When the 2001 Yankees pitching staff set a new American League record with 1,266 strikeouts, they were led by right-handers Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens, who accomplished something only once before achieved by any duo in franchise history. With Mussina fanning 214 and Clemens one behind him with 213 K's, they joined the 1904 Highlanders' pair of Jack Chesbro and Jack Powell as one of 16 sets of teammates in AL history to each reach the 200-strikeout plateau.
Last season, the Rays' James Shields and David Price became the 19th set of AL teammates to do this. In 2012, as headliners on a Rays staff that possesses its own historic strikeout total, they are 12 strikeouts from Price short of each reaching the milestone again.
If Price does get there, he and Shields will become only the fifth set of AL teammates to each reach the plateau in consecutive seasons. In 1904 and '05, Athletics southpaws Eddie Plank and Rube Waddell each did it, and then in '67 and '68, the Indians' Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant became the second duo to accomplish the feat in back-to-back years. The Tigers' Joe Coleman and Mickey Lolich each struck out 200 in three consecutive seasons from '71-73, and then Nolan Ryan and Frank Tanana accomplished the feat with the Angels in '76 and '77.
Friday, led by Shields' nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings in a 12-1 win over the Blue Jays, the Rays recorded 11 K's on the night to push their total to a new AL-record of 1,275.
Shields increased his strikeout total to 202 for the season, giving him two consecutive 200-strikeout campaigns. Shields joined Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez as one of four pitchers to have at least 200 K's in both 2011 and '12.
In the Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Athletics, CC Sabathia struck out 11 in a no-decision. He now owns 33 career double-digit strikeout games, tying Tiant, Tanana and Chuck Finley for the 31st most since 1918.
Sabathia's 11 K's pushed his career total to 2,197, which are the 12th most since 1893 for any pitcher through his age-31 season. The A's entered the game with 1,264 K's -- the most in the AL.
The Yankees' win, which ended on a solo homer by Russell Martin in the bottom of the 10th, marked the fifth straight one-run game between the two clubs. In mid-July, they played a series in Oakland, with the A's sweeping four straight one-run games, including two in walk-off fashion.
Oakland starter Jarrod Parker allowed one run in eight innings, lowering his ERA to 3.40, which is the best among AL rookies. Parker has pitched four games this season in which he has finished with at least eight innings and no more than one run allowed, tying him for the 11th most in the Majors. Among the others with four are fellow rookies Jose Quintana of the White Sox, Wade Miley of the D-backs and Oakland's Tommy Milone.
As a team, the Athletics have had 16 games in which their starter has finished with eight innings and no more than one run allowed. Those 16 tie them with the Phillies for the second most in the Majors, behind the Mariners' 22. Oakland's 16 are the most for the club since the 2003 team had 20.
Johnson sets O's mark
Jim Johnson pitched around a two-out single to finish with a scoreless ninth inning as he recorded his 46th save in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Red Sox. Johnson set a new franchise saves record, passing Randy Myers' 45 in 1997.
Johnson is one of 36 pitchers in history with at least 46 saves. Among those three dozen, he owns the lowest strikeout rate, at 5.37 K's per nine innings.
The Brewers rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to defeat the Nationals ,4-2. The Cardinals saw a two-run lead in the ninth disappear in their eventual 5-4 loss to the Cubs. The Dodgers broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the 10th and defeated the Reds, 3-1.
With the three outcomes, the Brewers moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot, while the Dodgers closed to within two games. The Phillies, who defeated the Braves, 6-2, in less dramatic fashion, are three games behind St. Louis.
Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a stolen base for Milwaukee. Braun, who leads the NL in slugging, OPS, total bases, home runs, RBIs (he is tied), and extra-base hits, also has 29 stolen bases. If he reaches 30 steals, he'll become the seventh player in history to record consecutive 30-30 seasons. The players who have already done it: Willie Mays (1956-57), Bobby Bonds (1977-78), Ron Gant ('90-91), Barry Bonds ('95-97), Vladimir Guerrero (2001-02) and Alfonso Soriano ('02-03, '05-06).
Here and there
Backed by a D-backs offense that set season highs in runs (15) and hits (19), Miley allowed five runs in six innings but picked up his 16th win of the season -- the most for an NL rookie since Colorado's Jason Jennings won 16 in 2002.
Ervin Santana struck out 11 with one walk, allowed one run and two hits in seven innings and picked up the win in the Angels' 6-2 victory over the White Sox. In his past seven starts, Santana owns a 2.49 ERA in 47 innings. Before this recent stretch, Santana had a 5.82 ERA in 128 1/3 innings.
Mike Trout doubled and homered for his first game with two extra-base hits since July 25. Trout has 28 homers, 25 doubles and six triples, and his 59 extra-base hits tied him with Al Kaline for the eighth most in history for any player in his age-20 season or younger.