The San Francisco Giants are battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West. Currently the Giants are 4.5 games behind the Dodgers for the division lead, but are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the top wildcard spot in the league.
Yusmeiro Petit has had an up and down season moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen and back to the starting rotation. On Thursday, he set a new major league record retiring 46 consecutive batters over a period of 8 games.
On Thursday, Petit retired the first 8 hitters in the Colorado Rockies lineup he faced, setting the new record when he struck out the Rockies Charles Culberson.
The crowd at AT&T Park gave the pitcher a standing ovation.
The mark of 46 straight broke the mark of 45 set by Mark Buehrle in 2009 with the Chicago White Sox. Through his translator, Petit said the record was like a reward he has been given for the hard work he has put into his pitching.
The streak came to an end with the next hitter. Jordan Lyles hit a double to left. Petit ended up getting the win in the game as the Giants won 4-1 to pick up a half game on the idle Dodgers.
Petit’s string of retired batters covered eight games, of which six he appeared in relief.
Petit is a journeyman from Venezuela who was one out shy last season of a perfect game versus Arizona, when Eric Chavez singled to wreck Petit’s shot to join the history books of MLB.
Petit started this game in place of Tim Lincecum who has struggled of late. Petit gave up four hits, while striking out 9. He pitched from the stretch the entire time he was in the game on Thursday.
Bruce Bochy the manager of San Francisco said he would look at his options but did admit that Petit might have to stay in the starting rotation.
The streak by Petit started on July 22 when he retired a Philadelphia batter. That start was not good for Petit as he gave up five runs over five innings and was sent back to the bullpen until Thursday when he got the start in place of Lincecum.
Petit is not considered a strikeout pitcher, although this season he is striking batters out at a career high rate and 21 of his 46 consecutive outs were strikeouts.
Seven of his outs were on ground balls.
The achievement by Petit also broke the record in the National League of 41 set down in the row in 1972 by Jim Barr. Barr’s feat was done over two games retiring the last 21 batters he faced in an August 23 game and then the first 20 he face on August 29 in his next start.
This record is not one that many people will ever remember, but it shows that pitching has remained dominant in this era.
The Giants savored the moment when Petit broke the record. However, the task at hand is much more important as the Giants battle for an NL West crown and a spot in the postseason with just 29 games left in the regular season.
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