Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes set the record for strikeouts without a walk to start the season Thursday, extending the record to 58 before issuing his first walk of the season in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Burnes, 26, needed three strikeouts to pass the previous record of 51 strikeouts without a walk held by Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen, set in 2017. Burnes struck out Dylan Carlson in the first inning and then Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader in the second inning to set the record.
“It was pretty cool,” Burnes said of the ovation from the crowd after breaking Jansen’s record. “Whenever you get them standing behind you like that, cheering you on, it definitely gives you some chills. Was a cool moment to do it at home.”
His strikeout total reached nine for the game through the fourth inning to set another major league record — strikeouts without a walk at any point in a season. He passed Greg Maddux (53) and Gerrit Cole and Curt Schilling (56 each) on that list. Maddux achieved the feat in 2001, and Schilling did it in 2002. Cole’s streak is still active.
Burnes’ streaks ended, however, in the fifth inning when he walked the Cardinals’ Tommy Edman. Cole will have a chance to break Burnes’ record for most strikeouts without a walk at any point in a season in his next start for the New York Yankees.
“It’s a walk. It happens,” Burnes said. “To not walk a guy this far into the season is not something I dreamed of.”
He allowed just one run in his five innings Thursday but took the loss in the pitchers’ duel against Jack Flaherty (7-0) as the Cardinals prevailed 2-0. Burnes fell to 2-3 on the season with a 1.57 ERA.
Burnes was making his first start after testing positive for COVID-19. He was asymptomatic and said he kept in shape throwing outside his apartment complex and using cardio equipment.