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Knebel ties Aroldis' K's record to start season

Brewers closer has struck out a batter in all 37 appearances
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Corey Knebel has been reluctant to talk about his strikeout streak while it is in the works, but he made an exception for a night. When you tie a flamethrower like Aroldis Chapman in any category, it is worth saying a few words.

Knebel notched a nine-pitch strikeout of Josh Harrison on the way to his 11th save in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Pirates at Miller Park, giving the Brewers' closer at least one whiff in all 37 of his appearances this season. That matches Chapman for the longest such streak for a reliever to start a season in the modern era.

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MILWAUKEE -- Corey Knebel has been reluctant to talk about his strikeout streak while it is in the works, but he made an exception for a night. When you tie a flamethrower like Aroldis Chapman in any category, it is worth saying a few words.

Knebel notched a nine-pitch strikeout of Josh Harrison on the way to his 11th save in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Pirates at Miller Park, giving the Brewers' closer at least one whiff in all 37 of his appearances this season. That matches Chapman for the longest such streak for a reliever to start a season in the modern era.

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Chapman set the mark while pitching for the Reds in 2014. Knebel can break it in his next outing.

"I'm on cloud nine right now," Knebel said. "Just a heck of a game. I'm speechless."

By the time shortstop Orlando Arcia made his spectacular defensive play to seal the victory, Knebel was already approaching 30 pitches. Pirates leadoff hitter Adam Frazier worked an eight-pitch at-bat for a one-out single before Harrison dueled Knebel in a nine-pitch at-bat that featured six foul balls, including four with two strikes. Knebel finally finished him with a 96.5-mph fastball that was up and on the outside edge of home plate. Harrison swung and missed, and Knebel joined Chapman in the history books.

"They had good at-bats," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I mean, I thought he threw some really good pitches. Harrison had a tremendous at-bat. He threw him fastballs at the top of the zone or maybe a tick above the top of the zone -- exactly where [Knebel] wants to throw them. And Harrison had a bunch of foul balls."

Counsell often chides observers of his team for pointing out arcane records and streaks. "Fun with numbers," he calls it. But this was not one of those instances.

"That's more than fun with numbers. That's an impressive streak," Counsell said. "When you mention a guy like Aroldis Chapman, you take notice. That's incredible. It's a worthy streak that should be talked about."

Knebel is one of a trio of hard-worked Brewers relievers that includes Jacob Barnes and Carlos Torres. Knebel, Barnes, Torres, Angels reliever Jose Alvarez and Pirates closer Felipe Rivero share the Major League lead in appearances with 37.

Yet Knebel was well-rested Wednesday after being out of action the past three days.

"Being with Counsell, this is my third year now, he knows [when it is time for a day off]," Knebel said. "I'm ready. I get in the training room, I get my stuff done, do what I need to stay healthy. Everything is good, and I'm not going to change anything I'm doing."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Corey Knebel