13 strikeouts. Reliever Todd Coffey gave up consecutive hits to allow a fourth run to score off Harang, whose season ERA slivered from 6.23 before the game to 5.91.
Update 4: Josh Lindblom put out the fire set by Harang, Coffey and Scott Elbert, retiring all three batters he faced in the eighth inning to protect an 8-6 lead. With Javy Guerra scheduled for a night off after saving three games in a row, Kenley Jansen came in for the ninth. He gave up a walk, struck out the next two … and then, one out from victory, surrendered a game-tying home run to Headley.
Jansen then gave up a double to Yonder Alonso off yonder outfield wall. Jeremy Hermida was intentionally walked, but Orlando Hudson struck out to end the ninth inning.