San Francisco Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit can now say there was a stretch in his career when he was literally more unhittable than any other pitcher in history.
After retiring the first eight batters in a spot start against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, Petit ran his consecutive-batters-retired streak to an astounding 46, breaking Mark Buehrle's previous MLB record.
The Giants' official Twitter feed confirmed the news, while SportsCenter broke down the streak a little more:
HISTORY! Giants P Yusmeiro Petit sets new MLB single-season record by retiring 46 straight batters over his past 8 appearances (6 relief).— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 28, 2014
Naturally, the streak was immediately ended on a double by Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles, while Charlie Blackmon followed up with an RBI single. That does nothing to take away from the 29-year-old's unbelievable feat, though.
CSN's Andrew Baggarly applauded the stretch that nearly equaled two perfect games:
Petit retires Charlie Culberson for No. 46 and he stands alone. Nobody EVER has had a run like this. A perfect game plus 19 more. Amazing.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) August 28, 2014
The streak dates back to July 22, a poor start that ended with one batter retired, and really got started four days later. Petit made six relief appearances over that span, tossing 12.1 perfect innings. His most impressive outing came last week against the red-hot Washington Nationals, in which he provided 4.1 innings of long relief for Tim Lincecum, retiring all 13 batters he faced.
Of course, Petit very nearly had a perfect game in 2013, when Eric Chavez of the Arizona Diamondbacks broke it up with two outs in the ninth inning.
Not an overpowering pitcher, he recently attributed his success to command and confidence, via USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz:
I'm not known for having an overpowering fastball, and in today's baseball a 95 mph fastball is average. I don't get it up there. Sometimes in (his earlier days) I would be afraid to throw my fastball, so I would throw the wrong pitch, and that's why I failed so much. Now I only think about attacking the strike zone. If they get a hit off me, I'll try to get a double play. I've developed a lot of confidence in my fastball.
With Lincecum's demotion to relief appearances, it will now be crucial for Petit to translate his success from the bullpen to the starting rotation.
The Giants are currently five games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West but have a solid hold on the second wild-card spot. If Petit continues to be anywhere near as effective as a starter, it's a massive boost for San Francisco moving forward.