On This Date: 23 Years Ago, Randy Johnson Tied Steve Carlton Record for a LH With 19 K's

Tracy Ringolsby

Randy Johnson tied Steve Carlton's record for a left-handed pitcher with 19 strikeouts on June 24, 1997 against the Oakland A's in Seattle. And that isn't where the similaries end. Like Carlton in that Sept. 15, 1969 game against the Mets, Johnson suffered the loss in his record-tying moment.

Johnson would strike out 19 against the White Sox on Aug. 8, 1997, and that time he did win, 5-0. It was the third game of 18 or more strikeouts in Johnson's career -- the only win.

Johnson and Roger Clemens have struck out 18 or more batters in a game three times, the most of any pitchers in MLB history. Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax did it twice each.

The Rockies record is 16 strikeouts by Jon Gray in a shutout of the Padres at Coors Field on Sept. 17, 2016.  Gray also has two 12-strikeout games, which equal the sixth-best strikeout effort in franchise history. He pitched seven innings in those games -- against the Padres on June 5, 2016 and against the Marlins on June 22, 2018. 

The Rockies have had 13 games of 12 or more strikeouts, and their starting pitchers are 8-4 with a no-decision in those games.


Clemens set the single-game MLB record when he was with the Red Sox and struck out 20 Mariners on April 29, 1996, and matched that against the Tigers on Sept. 18 that season. The 20-strikeout plateau has since been matched by Kerry Wood of the Cubs against the Astros on May 6, 1998, and Max Scherzer of the Nationals against the Tigers on May 11, 2016. 

Don Baylor was playing first base in Clemens' record-setting game in 1996, and wound up a key part of the record -- he was charged with an error on a foul pop from Gorman Thomas that Baylor dropped. Clemens not only came back to strike out Thomas on a 3-2 pitch, but that started him on a run of eight consecutive strikeouts. 

After the game, running the kangaroo court, Baylor, the Rockies original manager, fined Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen an 0-2 pitch.


MLB At Large