The Detroit Tigers are on a bit of a roll right now, having taken the lead in the American League Central over the Chicago White Sox. On Thursday afternoon they continued their great run of late, with a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals. But the big story was starting pitcher Doug Fister.
Starting with the last Royals hitter in the fourth inning, Fister struck out an American League-record nine hitters in a row. The streak didn’t end until Salvador Perez hit into a ground out on a 1-2 pitch in the seventh inning. At that point he had retired 16 straight Kansas City batters.
Fister claims he had no idea what was going on, and first baseman Prince Fielder implored him to step off the mound at some point to acknowledge the accomplishment, but he didn’t understand what the slugger was saying.
Fister said the following about the interaction with Fielder:
“Honestly, I had no idea. (Fielder) was yelling at me to step off during the inning, and I kind of looked at him. Normally he’ll do that, to slow me down, if I’m getting too quick. I thought that was kind of what he was doing there. He just said, ‘Hey, step off.’ I look at him, and he kept looking at me, and he said, ‘Aw, I’ll tell you later.'”
The major league record for consecutive strikeouts is 10, and was set by Tom Seaver in 1970.
Just thinking about how Fister blitzed through the entire Royals lineup, striking out everyone is pretty amazing.