From Al Yellon, a fellow SABR member, I learned that LaTroy Hawkins became the thirty-seventh pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches when he turned the trick yesterday in the 9th inning of the Cubs 5-2 victory over the Marlins. He is the third Cub to accomplish this feat with Milt Pappas on 9/24/71 and Bruce Sutter on 9/8/77 doing so before him. He is the first Cubs to record a save while doing so. Also from Al...
"I checked to see if he might have become the first pitcher on any team to do so, and I found the following information. Of the now 37 (including Hawkins) to accomplish this feat, seven (including Hawkins) did it in the 9th inning (or later), thus possibly qualifying for a save.
Here are the other six:
- Hod Eller, Cincinnati, 8/21/17, 9th inning. No box available from Retrosheet. Eller did have one save in 1917 and his team won that day, so it's unclear whether he recorded a save.
- Hollis Thurston, Chicago AL, 8/22/23, 12th inning. His team lost.
- Jim Bunning, Detroit, 8/2/59, 9th inning. His team lost.
- Trevor Wilson, San Francisco, 6/7/92, 9th inning. He was the starter and winner.
- Mel Rojas, Montreal, 5/11/94. He pitched the 8th and the 9th, and struck out the side on nine pitches in the 9th, and did record a save.
- Mike Magnante, Houston, 8/22/97, 9th inning. His team lost.
So, LaTroy Hawkins is the second confirmed pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitched balls and record a save while doing so."
The win moved the Cubs (76-63) into a tie in the wild card race with San Francisco (78-65) although the Cubs have lost 2 fewer games and so have the advantage. The loss drops the Marlins back 2.5 games. Today the Cubs are going with Glendon Rusch since Matt Clement is struggling with shoulder and neck stiffness. He's 4-1 as a starter with a 3.72 ERA. The Marlins will go with A.J. Burnett, 6-6/3.93. Nomar Garciapara is day to day as well. On the bright side Sammy Sosa was dropped to the 6th spot in the order and after striking out his first two at bats looked good his last two times up getting the key single in the 8th inning. It was the first time Sammy had hit 6th in 10 years (6/10/1994). Here was the Cubs lineup courtesy of Retrosheet on that day.
Only Sosa and Trachsel are still in the majors. The Cubs lost 2-1 to Greg Gross and the Dodgers.