Tigers’ Flaherty strikes out first 7, tying AL mark

Tigers' Flaherty strikes out first 7, tying AL mark

DETROIT — Detroit Tigers right-hander Jack Flaherty tied an American League record with seven straight strikeouts to open a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday and finished with a career-high 14 in 6⅔ innings.

The Cardinals rallied after Flaherty’s exit, scoring twice in the ninth inning for a 2-1 victory.

Flaherty matched the record shared by Joe Cowley (1986 White Sox), Carlos Rodon (2016 White Sox), Blake Snell (2018 Rays) and Luis Castillo (2022 Mariners).

“It was nice to come out and be in sync from pitch one,” Flaherty said.

Miami Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez set the major league record by striking out the first nine batters of a game in 2021.

Flaherty, facing one of his former teams, struck out the side over the first two innings and had one more strikeout to start the third inning with a mix of four-seam fastballs and knuckle-curveballs that kept the Cardinals flailing at pitches.

“He was on, and it was nasty,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He had his stuff.”

Masyn Winn hit a groundout with one out in the third to end the strikeout streak, but Flaherty struck out the side in the fourth to raise his total to 12.

Flaherty, 28, matched the most strikeouts in the majors this season and the most for the Tigers since Max Scherzer had 14 against Pittsburgh in an eight-inning outing on Aug. 14, 2014. Flaherty gave up two hits and a walk in 6⅔ innings, exiting with Detroit leading 1-0.

“You could kind of feel it early on in the game,” Tigers catcher Carson Kelly said. “Actually before the game, he was on a mission.”

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Tyler Glasnow had 14 strikeouts over seven innings at Minnesota on April 9.

Detroit signed Flaherty to a $14 million, one-year contract, a deal that gives him a chance to earn an additional $1 million in bonuses.

He was fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018 in St. Louis and finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting the following year with an 11-8 record and a 2.75 ERA for the Cardinals.