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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Rocket strikes out 20 for second time in career
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
Sept. 18, 1996
It's another whiff of history for Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, who notches 20 strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers, tying his own record set 10 years earlier. Incredibly, just as he did against the Seattle Mariners on April 29, 1986, Clemens does not walk a batter.
Clemens is the only major leaguer to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Throwing up to 96 mph, the 34-year-old Rocket holds Detroit to four hits in his 4-0 victory at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers don't even manage to hit a ball past the infield until the sixth inning.
Clemens strikes out at least two batters in all but the ninth inning and three times strikes out the side (second, fifth and sixth innings). With 19 strikeouts entering the ninth, Clemens has a chance to break his record, but the first two outs come on a popout by Alan Trammell and a fly to left by Tony Clark, who had already fanned three times. But Clemens' favorite victim, Travis Fryman, fittingly provides the final strikeout -- his fourth whiff in as many at-bats.
With the victory, Clemens ties Cy Young for both victories by a Red Sox pitcher (192) and most shutouts (38). It is Clemens' last victory for Boston as he will sign as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays after the season.
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