Corbin Burnes continued to do things that no other pitcher did on Tuesday night.
The scorching Milwaukee Brewers rookie extended his historic start to the season by shutting out the San Diego Padres on four hits in six no-step innings and 10 strikeouts to pave the way for a 6-0 win at Petco Park.
Burnes became the first starting pitcher in modern history (since 1893) to record up to 40 strikeouts without a walking pitch to start a season. The previous record of 35 was set by Adam Wainwright of St. Louis in 2013.
Lowering his points won average to 0.37 (one earned run in 24 ⅓ innings), Burnes also became the first pitcher with no steps and 40 strikeouts in a four-game streak at any given time. Since allowing his only run of the season on a home run for Byron Buxton of Minnesota in his first start, Burnes has pitched 18 scoreless innings.
“He’s throwing really well,” said manager Craig Counsell. “He wins those numbers because of the way he throws. Tonight he had to throw a few shots in the fifth to get through this set. He had an incredible defensive play to get him up to the fourth.
“It was a bit more difficult outing. He must have made a few shots but he did and that’s what good pitchers do.”
The combination of Burnes’ dominance and a five-point rally in the third set saw the Brewers take their second in a row against the Padres, who scored just one point against Milwaukee’s two top starters – Brandon Woodruff and Burnes. .
“The Padres are a good team,” said Counsell. “They have a good pitch and a tough formation. You come here and you take a few games. It’s a good series. A chance to sweep the series tomorrow is all you can ask for.”
When Burnes struck out the three hitters he faced late in the third inning, he made baseball history. That line gave him 36 strikeouts and no walks to open the season, passing Wainwright to become the first starting pitcher to produce those totals in modern baseball.
After the game, Burnes was asked how he avoids thinking about the good numbers he is releasing and staying focused on his job.
“I think I’ll take the rest of the night to think about it,” he said. “You know, I’ve heard it from everyone in the clubhouse, so it’s kinda hard to get away from it now. So tonight we’re going to think about it and enjoy it, and sort of celebrating a bit tonight but we’ll get to that tomorrow. “
Brewers outfielder Billy McKinney was then asked what his approach would be if he had to face Burnes, the way he is throwing the ball right now.
“I hope he throws four balls at me,” McKinney said with a smile. “Heck, I don’t know. He’s been so mean. It’s tough here. I’m glad to be on his side and I don’t really have to think about that. I’m not sure what I would do. “