In a game that featured 42 strikeouts, one especially stood out.
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw recorded his 2,000th career strikeout in Friday’s 2-1, extra-innings win over the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the 79th member of the prominent pitching fraternity.
Kershaw and the Dodgers bullpen put on a pitching clinic, setting a franchise record for strikeouts in a game with 26, which tied the MLB record. Closer Kenley Jansen‘s strikeout of Hernan Perez in the 11th inning was his 36th of the season without having given up a walk, setting a major league mark.
Kershaw pitched eight innings and finished with 14 strikeouts, one shy of his career high. At one point he retired 20 straight batters before giving up a solo home run to Domingo Santana.
“It will be cool someday. I guess when you retire you look back at that stuff,” Kershaw said about the milestone.
The night belonged to Kershaw, but Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson also impressed in his start. He finished with 11 strikeouts — tying a career high — in eight innings of work.
Nelson also became the first pitcher in Brewers history with back-to-back games with at least 10 strikeouts and zero walks. The Brewers’ pitchers finished with 16 K’s.
The combined 42 strikeouts set a National League record.
“Strikeouts were a little bit contagious today,” Kershaw said. “Sometimes you just kind of get on that roll.”
Kershaw, in his 277th game, is the second-fastest pitcher by games in MLB history to reach 2,000 strikeouts. Randy Johnson reached the mark in his 262nd career game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Kershaw also is the third-fastest all time to reach the mark by innings (1,836), behind only Pedro Martinez (1,715⅓ innings) and Johnson (1,734 innings), according to Elias.
Brewers infielder Jonathan Villar, who struck out swinging on a three-pitch at-bat, had the honor of being Kershaw’s milestone victim at Miller Park.
Kershaw, 29, struck out as a batter in the bottom of the same inning on a curveball from Nelson.
Kershaw is the fourth pitcher to get to 2,000 strikeouts in a Dodgers uniform. The other three — Don Sutton (2,696), Don Drysdale (2,486) and Sandy Koufax (2,396) — are in the Hall of Fame.
Nolan Ryan holds the major league record for strikeouts with 5,714.
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.