Ricky Nolasco spent eight seasons with the Florida/Miami Marlins from 2006 to 2013 and still holds a number of club career records, including for wins, losses and strikeouts. For the final aforementioned category, Nolasco also holds the single-game record and it came on this day 10 years ago.
The Florida Marlins would play the rubber game of a three-game set against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 30, 2009 in what would be the 159th game of the year for the Marlins. When all was said and done, Nolasco had struck out a Marlins record 16 batters in a 5-4 victory at Turner Field.
Nolasco lasted 7 2⁄3 innings in the contest and struck out the side in the third, fourth and fifth innings, making it nine straight Braves set down by way of strikeout. When the night was over, Nolasco had allowed just four hits and two walks to go with two unearned runs.
The Marlins got the scoring started with three runs in the third inning, courtesy of RBI singles from Jorge Cantú and Dan Uggla. Florida extended its lead to 5-0 with a two-run homer off the bat of Ross Gload in the fifth inning.
The Braves pushed a pair of unearned runs across against Nolasco in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run single by Adam LaRoche. After the Marlins left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Atlanta would make things interesting in the bottom of the inning.
Against the Florida closer formerly known as Leo Nuñez, the Braves made it a one-run game with RBI singles from Yunel Escobar and Omar Infante. After Nuñez walked the bases loaded, the Marlins turned to Brendan Donnelly to close things out.
Facing Martín Prado with the bases juiced, Donnelly needed just one pitch to end the game and it wasn’t one that Prado put in play. Following a ball in the dirt from Donnelly, Marlins’ catcher Ronny Paulino was able to get to it quickly and pick off Matt Diaz, who had wandered too far off third, to end the contest.
Nolasco’s 16 strikeouts beat the previous club record of 14, which had been done twice by A.J. Burnett. It was also the most for a big-league pitcher in over two years and the most by a pitcher against the Braves since the team moved to Atlanta. The nine consecutive strikeouts was one shy of major league record, set by Tom Seaver in 1970.
The outstanding performance would cap a 13-9 season for Nolasco in which he finished with 195 strikeouts in 185 innings. A decade later, it remains a club record. It was set on this day 10 years ago.