Making his second career Major League appearance, Cleveland reliever Paul Shuey becomes just the tenth pitcher in American League history to strike out four batters in one inning, doing so against the Detroit Tigers in a 9-3 Indians victory.
Shuey, who made his MLB debut on May 8th, came on for the ninth in relief of Jose Mesa. Facing the bottom of the order with a six-run lead, he struck out Tigers catcher Chad Kreuter looking and did the same to shortstop Chris Gomez on a 3-2 pitch. He proceeded to walk Tony Phillips after the count went full and Milt Cuyler saw eight pitches before walking himself. Future Indians third baseman Travis Fryman saw just three strikes and struck out swinging, but the wild pitch got away from catcher Sandy Alomar and extended the inning while loading the bases. With five pitches to Cecil Fielder, he got the swinging strikeout and his place in the record books while securing the Cleveland win.
Shuey worked one complete inning (striking out four and walking two) and threw 35 pitches to six batters.
“I wasn’t following all the way through with my pitches,” said Shuey after the game in a quote in The Plain Dealer, “so that’s why my fastball may have been off a little.”
Shuey joined three former Indians pitchers on that short list of AL pitchers to strike out four in an inning, including Guy Morton (June 11, 1916, versus the Philadelphia Athletics), Lee Stange (September 2, 1964, versus the Washington Senators), and Mike Paxton (July 21, 1978, versus the Seattle Mariners). Chuck Finley (April 16, 2000, versus the Texas Rangers) and Justin Masterson (August 4, 2011, versus the Boston Red Sox) have done so since.