PHILADELPHIA – Former Heath High All-American and now Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jake Thompson notched his first major league career win Saturday night, 10-6, over the Colorado Rockies, and in doing so tied a major-league record of striking out four batters in one inning.
By whiffing four in the first inning, Thompson became the first Phillies’ pitcher to accomplish this feat in 114 years. Doc White struck out four Brooklyn Dodgers in the fifth inning of a game July 21, 1902.
Thompson’s record-tying inning got off to a rocky start as the first three batters reached base. David Dahl led off the inning by striking out on a curveball but made it to first on a passed ball. Gerardo Parra and Nick Hundley followed by reaching base, while scoring Dahl in the process. Thompson then settled down and struck out Ben Paulsen, Daniel Descalso and Jon Gray consecutively to etch his name into the record books.
Ironically Thompson has not been known as much of a strikeout pitcher. He hadn’t struck out more than six batters in a game over his eight Triple-A starts. In fact, he has had seven starts in which he hadn’t even struck out four batters in a game.
The Phillies offense backed Thompson with 10 runs including Ryan Howard’s 14th career grand slam. Making just his second career start, Thompson went five innings, with six strikeouts and allowed three runs.
Manager Pete Mackanin liked the strides Thompson made from Game 1 to Game 2, but knows there is more there.
“It was a tall order facing a really good hitting team,” said Mackanin. “He was still a little shaky with his command. (The four strikeouts) are something he can hang his hat on, but I’m just happy he got his first major-league win.”
Thompson was rocked in his first major league start, giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings Aug. 6 in San Diego.
After the game Thompson reflected on his big night by saying, “It was a lot better than the first one, that’s for sure. I was a lot more comfortable out there and I was able to spin the ball for strikes, which I wasn’t able to do in the first outing. It was awesome, kind of nice to get the first one out of the way. Hopefully I gain a little more confidence and comfort on the mound and keep it going.”
“I actually didn’t know I (struck out four) until I was in here icing in the eighth inning and they said something about it,” said Thompson. “That’s definitely a first.
“I was trying to get some double plays and just got some swings and misses. To be able to miss some bats is a big deal.”
Thompson was acquired by the Phillies from the Texas Rangers in last year’s Cole Hamels deal. A second-round pick in the 2012 draft, Thompson has rated as a league-wide, top-100 prospect entering each of the last two seasons.
He was called up after fellow young righty Aaron Nola was placed on the 15-day DL, which opened a rotation spot, but the real driver was Thompson’s Triple-A performance. Over his 129 2/3 innings on the year in his first attempt, Thompson carried a 2.50 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
The rookie will now be bidding to become a regular member of the Phillies’ new-look staff.