Sports

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

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

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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

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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.