On August 31, 1959, Brooklyn Dodgers left-hander Sandy Koufax strikes out 18 batters, setting a new National League record for most strikeouts in a single game.

On August 31, Koufax and the Dodgers faced their rivals the San Francisco Giants in Los Angeles. The Dodgers entered the game two games behind the Giants in the race for the National League pennant, and Koufax came out firing, whizzing fastballs and breaking off curveballs to strike out the first two Giants batters. However, Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda then hit back-to-back doubles to give the Giants a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The Dodgers quickly tied the game in the bottom of the inning, but in the fifth, Willie McCovey, the Giants star slugger, hit a home run to put the Giants up 2-1. The Dodgers tied it up, and Koufax continued to throw strikes. Finally, in the ninth, Koufax and Jim Gilliam singled before Wally Moon sent a 1-1 fastball from relief pitcher Al Worthington over the left-field fence. The capacity crowd in Chavez Ravine erupted, and the Dodgers won 5-2. Koufax's total of 18 strikeouts in the game broke Dizzy Dean's 26-year-old National League record, and tied the major league record held by Cleveland Indian ace Bob Feller. Koufax also broke the record for strikeouts over two consecutive games, fanning 31 men combined, having struck out 13 batters in his previous start. That year, the Dodgers went on to win the National League pennant. Though Koufax lost his only start in the 1959 World Series in spite of giving up only one run, the Dodgers brought home the championship..
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Aug 31, 2014