BOSTON -- One month, 11 appearances, 37 consecutive batters and a countless number of high fives later, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara’s impressive streak came to end in Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Brought in to maintain a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning, Uehara gave up a leadoff triple to designated hitter Danny Valencia to bring his club-record streak of 37 consecutive batters retired to an end. Valencia later scored the game-winning run on a Matt Wieters sacrifice fly, bringing an end to Uehara’s career-high stretch of 30 1/3 scoreless innings as well.
“I’m not disappointed that the streak ended,” Uehara said. “Of course I’m disappointed that we lost. But streak-wise, no disappointment.”
The streak was the second longest by a reliever in major league history, falling four outs short of Bobby Jenks’ streak of 41 consecutive batters retired in 2007. More impressive, however, may have been Uehara’s numbers during the streak: 17 strikeouts and only 143 pitches needed, 118 of which were strikes.
“It was unbelievable,” Tuesday’s starter Ryan Dempster said of the streak. “When did he give up a run, like in spring training it feels like? It really does, it feels that long ago. To go out there when you’re a reliever, starter, to go that long without allowing a base runner, let alone give up a run. What he’s done has been unreal.”
The reality of allowing a hit didn’t seem to get to Uehara too much either. After Valencia’s triple, Uehara retired the side in order on nine pitches, including a three-pitch strikeout of Brian Roberts.
“Koji’s been so good for us and even after the run allowed [he] continued to pitch as he has,” manager John Farrell said. “Didn’t faze him, finished out the inning.”
For those of you keeping track at home, start the new streak at three.