Randy Johnson Strikes Out 19 – 2nd Time – August 8, 1997
Randy Johnson of the Seattle Mariners struck out 19 Chicago White Sox in the Kingdome, on August 8, 1997. He tied his own record for the most strikeouts in a game by an American League lefty. Seven weeks earlier, also in the Kingdome, Johnson faced the Oakland A’s and struck out 19 of them as well. Johnson was undoubtedly more satisfied with his effort against Chicago, because he and the and Mariners won that game, 5-0. Despite Johnson’s impressive strikeout tally against Oakland, Seattle lost the game 4-1. It was one of the four losses that Johnson suffered in 1997.
The record for the most strikeouts in a 9-inning game is 20. It’s held by Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens. Clemens did it twice. In 1962 Tom Cheney of the Washington Senators struck out 21 batters in a single game against the Baltimore Orioles, but Cheney pitched 16 innings in that game, which seems even more incredible than the 21 strikeouts.
On May 8, 2001, Randy Johnson pitched a game for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Cincinnati Reds in which he struck out 20 batters in 9 innings. The Diamondbacks won the game in 11 innings, and therefore Johnson’s 20-strikeout game is listed in the MLB records among “Most Strikeouts in an Extra Inning Game”, even though he only actually pitched 9 innings.
In his losing effort against Oakland, Johnson gave up 11 hits including a monster 538-foot home run by Mark McGwire. He was much sharper against Chicago. In that game he allowed only five hits, all singles, two of which were infield hits. Chicago only hit five of Johnson’s pitches to the outfield.
At 20-4, 1997 Johnson became a 20-game winner for the first time. That year his ERA was 2.28 (the lowest in his 22 season career).He recorded 291 strikeouts against only 77 walks. In addition to his two 19 strikeout games, he also had a 16 strike out games, and he struck out 15 batters in two games.