Giants' Clark cuts down Ports
Ties Cal League record with 10 straight strikeouts
Craig Clark had no idea what he had just accomplished. San Jose's starter stood on the mound, waiting to face Yusuf Carter when, all of a sudden, an announcement came over the speakers.
The 6-foot-2 left-hander had just struck out 10 straight batters to tie a California League single-game record. The 24-year-old paused and then walked around the mound to gather himself and let it soak in.
The moment created a rare lapse in the pitcher's focus. He walked Carter.
Clark struck out a total of 11 batters and allowed three hits over six scoreless innings Monday, leading Giants to a 6-1 victory over the Stockton Ports.
"It's an honor to be recognized with that record and even better that we got a win out of it," Clark said.
Clark's performance tied him with Jerauld Davey of Salinas, who accomplished the feat against Santa Barbara on May 20, 1964. The record for consecutive strikeouts is 12, set by Matt Snyder, who did it over three games for High Desert in 1996.
"I've never done that before in my life," Clark said. "I've never had anything like that actually happen."
After Michael Richard popped out to left field to open the game, Clark struck out Jemile Weeks. He continued to fan Ports batters into the fourth inning, getting Weeks for a second time to hit 10. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth before Todd Johnson drove a leadoff single to right field.
After that single, Clark received an assist from outfielder Shane Jordan, who made back-to-back diving catches to set up Clark's 11th strikeout of the night, which ended the inning.
"When everybody out there is making those plays it makes it easier on me, because I know they have my back," he said. "Those catches were amazing out there in the outfield, back-to-back. It was unreal."
Throughout Clark's strikeout run, he simply kept working ahead of Stockton hitters.
"Mentally, you've just got to keep on moving," Clark said.
Clark has won three of his last four starts and has been consistent throughout the season, with the exception of his start against Bakersfield on May 7, when he allowed seven runs on seven hits through three innings.
Over nine starts this season, Clark is 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA. He has 59 strikeouts while only walking eight over 50 innings of work.
"You've just got to work ahead," Clark said. "With anybody out there on the mound, working ahead is always going to help you."
Earlier in the season, he had the benefit of pitching on a staff that featured Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner. While the two top-tier pitching prospects have moved on to Double-A Connecticut, standout catcher Buster Posey remains behind the plate.
"All of us learn from each other," Clark said. "We have each others' backs. When Alderson and Madison were out here, all of us worked with each other and helped each other out."
While it would be nice to join his former teammates at the next level, Clark is enjoying the moment.
"It would be an honor to do that," he said. "That's why all of us are out here."
Mason Kelley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.