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Knebel honored to break Crew strikeout mark

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Corey Knebel's game-ending strikeout Sunday carried extra meaning. It was his 99th strikeout of the season, giving the Brewers All-Star the franchise record for most strikeouts in a season by a reliever.

The record, which had stood for 26 years, is a fitting milestone for Knebel, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Monday before his club opened a three-game set against the Giants.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Corey Knebel's game-ending strikeout Sunday carried extra meaning. It was his 99th strikeout of the season, giving the Brewers All-Star the franchise record for most strikeouts in a season by a reliever.

The record, which had stood for 26 years, is a fitting milestone for Knebel, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Monday before his club opened a three-game set against the Giants.

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"He's had a tremendous season," Counsell said. "It's been full of strikeouts, for sure. It's been dominant. He deserves it because he's pitched like it. To set the franchise record, it's fitting."

Knebel, who leads the Majors in strikeouts by a reliever, admitted he hasn't received too many congratulatory texts, like he did when he broke the franchise record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout. But the milestone isn't lost on the 25-year-old.

Sunday's game was an unusual spot for Knebel to pitch, given the Brewers' 8-2 lead to start the ninth inning. He passed Julio Machado, who had 98 strikeouts during the 1991 season.

"It was definitely an honor," Knebel said. "I never thought it would happen, actually. That's a lot of strikeouts. I don't really know of guys that just go out there and say, 'I'm just going to get this many strikeouts.' I just try and throw strikes as hard as I can. Hopefully everything works out."

The feat, part of a breakout season for Knebel, came on the same day he recorded his 26th save of 2017. May was his most productive strikeout month: He fanned 27 batters in 12 2/3 innings.

He's had 14 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings this month.

"This year, 2017, has been a crazy year so far," Knebel said. "Especially me personally, it's been a wild year. There's been a lot going on. Just kind of an honor that it's all kind of happening right now. [I'm] just along for the ride."

• Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt, who spent much of his career with the Oakland A's, is back in the Bay Area again this week. Now back with the Brewers after a stint on the disabled list, Vogt is finding ways to acclimate to his new knee brace.

"Playing with the brace is definitely preventing me from getting into my normal position back there," Vogt said. "But I've been able to find some good ones. ... I wouldn't say it's tough. It's just different. You're playing in a position you need to squat with a knee brace. It's definitely not ideal but it's allowing me to play right now."

• Counsell celebrated his 47th birthday Monday by walking and exploring the San Francisco hills. Along the way, he saw folks gathered outside for the solar eclipse.

"It took me a couple blocks passing through to figure out what everyone was looking at," Counsell said.

He observed the eclipse without solar glasses, though. "Got to take a risk once in a while," he joked.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com who covered the Brewers on Monday.

Milwaukee Brewers, Corey Knebel