Delabar first to fan four in one extra inning
Blue Jays reliever strikes out four batters in 10th inning
TORONTO -- Steve Delabar is now the proud owner of a unique feat in Major League history.
Toronto's right-hander became the first pitcher to record four strikeouts in one frame during extra innings. Along with that, he also became the first pitcher in franchise history to strike out four batters in one inning.
It's a rare accomplishment and while it won't necessarily come with a lot of notoriety, Delabar does have something to call his own.
"I guess there are all kinds of different records out there that guys can set and I'm just privileged to be part of it," Delabar said after picking up the win in Toronto's 3-2, 11-inning victory over the White Sox on Monday night.
Delabar was called into the game to pitch the top of the 10th inning. He began by striking out Dayan Viciedo on three pitches before throwing a 3-2 split-finger fastball to catcher Tyler Flowers.
Flowers swung at the low pitch for the second strikeout of the inning but the ball bounced away from catcher Jeff Mathis, allowing Flowers to advance to first base. Delabar immediately came back with a three-pitch strikeout of Gordon Beckham and a four-pitch strikeout of Alejandro De Aza to end the frame and set a record.
Delabar needed just 16 pitches to tally the four strikeouts and become the 61st pitcher in Major League history to record that many in one frame.
"He just blew heaters by me," Flowers said. "Then I was looking heater and he threw split. Split is a tough pitch to pick up and when you can command it like that, plus you throw 96-97 mph, it makes it challenging."
Delabar came back out for the 11th inning and proceeded to strike out another two batters. That made him the 46th pitcher in history, all of which have taken place since 1947, to finish a game with exactly two innings and six strikeouts.
A high number of strikeouts isn't exactly new for the hard-throwing righty from Kentucky. He has struck out a total of 67 batters in 51 1/3 innings thanks to an overpowering fastball, split-fingered fastball combination.
"That's always been my No. 2," Delabar said of his splitter. "I've been messing around with a third pitch, but the split's my second pitch that I go to. I throw it to righties and I throw it to lefties and I just try to get everybody out with it.
"Just a really good day for it. They were swinging over the top of it and trying to get ahead with it also. When I throw it for strikes, it's really tough on them."
The high velocity and impressive strikeout rates are exactly what piqued the interest of Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos earlier this year. Anthopoulos' interest in the 29-year-old eventually led to a trade with Seattle for left fielder Eric Thames prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Delabar's only had time to make six appearances for his new club but the strikeouts have continued to be there. He's recorded 14 in 7 2/3 innings while surrendering just five hits and allowing three runs.
Coming over to a new team always comes with an adjustment period but Delabar believes everything is going according to plan.
"Things are great," said Delabar, who is 3-1 with a 4.06 ERA this season. "We try to keep a positive attitude around here and just try to move forward each and every day."