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Inside a record-breaking season of strikeouts

Major league pitchers set a record in 2012 by striking out 7.6 batters per 9 innings, with the jump from 7.1 in 2011 being the largest annual increase ever. And it wasn’t because of a handful of Nolan Ryan types pushing up the average; Detroit’s Justin Verlander led the majors with 239 whiffs. Some of the most striking performances of a record-breaking season:

Pitchers

Repeat after me ...

Doug Fister of the Tigers sets an AL record with nine consecutive strikeouts in a game against Kansas City Sept. 27. Fister’s teammate, reliever Phil Coke (below), sets a World Series mark by recording seven consecutive strikeouts over three appearances against the Giants.

That’s a lot of swings, misses

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Zack Greinke and three Angels relievers fan 20 Mariners in a game Sept. 25, tying the record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Greinke does most of the heavy lifting, whiffing 13 in five innings.

Dynamic duo

Tampa Bay’s James Shields and David Price become the fifth pair of teammates to top 200 strikeouts in consecutive seasons. Shields fans 223, Price 205.

Batters

All or nothing

White Sox slugger Adam Dunn hits 41 homers but strikes out 222 times, one off Mark Reynolds’s all-time record set in 2009.

Team effort

A’s hitters strike out an AL-record 1,387 times, 63 more than the Rays did in 2007. Josh Reddick leads the way with 151 and new Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes adds 104.

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