It was a historic night for Texas Rangers left-hander Andrew Heaney, who tied an American League record by striking out nine consecutive batters in Monday night’s 11-2 win against the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Field.
Heaney matched a feat that had been accomplished only twice before in AL history, by Detroit relievers Tyler Alexander against Cincinnati on Aug. 2, 2020, and Doug Fister against Kansas City on Sept. 27, 2012.
The major league record for consecutive strikeouts is 10, set by the New York Mets’ Tom Seaver on April 22, 1970 and matched by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Aaron Nola on June 25, 2021 and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes on Aug. 11, 2021.
Heaney’s remarkable run began in the first inning, after he gave up an unearned run on a throwing error by third baseman Charlie Culberson. He struck out Matt Duffy to end the inning, then proceeded to fan Nicky Lopez, Hunter Dozier, Nate Eaton, Jackie Bradley Jr., Bobby Witt Jr., Edward Olivares and Vinnie Pasquantino in order.
Heaney’s ninth straight strikeout came against Salvador Perez, who went down swinging to lead off the fourth inning. Perez is one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, leading the majors with 48 home runs and ranking second with 121 RBIs. He had homered in four straight games before facing Heaney.
Duffy then snapped Heaney’s streak with a flyout to right field, drawing a sarcastic cheer from the crowd of 16,686. Heaney retired Lopez on a groundout before giving up a single to Dozier and walking Eaton to load the bases. He escaped the jam by striking out Bradley Jr. for his 10th and final strikeout of the night.
Heaney departed after five innings, having allowed only two hits, two walks and one unearned run. He threw 87 pitches, 58 for strikes. He improved his record to 9-10 and lowered his ERA to 5.51.
Heaney broke Nolan Ryan’s club record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with seven. Ryan had fanned seven straight against the California Angels on July 7, 1991.
Heaney also became the first pitcher in Rangers history to strike out at least nine batters in five or fewer innings. He joined Yu Darvish (twice), Ryan (twice) and Bobby Witt as the only Rangers pitchers to strike out at least nine batters without allowing an earned run.
Heaney’s performance was a welcome sight for the Rangers, who signed him as a free agent last December after he spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and half a season with the New York Yankees. He had a rough outing in his Rangers debut, lasting only 2⅔ innings and giving up seven runs in a 7-2 loss to Baltimore last Tuesday.
Heaney credited his catcher Jonah Heim for calling a good game and helping him execute his pitches. He said he felt good about his fastball command and his changeup movement. He also said he was not aware of his strikeout streak until after he left the game.
“I didn’t know until I came out,” he said. “I knew I had punched out quite a few guys in a row but I didn’t know what the number was.”
Heaney’s teammates were impressed by his dominant display. Culberson said he felt bad for making the error that cost Heaney a shutout but praised him for bouncing back.
“He was awesome,” Culberson said. “He was fun to watch. He was throwing strikes, getting ahead of guys and putting them away.”
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he was happy for Heaney, who had struggled with consistency and health issues throughout his career.
“He’s been through a lot,” Woodward said. “He’s had some really good outings and some really bad outings. He’s had some injuries. He’s had some tough luck. To see him go out there and do that tonight was pretty special.”
Woodward also said he was tempted to let Heaney pitch longer but decided to be cautious with his workload.
Final Thoughts: Andrew Heaney Ties AL Record with 9 Straight K’s
Andrew Heaney’s performance on Monday night was nothing short of remarkable. The left-hander tied an American League record by striking out nine consecutive batters, a feat that had only been accomplished twice before in AL history.
Heaney’s streak began in the first inning and ended in the fourth inning, with his ninth strikeout coming against one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, Salvador Perez.
Heaney’s performance was particularly impressive considering that he had struggled in his Rangers debut, lasting only 2⅔ innings and giving up seven runs. His dominant display on Monday night was a welcome sight for the Rangers, who had signed him as a free agent last December.
Heaney’s success can be attributed to his excellent fastball command and changeup movement, as well as his catcher Jonah Heim’s good game-calling. Heaney himself said that he was not aware of his strikeout streak until after he left the game.
Overall, Heaney’s achievement is a testament to his perseverance and hard work, as he has struggled with consistency and health issues throughout his career. Rangers manager Chris Woodward praised Heaney for his resilience and said that he was happy for him.
In conclusion, Andrew Heaney’s performance on Monday night was a historic and memorable one that will be remembered for years to come. It is a reminder of the magic that can happen in baseball, and of the power of hard work and perseverance in achieving one’s goals.