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Archive for Saturday, May 17, 2003

Brewers downplay strikeout record

May 17, 2003

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— Strikeouts by the bunches are nothing new to the Milwaukee Brewers' free-swinging, light-hitting lineup.

Two years ago, the Brewers became the first team in major-league history to record more strikeouts -- a record 1,399 -- than hits -- 1,378.

In each of the last two seasons, shortstop Jose Hernandez, now with the Colorado Rockies, had to be benched down the stretch to keep him from reaching Bobby Bonds' season strikeout record of 189.

Thursday, the Brew Crew made it into the record books by doing something no other National League team had ever done: They struck out 24 times in a 17-inning, 4-2 loss to the hard-throwing Chicago Cubs at Miller Park.

"They threw some good arms out there," said Geoff Jenkins, who struck out once. "A lot of it was fatigue, but they don't have a guy throwing less than 95 (mph). It was a mixture of plus-velocity, fatigue and the shadows coming in, too."

The old record was 22 strikeouts.

San Francisco fanned 22 New York Mets in a 23-inning game in 1964, and Los Angeles also struck out 22 in 19 innings against Cincinnati in 1972. California set the major-league record of 26 against Oakland in 1971.

Five Brewers struck out at least three times, led by slugger Richie Sexson, who went 0-for-7 and tied a club record with five strikeouts.

Wes Helms went down swinging four times, and Royce Clayton, Scott Podsednik and John Vander Wal each struck out three times.

Eddie Perez and Ben Sheets each whiffed twice and Jenkins and Brooks Kieschnick went down on strikes one time each.

Kerry Wood struck out 13 in eight innings, and his bullpen racked up 11 more Ks, including four by winner Kyle Farnsworth and three by Todd Wellemeyer, who punctuated his major-league debut and first professional relief appearance by striking out the side in the 17th inning.

"Those guys, it doesn't matter who they bring in, they're throwing 94, 95, 96, 97 mph," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

The strikeout mark didn't bother his players.

"Who cares?" Jenkins said. "It's just a win or a loss. It doesn't really matter about the punchouts."

Clayton reasoned that with 17 innings, it was "two games, basically."

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