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Pirates' Chapman sets record for most career strikeouts by lefty reliever

Aroldis Chapman Pittsburgh Pirates Aroldis Chapman - The Canadian Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates veteran Aroldis Chapman earned a place in Major League Baseball history on Saturday by passing Billy Wagner for the most career strikeouts by a left-handed reliever.

Chapman, 36, struck out Travis d'Arnaud and pinch-hitter Sean Murphy in the ninth inning of the Pirates' 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings.

Chapman tied Wagner's record of 1,196 strikeouts by retiring d'Arnaud and then claimed the record by striking out Murphy. Chapman stared down Murphy as he walked away from the plate.

“For sure, I went out there knowing I was two strikeouts away from either tying the record or go ahead,” Chapman said through a translator. “Yes, I was trying to get that today.”

Chapman said the record is the result of “a lot of hard work through the years.”

Chapman walked Austin Riley with one out before recovering with the back-to-back strikeouts to protect a 1-1 tie. The Braves won the game in the 10th against Kyle Nicholas.

Entering the game, Chapman was tied for sixth among all NL relievers with 47 strikeouts this season. His two saves this season have lifted his career total to 323, one behind Huston Street for 20th all-time since saves became an official statistic in 1969.

Wagner finished his career by saving 37 games for Atlanta in 2010. He made his major league debut with Houston in 1995 and ranks eighth all-time with 422 career saves. Mariano Rivera is first with 652.