Thirty years from now, I imagine someone will be on a game show and the following question will be asked:
"Who holds the Detroit Tigers' franchise record for strikeouts in a nine inning game?"
After tonight, the correct answer is Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez dominated the Atlanta Braves over eight shutout innings, striking out 17 hitters. This broke the previous record of 16, which Mickey Lolich accomplished twice during the 1969 season. Fourteen of Sanchez's 17 strikeouts were of the swinging variety. The offense gave Sanchez plenty of support, scoring four runs in the third inning and six more in the fourth. The extra time on the bench didn't phase Sanchez, who allowed just two hits after the fourth inning.
The Braves came in to this weekend's series with the best record in the major leagues, but their offense had the fifth-most strikeouts in the majors. That ranking is bound to go up after Sanchez's performance tonight. Sanchez punched out Freddie Freeman* and Juan Francisco three times apiece, and Dan Uggla got an infamous "golden sombrero" with a four-strikeout performance.
*Freeman also struck out a fourth time, against Bruce Rondon in the ninth inning.
Sanchez's performance was particularly impressive because of his efficiency and command. He needed 121 pitches to work through eight innings, and only allowed six baserunners the entire night. His 17:1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is also a franchise record.